A few years ago, Christmas pop-up bars adorned with tinsel, twinkle lights and fake trees were all the rage. And our city has long been home to quirky bars with motifs dedicated to everything from Elvis to circus clowns to Lord of the Rings.
Well, Portland, get ready for your latest watering hole obsession: the Halloween-themed saloon.
On Sunday, Sept. 11, Hey Love—Jupiter Next Hotel’s ground-floor botanical garden that also happens to serve food and drinks—will become the Black Lagoon, a pop-up that takes its aesthetic inspiration from goth culture and cult horror films.
Portland is actually one of nine cities to get a Black Lagoon in advance of spooky season. Think of it as a darker version of Miracle, a Christmas-themed bar that first took over a pub in Manhattan’s East Village in 2014 before ballooning into a franchise operation that appeared in more than 50 venues around the globe—including Portland’s Deadshot and Kimpton Hotel Vintage’s Bacchus Bar.
Black Lagoon was created by two industry veterans, Erin Hayes (Fairmount Century Plaza in Los Angeles and Chicago’s Lost Lake) and Kelsey Ramage (Trash Collective: Cocktail Consulting and Toronto’s soon-to-open Supernova). The two debuted their concept at the Tales of the Cocktail convention in New Orleans’ French Quarter rock-themed (and appropriately named) bar, the Dungeon. After then taking over a Toronto bar last October and proving to be a hit—it was recently named Canada’s Best Pop-Up Bar by Canada’s 100 Best—the founders decided to open in more cities across North America this year.
“We choose our roster of cities carefully,” Hayes stated in a press release. “Each city has a robust cocktail culture, so guests expect quality drinks. We also wanted markets that have a vibrant counter-cultures, so patrons who are likely to enjoy our immersive vibe will come and feel right at home.”
If you’re wondering how committed Black Lagoon is to fleshing out the Halloween theme (Will this simply be a smattering of pumpkins and white sheets made up to look like ghosts?), rest assured that you’re in for an immersive experience. Hayes and Ramage promise that Hey Love will go from plant paradise to sinister dungeon, complete with skulls, life-sized coffins, and other elements (left to surprise) that pay homage to the occult and the bizarre.
On top of that, Black Lagoon will serve a lineup of cocktails in Halloween hues—blood red, black and orange. Similar to Miracle, each one comes in a custom glassware that you can choose to purchase as a souvenir. So far, the menu includes Screaming Banshee (Botanist Gin, Giffard L’Abricot, pineapple syrup, Greek yogurt), Closed Casket (Bruichladdich Classic, St. Remy, Giffard L’Abricot, passionfruit syrup, miso falernum) and Hellraiser (Hornitos, Chairman’s Spiced Rum, Cointreau, spiced oat orgeat).
“Kelsey and I both love the metal-goth-horror bars and those spots really inspired Black Lagoon, but they are more beer-and-a-shot type places,” Hayes added. “With our background in the spirits world, we wanted to pay extra attention to making sure our list is as tasty as it is bloodcurdling.”
There will be an invite-only preview of the space on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 11. It will open to the public beginning at 8 pm that same night. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes whenever they decide to visit. Black Lagoon at Hey Love is scheduled to run through Oct. 31.