September 13, 2022
The city's favorite Halloween pop-up bar is kicking off spooky season this week with seasonal cocktails, costumed bartenders and plenty of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.
Nightmare Before Tinsel returns to the former Simpson's Jewelry store in Midtown Village at 116 S. 12th St. on Thursday, Sept. 15. It will be open daily through Oct. 31 and is free Sunday through Thursday. A $5 cover charge starts at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Nightmare Before Tinsel was created by Teddy Sourias and Craft Concepts Group, who also operate Tinsel, a Christmas pop-up held at the same location. This will be the concept's fourth year, including 2020, when it was held as a streetery due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This year we proudly present an immersive fantasy and horror adventure, inspired by a variety of horror and fantasy themes," said Scott Johnston, interior designer of Nightmare Before Tinsel. "Let us take you through an apocalyptic zombie-scape, into a vibrant haunted mansion festooned with pirate skeletons, hulking beasts, and famous monsters from across the decades ... past macabre artifacts from our haunted and twisted past, and ultimately into the shocking depths of our shared imaginations."
During its complete renovation earlier this year, Johnston decked out the space with dozens of life-size fantasy and horror figures. There are some favorites still remaining — like scary babies, the outdoor facade and some other signature elements — but the bulk of the design is brand new.
Guests can look for a smoking dragon, skeleton and zombie versions of Gritty and the Phanatic, as well as an exhibit the design team says is "not for the squeamish."
The cocktail list includes the Blood Bag for $16, made with Union Forge vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice. There also is the Ecto Cooler Shot for $12, made with Crystal Head vodka, melon liqueur, pineapple juice and dry ice. Many of the cocktails come in souvenir glasses so guests can keep the scary spirit with them all year.
"Craft Concepts Group is ready to unleash your worst (and best) nightmare," said Sourias. "Nightmare Before Tinsel this year hopes to be our most thoughtful, provocative, and exciting Halloween experience yet. We are kicking off spooky season in Philadelphia earlier than ever before. Nightmare Before Tinsel will keep you scared for six weeks leading up to Halloween."
Other new features include 17 "living" screens that show videos filmed by Johnston, as well as custom playlists by DJ "The Touched" for each night of the week, which center on specific eras and themes of horror cinema.
Nightmare Before Tinsel will be open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., Saturday from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. until midnight. Costumes are welcomed and encouraged, but not required.
More information about the pop-up bar can be found on its Instagram account.
Sept. 15 through Oct. 31, 2022
Hours vary | Free Sunday-Thursday, $5 cover on Fridays and Saturdays
Nightmare Before Tinsel
116 S. 12th St., Philadelphia, PA 19107