A graveyard smash is expected to sweep the metro this fall as two Kansas City hotspots prepare to unleash new pop-up bar concepts for Halloween.
“Ever since I watched ‘The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror’ when I was like 8, I have been into, in some manner, scary things,” said Edward Schmalz, founder of Pawn and Pint and creator of Apparition — North Kansas City’s first “spookeasy,” set to haunt Screenland Armour Sept. 20-Nov. 1.
Click here to follow Apparition’s progress on Facebook
“Doing this as a pop-up bar gives us the ability to be a little more experimental,” Schmalz said of his decision to marry his knowledge of the liquor industry and obsession with Halloween.
Adopting the persona of mad scientists, Schmalz and his business partners — which include Sam Cable; and Adam Roberts and Brent Miller, owners of Screenland Armour and Tapcade — are busy brewing 13 spooky cocktails, which will be served to guests in a setting straight out of their favorite horror films.
“We’ve actually got a Jell-O shot variant designed like a candy corn. So it’s like got the black and orange and a similar flavor explosion all put in there,” Schmalz said, teasing menu offerings that he promised will be over the top, playing plenty of tricks on the senses.
“[Our drinks] are designed to be basically horror movies in a cup. You’ve got stuff that literally will make your mouth taste things differently for a few minutes. You’ve got stuff that will literally, steam and bubble,” he detailed.
Wicked in Westport, cocktail club Julep will debut its own pop-up bar — “Something Wicked,” said Keely Edgington, who co-owns the bar with her husband, Beau Williams.
“It’s going to be held in Soft Conspiracy, our back lounge at Julep,” Edgington explained of the experience, which is expected to riff heavily on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Something Wicked is planned to run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings Oct. 3-Nov. 2.
“We’re really taking into consideration historical touches and things that would have been popular at the time. Oddities and curiosities,” she said.
Like its neighbor to the north, Something Wicked will feature a slew of spooky sips.
“We will be playing with some dry ice, we’ll be having an absinthe drip … things that are visually stunning,” Edgington revealed.
A blood red concoction and all-black drink — which will avoid the use of charcoal — are in the works on the still-developing menu for Julep’s first pop-up concept, which Edgington said has long been on her and Williams’ boozy bucket list. Something Wicked will help them check it twice, she added.
“We signed on to do the Sippin’ Santa pop-up, which is part of the Miracle concept with Cocktail Kingdom,” she said, referencing the popular, nationwide Christmas pop-up, which took the Crossroads by storm in 2018 — a partnership between the company, J. Rieger and Co. and The Rockhill Grille lounge.
Click here for details on Miracle’s November 25 return.
A twist on the classic night out
A tiki-twist, Sippin’ Santa is expected to draw record crowds to Julep — Something Wicked will serve as a trial run, allowing the bar’s team to prepare for the experience, Edgington said.
“We can work out the kinks prior to a much larger-scale pop-up. We love the idea of kind of shuttering our old self for a moment and trying something new,” she said, noting the mass appeal of pop-up experiences.
The Kansas City launch of Miracle drew massive media attention, blocks-long lines and standing room only crowds, Edgington noted. She’s optimistic the team at Julep has found a way to streamline the process — making the pop-up an enjoyable experience for all.
“We plan on having a wait list that will take [your] phone number and we’ll text you when your table’s ready. That’s the great thing about Westport. There’s so many places that you can go and hang out beforehand,” she said. “We don’t want people waiting outside in the cold. Go to Port Fonda or Ca Va or Harry’s, one of the many other bars.”
Outside of the holiday season, a Pokemon pop-up bar will see a limited run in Kansas City in February 2020.
Such a trend points to opportunities for entrepreneurs to try new things without the burden of a failed business venture, Schmalz explained.
“[An] experience is that sort of thing that a lot of people would want to go check out and go like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what is this place?’ and try all 13 of our drinks possibly and just go totally nuts,” he said. “We can make it the sort of bar that wouldn’t necessarily be a viable bar to exist for seven or eight years and consistently pay rent.”