If I extend my hands and exclaim “IT’S SHOWTIME!” with extreme gusto, would you have any idea what I was referring to? Come on! Come on! You know. Black and white pinstripe suit. Green, mossy hair. He’s got terrible manners. Likes things in threes?
It’s BEETLEJUICE….BEETLEJUICE….BEETLE….scared you there, didn’t I? Don’t worry. No calling the undead here.
What if I told you that this universe does not just exist in the movies? That there is a place fully Tim Burton-themed where fans can high-five with Edward Scissorhands, sing along with Jack Skellington, and get personally victimized by wise-cracking Beetlejuice himself? What if I told you that there were actually two? Yup! There is one in East Village of New York City and the one I went to in Hollywood.
Hollywood (or Hollyweird as some people affectionately call it) seems to be the perfect setting for Beetle House LA. It is located about a block away from the famous Pantages Theater on Hollywood Blvd. It is a tourist-filled area, so do not be surprised by the amount of people who might be there.
My two cousins and I decided to make our visit on (what better night?) Halloween. My birthday also happens to be the next day, so we decided to celebrate it there. You might be thinking “Why would someone want to spend their birthday at a place so strange and unusual?” Well, readers. I, myself, am strange and unusual. See what I did there? 😉 Disguised as Minnie Mouse, a butterfly, and female Beetlejuice/Beetlejuice’s androgynous girlfriend/half-assed Beetlejuice (I honestly have no idea what I was), we left the world of Hollywood behind and entered into Tim Burton’s imagination. You are greeted with a florescent purple pumpkin sign encouraging you to “Come As Your Are”. Huh, guess we shoulda ditched the costumes.
After climbing the stairs, you are engulfed in a cacophony of Danny Elfman songs and costumed patrons cheers-ing their “Big Fish” bowls. There are references to pretty much every film at every angle. I found it hilarious that you couldn’t even really tell who actually worked there and who was just dressed up for Halloween. It took me about 15 minutes to even realize that the Edward Scissorhands quietly standing in the corner was actually an employee and there for photo ops (and not just some anti-social wallflower).
True to LA-style, we were really late to our reservation. Parking was a bitch, ok? Especially late at night on Halloween. Luckily the hostess was able to fit us in and we were led into a separate area where the restaurant is. It is parallel to a stage where we saw Beetlejuice starring in his own comedy hour and, after, a bearded lady showed feats of strength or breathed fire…or something. I was too busy geeking out at the surrounding decorations, to be honest.
Despite the multiple courses, Beetle House has a pricey menu. It is $40-45 complete with 2-3 course meals, which will include an appetizer, entree, and dessert. I ended up choosing “Cheshire Mac & Cheese” (which had hints of truffle – which is this foodie’s favorite), “Linguini Todd” (a not-so-subtle homage to the singing razor-yielding Benjamin Barker), and a free sorbet with a candle in it for my birthday. I don’t think you can go wrong with Mac & Cheese so I was very pleased with this creamy dish. However the linguini, even though paired with clams, came up short. The proclaimed “Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc” sauce was completely bland for my taste. What they might lack in taste, it is made up for with creativity. My conclusion about this place is that you are not paying for the quality of food, you are paying for the experience and for the actors.
We had a special moment when Catwoman stalked up to our table. “Oooouuu, my favorite snacks,” she declared, licking her lips. My eyes went big and my mind went to dirty places before I realized she was talking about my cousins who were dressed up as the mouse and a butterfly. (Doy, cats eat those!) They informed her it was my birthday and she excitedly made it over to my side of the table.
I looked down at my phone and said I didn’t even realize it was only a minute until midnight! Catwoman made some small talk to help pass the time, asking what our favorite Tim Burton films are and if we were from LA. 20 seconds goes by…30…40…it felt like forever before the clock stroke 12. She hilariously broke character and said, “That was the longest fucking minute of my life! Have a Happy Birthday!”. And, true to her catlike form, she sauntered away to greet her next customers.
“Everyday is Halloween” here, so don’t feel obligated to visit only on a spooky holiday. I don’t know how crowded it is on a regular night, but it was pretty packed on October 31st. Be prepared to be blocked by people taking pictures – but you should not expect anything less from a Tim Burton fan in a Tim-Burton themed bar. Just have fun!