5 Themed Bars Where You Can Embrace Your Inner Weirdo


Tiki bars may be the most popular type of themed bar, but they are also the most overdone. Want to find a watering hole that is not afraid to let its freak flag fly? Here are five unique bars around the U.S. that are not afraid to let their true colors shine through.

Lala's (Austin, TX)

Christmas comes but once a year, except for this dive bar in Austin that celebrates year round with no shame. Decorated with a shameless amount of Christmas lights and decorations, it is hard not to feel the holiday spirit once you step inside. Seasonal menus bring signature drinks like Mr. Lahey's Nog to the masses.

The Alley (Oakland, CA)

Forget those sleek modern bars, this old dive has plenty of character, and makes it socially acceptable to drink in an alley-like environment. If you always found comfort in drinking in dark places this should be right up your alley (sorry, not sorry for the pun), where you can make yourself at home in this humble bar, complete with fake power lines and rooftops. Best of all they serve steaks that are cheap and delicious, and there is live piano music every night with sing-a-longs.

Safe House (Milwaukee,WI)

For all those wannabe spies, this is your central headquarters for completing your secret missions (timed puzzles that result in a free dessert) and general debauchery. A password is needed to enter or for those out of the loop be prepared to be at the mercy of the doorman. There is an extensive menu with cheeky dishes like the Clandestine Chili and Fried C4 Cheese Curds (this is Wisconsin after all). Wash it all down with a drink like The Cold War (Stoli Raspberry Vodka, espresso and white chocolate) that will erase all your worries away.

Colorful Cocktail in Tall Glass on Outdoor Bar, Copy Spacequavondo

The Dungeon (New Orleans, LA)

Prepare to enter an underworld, where metal is the soundtrack and paranormal activity is the norm. The entire bar is dimly lit with red light bulbs, and there are cages, skulls and coffins galore. This bar is not for everyone, but for those who get a tickle out of the macabre, feel free to enter at your own risk.

Bonfire (Brooklyn, NY)

For those who still longingly reminisce about their good old days at summer camp, this is the place to go to relieve those memories with boozy drinks like the Dirty Girl Scout amid a lodge-like setting complete with kayaks and fake animal heads. Smores trays are highly recommended for the ultimate sticky finger dessert.

Julia is a freelance writer and native San Franciscan, born and raised. She has her own travel blog and has written for Matador, Roads and Kingdoms, and USA Today.