For those of us shaking in anticipation for season two of Netflix’s Stranger Things, a new pop-up bar in Chicago’s Logan Square is sure to take the edge off. Emporium Popups, an offshoot of Emporium Arcade Bar, specializes in themed pop-up bars throughout the year, and the Upside Down Bar is Emporium’s latest addition to the series.
The name is an allusion to the parallel universe of Hawkins, Indiana, where Stranger Things takes place. And Emporium has spared no expense in replicating the themes and symbols of the award-winning show. For instance, the bar features the iconic electro-alphabetic wall through which the character Joyce communicates with her son Will, who is trapped in the alternate reality, the Upside Down. Other set decorations include a sign displaying “Welcome to Hawkins,” and a mural painting of the telekinetic character Eleven against the backdrop of her favorite snack, an Ego waffle.
The drink menu also pays homage to the idiosyncrasies of the show. Ego waffles are big theme, and the Eleven’s Waffle cocktail is a playful take on the character’s favorite snack. The libation consists of Angel’s Envy bourbon, lemon, orange, cranberry, and maple syrup topped off with an Ego waffle slice as a playful garnish. True fans can also opt for the She’s Our Friend & She’s Crazy, which features reposado tequila, amaretto, lemon, and strawberry. And if the ambiance and the cocktails aren’t enough for you, the bar continuously plays episodes of the show throughout the night for patrons’ viewing pleasure.
This is not Emporium’s first pop-up project. Bottle Rocket ran from June through July with a theme paying tribute to the renowned Chicago block part, featuring charcoal BBQ and parking tickets as take aways. Beginning last summer, Emporium put on Surf, a pop-up bar simulating an “endless summer” theme complete with a fake beach. That pop-up ran through this February as the locals tried to find a happy place and ignore the ruthless Chicago winter. The Upside Down is expected to run through late September, a month or so before season two of Stranger Things premiers on Netflix.