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This Halloween Bar Is Here to Scare the Cocktail Out of You

The team behind Christmas pop-up Tinsel is trading cheer for fear at Nightmare, open through Halloween

scary clown mask
Nightmare Before Tinsel in Philadelphia runs October 3 to 31.
Kory Aversa

’Tis the season for making your local Eater editor sift through photos of severed baby doll heads. This year, Philly has not one, not two, but three over-the-top Halloween pop-up bars in the works, to go with seasonal favorites like Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls.

When Teddy Sourias, the prolific bar owner behind Blume, Tradesman’s, Bru, U-Bahn, Uptown Beer Garden, and Finn McCool’s, announced he was opening a Halloween bar in the space he’s used for glittery Christmas pop-up Tinsel the last couple of years, it was safe to assume he’d go all out on the decor. And he did. The Halloween bar, dubbed Nightmare Before Tinsel, is packed with zombies, ghouls, graves, body bags, evil clowns, witches, a coffin, giant spider webs, a wall of skulls, a room of 1,001 eyes, and other very creepy items. There are also holographic vintage-looking portraits of kids/undead kids so, enjoy that.

halloween decor with zombies on the ceiling
Happy Halloween.
Kory Aversa

Anne White of AGW Interiors, who designed Tinsel and the flower-filled Blume, did Nightmare as well, and Scott Johnston created custom artwork.

To drink, there’s beer and themed cocktails and shots, like the Pumpkin Patch (Bulleit, Grand Marnier, pumpkin, maple syrup, and bitters in a pumpkin-shaped bucket) and the Candy Corn (candy corn-infused vodka, pineapple, club). The Blood Bag (orange vodka, Red Bull cranberry, grenadine) comes in a fake IV bag and the Elvira (Manatawny Maple Whiskey, apple cider, apple schnapps) is in a plastic skull-shaped mug.

a cocktail in what looks like an IV bag that says blood bag on it
Keep it simple with a can of beer or go for a Halloween-themed cocktail.
Krystal Spencer
a bar with halloween decorations
Look up for more decorations, behind the bar and throughout the space.
Kory Aversa

Beers, including Conshohocken Brewing Company’s Nightmare on East Elm Street and Abomination’s 12.4-percenter Midnight Snack, go for $7 or $8. Cocktails are $12 to $16. There are a dozen seats at the main bar, but this is more of a standing or walking around and taking selfies spot.

It opens Thursday, October 3, at 116 S. 12th Street and runs through October 31, a.k.a. Halloween. Hours are Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday to Sunday from noon to 2 a.m.

Nearby, Haunt opens the same day upstairs at Tod Wentz’s soon-to-open Pearl Tavern. For a haunted house-type attraction complete with a bar from Fergus Carey of Fergie’s Pub, head to Dark Passage in Callowhill. That one opens October 4.

Keep scrolling if you want to see some of the holograms, a charming clown, and a piece of Nightmare’s room of 1,001 eyes filled with blood-splattered dolls.

halloween decor, painting of evil clown Kory Aversa
halloween decor with portraits of dead vintage people Kory Aversa
halloween decor of bloody doll heads Kory Aversa


116 South 12th Street, , PA 19107 (215) 397-3308 Visit Website