With the opening of Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn October 28, also comes the opening of Brooklyn’s newest, most curious full service bar: House of Wax. While the stand-alone bar is housed in the Alamo Drafthouse cinema, and will be without a doubt the best spot for movie pre-gaming and post-mortems, House of Wax is a destination and experience all its own. Combining mixology, music and the macabre, House of Wax takes its name from two sources of inspiration close to the Alamo Drafthouse’s heart: Vincent Price’s 1950s 3D thriller and the brand’s vinyl record labels, Mondo and Death Waltz Records.
Based on the panoptica touring attractions of the late 1800s, House of Wax exhibits an incredibly rare selection of original, German waxwork sculptures including life-size displays of human oddities, animal attractions and death masks of famous (and infamous) celebrities, along with serving a full food menu, a curated selection of wines, an extensive offering of local beers on tap and expertly crafted cocktails. It is a wholly unique spot to meet, eat, drink, or just simply to explore.
Panoptica were popular throughout Europe from the 18th through the early 20th century. Many of the objects on display at House of Wax are the remnants of a largely forgotten popular exhibition known as Castan's Panopticum. Founded in Berlin in 1869 and lasting until 1922, Castan's was a museum its German contemporaries described as an Allesschau, a "show of everything."
The House of Wax space is curated by Ryan Matthew Cohn, star of TV’s Oddities on Discovery Science. This museum collection includes a weird and wide array of wax figures, including Napoleon Bonaparte's death mask, and a variety of moulage demonstrating the effects of corsetry, infectious diseases and more. The rare assemblage boasts 140-plus pieces focusing on medical, ethnographic, and sensationalized characters from the 19th century.
Says Cohn: “I have gone to great lengths to preserve and restore this incredibly rare collection and create a space and aesthetic that will take you back in time to a 19th century museum atmosphere with amazing custom crafted cocktails, food, music and events.”
Vincent Favella will serve as House of Wax’s bar manager. Favella comes to Alamo Drafthouse with over two decades of experience, having recently managed the beverage program for Five Leaves Restaurant and the Hyatt Hotel in Union Square.
“Guests at House of Wax will find an atmosphere like none other,” says Favella. “It’s a place to step back into a more mysterious time and enjoy drinks always crafted with precise measurement and composed enthusiasm. I truly can’t wait to open our doors.”
House of Wax thehouseofwax.com