I was stoked when I first heard about Beetlehouse NYC. I've been a lover of Tim Burton's work as far back as I can remember. The Burton exhibit done at LACMA was one of my favorite exhibits there. However, after that bullshit Tim was talking about black people during the press cycle for "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"; it's been a little bit harder for me to think of him fondly. That said, I wanted to separate art from artist and enjoy an evening out. Beetlehouse LA's opening was announced a few months ago, and the timing coincided with my birthday, so I decided to make dinner reservations and celebrate in a style that felt true to my aesthetic and interests.
And I did! It's a very cute restaurant. The door is basically a hole in the wall; you're let in by a bouncer and ascend up a thin staircase to a macabre world lit by blacklight. There's fog being pumped through the whole bar, and the walls that house various pieces of artwork based on Burton's filmography have been made to look crumbling and decrepit. There's a host of different entertainers mingling with the guest; from a Mad Hatter, to a Jack Skellington, to a Willy Wonka, to an Edward Scissorhands. There are also freak performers! One approached me and nailed a nail into her nose while my friend watched (there's no fucking way I looked at her doing that. No way). The drink menu features a ton of different Burton themed cocktails. There's a great assortment of "goth" rock playing on the stereo. If it were just the bar; I'd recommend without hesitation. Dinner is a different story.
(Menu and Decor picture above. Everything is bathed in blacklight; 90% of your pictures will probably turn out like shit.)
Now, the service I received from the greeter and the host was great. I had a rather large party of seven and a baby, every last one of us was almost 45 minutes late, and they still sat us immediately without any hesitation. The restaurant area is more of the same as far as decor is concerned. It's all very cute. There's a stage where clips from Burton movies are played on loop, and a freak show happens every hour or so. It was a lot of fun. The service we received from our server was mediocre at best. He was a nice person. He really was. But, the food took forever to come out to us, and considering it's a set menu with few options it was rather upsetting. He also copped attitude because my friend and I wanted to split our three course entré. Uh, we're rather petite ladies; we weren't going to finish all of the offered food by ourselves. He also didn't want to let one of my friends order their alcoholic beverages on a separate check, in order to make our splitting the bill easier at the end of the night. I've worked in food service - these are all rather standard requests. That's not where my big gripe is though. My biggest gripe is the food itself. It wasn't really that great. The food is themed as well; but the presentation is lackluster and the food itself leaves something to be desired. For $40 - $45 per plate, plus tax and tip; I wanted the full experience and I've had food at Chili's that tasted better.
So, all in all, have dinner somewhere else, go to the bar, enjoy the spooky vibe, and try not to think about how Johnny Depp is basically the same caricature in every movie now.