Just in time for chilly air and Halloween, a spooky new business has blown into town. Just off the corner of 4th Street and Avenue B, Lovecraft promises to pay careful homage to the late, great author. The new horror-themed bar hearkens to his famously dark tales with a speakeasy-of-the-future vibe that the man himself would have loved dearly. We checked out the space because, well, Cthulhu calls, and we must oblige.
On the top floor, they’ve got a full bar and restaurant to feed hungry fans with calamari and absinthe cocktails, while downstairs they have a stage frequented by jazz bands and open mic performers. According to the spot’s Facebook page, “this place is great for Lovecraft fans, fans of steampunk, lovers of local art, lovers of live music, and of course, lovers of great food and good drinks!” (We’re actually in all of those categories, so we’d call it a win.)
As for the mythical-leaning decor (like the massive mural behind the stage) the owners point to local artist Benjamin Enzfelder’s painstaking attention to detail. When it was all said and done, he had “spent hundreds of hours making this place to the standards Lovecraft and his fans deserve.” Encompassing the whole venue’s mad scientist vibe is their shelf of infusions neatly lined up next to one another in corked glass bottles fit for an apothecary’s inventory. Such flavorings have included intriguing combinations like Lavender & Rosemary, Earl Grey with Lavender Honey, Fuji Apple & Pear with Vanilla, Blackberry & Vanilla and Fig & Sage, among other interesting blends.
The spirit of intrigue and experiments carries straight through to the spirits themselves, with an inventive cocktail menu. The Green God gets top billing, with “absinthe diluted through sugar, set on fire to caramelize the sugar, then extinguished with fresh lemon water.” The Death in the Afternoon of course wins for best name on the list, and has a nice bubbly finish thanks to its mix of absinthe and champagne.
For the unfamiliar, H.P. Lovecraft became famous only after an early death at the age of 46. While he was alive, Lovecraft’s horror fiction was published mainly in pulp magazines. It wasn’t until after he died of cancer in his small intestine that his works gradually gained recognition. It is, perhaps, eerily fitting that the reclusive author remains alive through these unearthed stories. Lovecraft was one of the first to ever write about the concept of zombies in his short story, "Herbert West—Reanimator,” along with many other scary icons his works have spawned. Horror greats like Stephen King still bill him as one of their top influences.
So if you’re just getting acquainted with Lovecraft, or if you’re a longtime fan, you’re in for treat. Even if you missed their opening party in honor of H.P. Lovecraft’s 124th Birthday last month, there’s still a chance to celebrate. The nearby Kraine Theater will host Radiotheater’s 6th annual H.P. Lovecraft Festival from October 2 through 12. They’ll perform live renditions of the author’s works (and there’s no doubt the namesake’s bar will be the most fitting after-party in town).