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The Michel Guide to


H O R R O R


CAFES, PUBS, CLUBS AND RESTAURANTS OF THE WORLD



blood on tap


(SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES!!!)

I've always loved horror cafes - the kind of place where you sit at a coffin-shaped table and your drinks come in skull mugs served by a vampire waitress who looks like Morticia Addams. I don't know what strange genius first had the idea of opening such an establishment, or when or where the first one was, but I suspect it was probably in the 50's. Horror cafes seem as much a by-product of the beatnik coffee-house era as Charles Addams' original cartoons were.

I can trace my own enthusiasm for such places to my childhood in Brussels, Belgium. As a very young child I became fascinated by a sinister alleyway a few minutes away from the town center, the famous Grand Place. At the end of this alley was a house with a huge painting of a grinning red Devil with horns. The Devil's leering mouth was the doorway into the building. To my infant imagination it was both terrifying and enticing. I was quite prepared to believe this really was the doorway to Hell...

Is that tongue rough! Eventually, I learned it was in fact the entrance to a nightclub called L'Enfer ("Hell".) A small sign warned that no one under 18 was allowed in...Sometimes it seems to me that I've spent a large part of my life, one way or another, trying to get through that doorway! (Strangely enough, Brussels remains the Horror Cafe Capital of the World. I know of at least four horror cafes/restaurants only a few minutes' walk from the site of that long-demolished nightclub...)

This site is intended as a guide to all known horror-themed coffee-houses, pubs and restaurants around the world. For easy reference I've divided the world into three main areas: The Americas, Europe and the Rest of the World. I know the Guide is far from complete as yet. I hope all you Horror Fiends out there will let me know about other horror-themed establishments you know of. I'll add more places as I hear about them. Photographs would be very welcome too.

Still having trouble with doorways...

Michel Parry (Head Guide and Maitre'd)

CLICK for details of Horror Cafes etc in these areas:

The Americas

Europe

Rest of the World


UPDATES:

30th December 2003
Some good places have closed since I last updated: notably the Bram Stoker Tavern and the Cyberry Roco Comix Cafe, both in London. In Belgium the whole Fantasia Grill chain seems to have closed down! If anyone knows of any surviving branches, please let me know. Also in Brussels, Michel Dircken closed the wonderful Maison Bis-Art Bizarre but turned his own large house into the MUSEE D'ART FANTASTIQUE (Museum of Fantastique Art) at 7 Rue Americaine, Brussels 1060. This is a 'must-see' if you visit Brussels, and I'll be putting more details and photos onto the site early in 2004.

19th April 2001
Several great-sounding places have been added: The new Bell, Book and Candle pub, and the underground Vault Bar, both in London. Further north there's the Balcony Bar in Dundee, Scotland, and a lot further north is the Crypt Cafe in Salem, Mass., of witch trials notoriety. I hope to add photos of the London ones at least in the very near future.

4th October 2000
Someone wrote in with news of an execution-themed place called Swaby's in Auburn, New York. If you're in the area, check it out! On a sadder note Michel Dircken in Brussels told me that two good places there - the Silly World and the Memphis - have closed their doors. Details on these will now be found in 'Dead Cafes'.

Take a look at Michel's own Maison Bizarre site.

Also in Brussels I paid a quick visit to the Gallery d'Enfer's new location at 17 Place du Samedi, Brussels 1000. It's much bigger than the old place with a restaurant/bar on the ground floor, gallery space on the first floor and another floor for 'special exhibitions' above that. Lots of work still needs to be done but it's coming together fine. The restaurant is now open and David P demon-strated he's almost as good a cook as he is a fantastic artist by whipping me up a very tasty pair of chicken breasts (at least I think they were chicken breasts...) David and Sophie host frequent 'Enfer Parties'... More details at Gallery d'Enfer.


Special thanks to Rob Brautigam of International Vampire, Amsterdam, for his enthusiasm for this project from the start, and for sharing his knowledge and splendid photos. Thanks also to Richard Ramos in London, Lord Heathcliff in Paris, and Erdspark (Joseph) in New York for their reviews.

Know of a horror cafe, pub or restraurant anywhere? Or one that used to exist but is sadly no longer around? I'd like to hear about it! Send the gory details to: Michel@pumpkinpie.net

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