Sinister Ponte Spirit Lounge, Brea, CA
For most people, Halloween season doesn’t start until October, or maybe September for those who start going to haunts as soon as they open. But for the big Halloween fans, the holiday is a year-round way of life. Things really start to ramp up in the summer though, as events like Midsummer Scream help “kick off” the season. Something else that’s been happening in August? An interactive, horror-themed pop-up bar put on by the folks at Sinister Pointe—those brainchild behind last year’s The Scary Place, Fear the Mark from 2016, and many more.
Located in the Brea Gateway Center shopping complex, down the lane from the Edwards Cinema across the street from the Brea Improv, the Spirit Lounge is an intimate upstairs bar themed as a celebration of various things horror. Occupying the space of the old Brea Sky Lounge, it doesn’t necessarily have a single specific horror theme. Instead, its ambiance is a menage of franchises, from Haunted Mansion stretching room portraits to Chucky to creepy spiders to a sinister booth with the ominous Annabelle doll to The Exorcist to creepy nuns and more. Some set elements are on lone from other companies, but many are property of the Sinister Pointe folks themselves.
The draw is a gathering of people who love all things horror, set in an environment that is almost like a horror museum. A roaming Michael Myers stalks guests and poses for photos (though there are no hard scares for the obvious reason related to the presence of alcohol and potential liability), various spooky soundtracks play over the speaker system above, and a variety of props function as photo ops for guests to indulge their social media sharing tendencies.
There are drinks here, of course. The Spirit Bar has “interactive cocktails” that trigger some sort of effect or interaction when guests order them. “The Texas Chainsaw” comes with a severed finger and various scenes of cinematic chainsaw butcher on projected onto the ceiling above. “The Killer Clown” features a swizzle of cotton candy and popcorn thrown in your direction. Compared to the gamut of regular bars to craft cocktail bars, the price is a bit steep for the types of drinks offered, but guests are paying for the general ambiance and the entertainment factor that comes with them.
Overall, the Spirit Bar is a cute and oddly charming labor of love to horror fans who just want to unwind and have a drink and take in an atmosphere that is dedicated to the sights and memories of what they love. The results have spoken for themselves. In the era of social media-driven pop-up installations, it’s almost a surprise why no one has really done a big horror-themed bar before, but the Spirit Bar has been a hit among its guests. Though a little bit incomplete with missing signage and effects on the preview media night, the bar has since completely booked through its reservations through the end of its run—though an extension is possible (and hopeful, given the success so far). On a follow-up Thursday night visit last week, the area was packed with patrons enjoying the spooky vibe and the adult a beverages. There was also a long line for a tarot reader in attendance.
Sinister Pointe’s Spirit Bar is located at 375 W Birch St, Brea, CA 92821. The bar is above Izakaya on Birch and connected right adjacent to a parking structure. The Spirit Bar runs one more weekend, next Thursday, August 29 - Sunday, September 1. Reservations are required and appear to be sold out, but if they extend the run, check back at http://www.sinisterpointe.com!
If you want more Sinister Pointe, they’ll be back this fall with another haunted attraction entitled “Mist,” an intriguing “free-roaming haunted experience” with the premise of a diabolical game of survival that pits guests against each other. More details and dates and information will be released shortly. Sinister Pointe owner, Jeff Schiefelbein, has always had a creative mind for pushing the envelope in haunted attraction experiences. It should be interesting to see what the Sinister Pointe folks have in store this year!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.