RATED R: A Horror Speakeasy – The Pop-Up Experience Doing Everything Right


Pools of pale yellow light litter the sidewalk intermittently, cast down from street lamps.  HORRORGIRL scans the empty street for an address or signs of life. In the distance she spots a warehouse with a faint neon sign, proclaiming COSTUMES, and makes her way toward it. The silence of the empty night is slowly but surely broken by a a soft mingling of voices and music.


The music is loud, the light- non existent. Horrorgirl crouches low and weaves between dark, narrow aisles of costumes, props and…mannequins? Her breath quickens. Arms slightly outstretched to navigate by touch. The garments create a maze, zig zagging through the darkness….

If this sounds like the intro to a horror film, it’s because Rated R Speakeasy is a horror film and a nightmare/dream come to life. From the second you step foot onto the property- it’s an experience. The only difference is…. after wandering through a dark warehouse late at night in search of a promised party, (as the audience screams out, “No! You idiot! Don’t go in there!”), I wasn’t chopped into bits or stuffed into a cage, and live to attend their next Speakeasy experience. The horror and adrenaline of the entrance spits you out into a horror utopia. Or, as I like to say, a Horrortopia. And after that anxiety inducing entrance, I definitely needed a drink, (served with a red vine straw. Plus ten points for Rated R).


The space is massive, with multiple rooms to experience. So many details to ogle. Libations at a bar with a fast moving line and friendly bartenders. Shots poured by aerial acrobats. Free play vintage arcade games, horror pinball machines, a haunted house, horror movie clips projected all around the dance floor where everything from Halloween hits, dark wave and electro to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga are played by Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Jonah Ray. I can confidently say this was my first time ever dancing to Taylor Swift as Slumber Party Massacre played in the background. Patio area had food vendors and artists, and of course horror flicks projected on the wall, along with a “smoking alley”.


So often I attend horror pop-ups and am disappointed at the execution. The concept is there, but the execution tends to lack either due to lack of funds, lack of passion, or lack of know-how. Rated R Speakeasy, however, is the exception. It’s the dream horror bar I’ve always wanted to make but didn’t know where to begin. It’s my dream bar, it’s my dream birthday party, it’s a mashup of so many fun, wonderful things. It’s a monster kid’s playground.  Horror royalty, horror fans, confused and unsuspecting friends of horror fans, all intermingled to create this weirdly wonderful oasis. The cool thing about the horror community, is exactly that. It’s a community. As my new friend from Denver kept telling me with a look of awe and disbelief on his face, “THIS IS SERIOUSLY THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIIIIFE!”. Graham, Justin and Melissa took this concept and fleshed it out in a way that left me saying, “Whoaaaa” about every five to ten seconds.  Can’t wait for the next one.

Follow Rated R Horror Speakeasy on Instagram for date announcements and check out their website for tickets + info.



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