The following Horror Cafés are sadly
no longer with us, but are still fondly remembered...
THE BRAM STOKER TAVERN,
148 Old Brompton Road, Kensington
Nearest tube station: South Kensington.
Originally one of the 'Eerie' chain of pubs, this opened in
1998 and closed around July 2002, reverting back to being a 'regular' pub. There was an impressive Dracula mural on the wall outside. Inside framed photos of Bram Stoker and a
fair stab at a 'weird' Victorian decor with a 'library' of fake books and a lot of 'scientific' paraphanalia
that seemed to have strayed in from the same company's Dr. Jekyll pub. A waxwork model of Dracula looked
down over the scene (The model seems to have ended up at the Black Rose gothic clothing shop in Camden market.) Silent movies like Chaney's Hunchback of Notre Dame played on a
large TV behind the bar. The Vampire Connexion group used to meet here every month. (Photo by Rob Brautigam.)
Click here for more photos of the Bram Stoker Tavern.
CAFE DE DOOD (Café of the Dead), Amsterdam, Holland
This was around in the late 70's. A small, typical old-style
horror café with coffin tables and skull mugs. I remember hearing the
B52's Planet Claire for the first time here.
CAFE DE L'ENFER, Montmartre, Paris
Maybe the world's oldest horror-themed cafe, this was a popular Paris
tourist attraction over 100 years ago! See more photos and read
about it here The
club L'Enfer I remember in Brussels (with its very similar Devil's Mouth doorway)
was probably inspired by this French original.
CAFE FRANKENSTEIN, Venice, California I read about this in
Famous Monsters of Filmland. It must have been around in
the late 50s, early 60's. It had Frankenstein murals by one
of the artists who did the covers for FMOF. Probably Basil Gogos.
Wonder what happened to the murals?
CYBERRY ROCO COMIX CAFE
62 Shepherd's Bush Road, London W6 7PH, England
Nearest tube station: Shepherd's Bush.
Young ingenue waiting to be discovered in the Cyberry Roco Cafe
A comics-themed cafe with colorful yellow and green decor and original comic art from around the world lining the walls. There were plenty of comics lying around to read while you consumed your coffee, fresh juice, smoothie or snack. Regular exhibitions were devoted to individual artists like Shaun Tomas.
A relaxing place to hang out and catch up on comix you missed or contemplate the artwork.
COMICS TRIP Disco Bar, 61 Rue des Eperonniers, Brussels, Belgium.
This comic-strip/Science Fiction themed bar and disco was in a street that still has a horror bookshop ('Malpertuis')and some
gothy boutiques. The 'Mystical Resto' restaurant remains
a couple of doors away. Check out Plazier at number 50 opposite, a great little
surrealist shop that sells weird postcards and posters etc.
EERIE WORLD CAFE, 51 East Ohio Street, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
One of the Eerie World group that sprang from the Jekyll & Hyde restaurant in NY. This one closed in 2000.
EERIE WORLD CAFE, Grapevine Mills Mall, Grapevine (near Dallas.)
This opened as one of the Eerie Co's Jekyll & Hyde restaurant franchises, but changed its name after less than a year. Closed early 2001. (Many thanks to Tim Murdick. Kevin G. Shinnick and Karen Bove for this info!)
LE MACABRE, Soho,
London. One of the original 50's Soho coffee bars (along with
the 'two i's' round the corner in Old Compton Street.) I think
it survived into the early 70's. Tim Stout's horror magazine
'Supernatural Horror Filming' had its launch party in the
basement. Film of Le Macabre turns up in documentaries about
the early days of rock'n'roll in Britain and it was also in
some tame Mondo Cane-type expose of 'Swinging London'
(probably an Arnold Miller film.)
LOVECRAFT BAR, Houston, Texas
A tentacle in your espresso was on offer here. Alas no more. Many thanks to fantasy writer Joe Pumilia for letting me have details and the wonderful ad above. As Joe points out, the Lovecraft Bar may no longer be in business but
you know what they say: "That is not dead which can eternal lie...."
(Look out for Joe's deliciously amusing stories in magazines and anthologies.)
LE MEMPHIS, 973 Chaussée d'Alsemberg, Brussels 1180 (telephone: 376 14 08)
A Tex/Mex restaurant with some unusual artwork. It wasn't far
from the Maison Bis-Art Bizarre.
MILLENNIUM CAFE, Impasse de la Fidelité, Brussels
Le Millennium was an imaginative UFO-themed café whose owners obviously hoped to make December 31st, 1999,
into another Independence Day. Unfortunately, it never made it to the Millennium. This particular
alien invader crashed and burned in the first half of 1999. Pity.
THE SILLY WORLD, 67a Avenue de la Couronne, Brussels 1050 (telephone: 644 69 88)
This wasn't really a horror café though there were some halloweeny paintings on the walls (including David P's famous 'evil pumpkin' painting, now missing apparently) and an impressive
painted dragon on the ceiling. A totally original place like something out of 'Monty Python'. All the tables and
chairs were, well, unusual- either mismatched, different sizes or just plain weird. My favorite
was a table that was like a bidet, with chairs made out of bathroom pipes with taps attached! A great place to get drunk - or stoned. It was close to the Antoine Wiertz Museum (he was one of Belgium's weirdest
TRANSILVANIA HORROR BAR,
335 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London, NW6. This was opened
by Italians which explains the unusual spelling of Transylvania,
and maybe why they opened it in such a - uh - lifeless area of London.
Rumor had it that it was part of a chain part-owned by Dario Argento.
(The main owner was Umberto Ferri.) A sign claimed there were other
branches in Rome, Tokyo and (I think) Miami.
One of the
attractions was a friendly python which customers could pet.
Several scenes of the low-budget vampire movie 'Razor Blade Smile'
were filmed there. It closed suddenly in 1998. A rumor claimed
it was going to reopen in the livelier location of Camden Town,
but so far it hasn't.
"Well apart from the initial
wonderment as to why they can't spell Transylvania properly,
you will have died and gone to heaven when you enter this
restaurant/bar (mainly restaurant). Served by really cool
goth waitresses (one of which is my friend Gina), you are
cordially seated at tables shaped like coffins, with glass
tops and bones inside (probably customers who didn't pay!).
The decor is dark, candlelit, with images on the wall very
reminiscent of the sort you get in catholic churches
depicting the walk of Jesus to his death and showing
how truly drunk he was as he kept falling over! The menu
is short on choice but large in style with culinary choices
such as Drac Burgers and Dead Body, drinks like Nosferatu,
Blue Blood and I can heartily recommend Transilvania Suicide.
My Ex loves Satan's Balls, but then again she always did!
There's also a collection of souvenirs to remind you of the
experience, but as one drunk once told me "If you remember it,
you have'ne been." (Richard Ramos)
THE WITCH INN, Brussels, Belgium
Round the corner from the Rue des Eperonniers, the Witch Inn was a tourist restaurant with flying witch dolls hanging from the ceilings. It's up for sale if anyone's interested.
Know of a horror café, pub or restaurant anywhere? Or one that used to exist but is sadly no
I'd like to hear about it! Send the gory details to: Michel@pumpkinpie.com