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10 of the Wackiest Theme Restaurants Around the U.S.

Do you like fun?

Covid-19 Disclaimer: Make sure to check the status of the states, regions, and establishments in which you’re planning to visit prior to travel. Many regions continue to see high infection rates and deaths, while many states and counties remain under varying stay-at-home orders. Those traveling from areas with high rates of Covid-19 should consider avoiding travel for now in order to reduce spread.

Theme restaurants get a bad rap and, you know what? This is understandable. It’s not exactly a relaxing dining experience to sit in, say, a Rainforest Cafe eating a salad named after a tree as a fake thunderstorm roars and a child nearby is devouring a volcano cake as wait staff sings, “Happy Birthday.” It’s not an example of “fine dining” to eat a turkey leg while watching knights joust in an arena at, hm, let’s say, Medieval Times. But you know what it is an example of? That’s right, buddy—fun. Fun—ever heard of it? Because when you’re finally able to dine out again, you should have a good time—and that’s exactly what you’ll be served at these theme restaurants.

1 OF 10

Jekyll & Hyde Club

WHERE: New York City

Ah, New York’s finest haunted restaurant and bar. This place is filled with all of the animatronic mummies one could possibly need (and plenty of other animatronic friends, as well). Actors walk around playing mad scientists and other characters, and the whole place looks like it’s set in the weird study of an elaborate haunted house. Is this the place to go for a child’s birthday party? Absolutely. Plenty of tweens celebrate their birthdays there. But who cares? Personally, every time I’ve gone on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, I’ve thought to myself, “What if this were a restaurant?” Plus, they’ve got a long list of “poisonous” alcoholic drinks—and children aren’t allowed to have those, proving that it is perfectly acceptable for an adult person to dine here.

2 OF 10

Beetle House LA & Beetle House NY

WHERE: Los Angeles & New York City

The theme at this place is “Halloween,” but more specifically, it’s “Halloween…by Tim Burton” (mostly…there’s some Alfred Hitchcock, thrown in, as well). All of his greatest macabre films are featured in the decor—Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands…the list goes on. What started out as a pop-up restaurant and bar has turned into a year-round celebration of all things Halloween. And, of course, actors in character creep around the place as you dine. Also, one of the menu items is called “Edward Burgerhands” and comes served with some scissors poking into a burger.

3 OF 10

Pirates Dinner Adventure

WHERE: Buena Park, California

Oh boy, welcome to the Medieval Times but: pirates. And let me first start off by saying this is not only for children. How do I know? Because it was featured on an episode of The Bachelor. This dinner show features a very elaborate set (huge ship, etc), where a bunch of pirates sword fight with each other as you eat a massive “pirate’s feast.” They also do themed-theme shows, seasonally, with a Christmas-themed pirate show as well as a vampire-themed pirate for Halloween. Themes on themes on themes here—but always pirates. So forget nearby Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm—this one’s cheaper AND you just sit down and eat. You don’t even have to move very much! A win for you.

4 OF 10

The Airplane Restaurant

WHERE: Colorado Springs, Colorado

This might surprise you, but the theme for The Airplane Restaurant is: airplane. And when I say “airplane,” I do mean one singular airplane—a Boeing KC-97. You can either sit in the plane, which can fit up to 42 people at a time, or you can sit near the plane (lots more people can sit outside, so if you want to sit in the plane, you better make a reservation, pal). Don’t expect to just walk up and sit in the plane—plan ahead.

5 OF 10

The Mad Hatter Bistro

WHERE: Birmingham, Michigan

The theme of this delightful bistro located in the heart of downtown Birmingham is, as you probably could’ve guessed, Alice in Wonderland. Here, the decor is as whimsical as the food, and you can make reservations for an afternoon tea from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, or simply dine in for lunch, dinner, or happy hour (so many menus here!). The dining room is eclectic, almost every inch of it containing a decorative reminder of Lewis Carroll’s famous tale. A lovely patio is available seasonally, as well (a.k.a. not during the winter).

6 OF 10

Big Nose Kate’s Saloon

WHERE: Tombstone, Arizona

It’s no surprise that the theme of this saloon in literally a place called Tombstone, Arizona, is: the wild, wild west, baby. Here, you can dress up and have your photo taken with a cowboy or a saloon lady, or just hang out and enjoy the live entertainment. Oh, right, and there’s food, also—sandwiches, steaks, burgers, wings, and if you’re extremely hungry, there is a menu item called the “Big Ass Burger.”

7 OF 10

Bors Hede Inne

WHERE: Carnation, Washington

Man, this place goes…all out. The restaurant is a replica of a 14th-century English village lodge and located inside of a living history museum (Camlann Medieval Village)—a theme within a theme, you could say. While you are being served hearty food from authentic 14th-century recipes by servers in character, you will also enjoy musical entertainment as well as a dinner-theatre experience. You’ll feel like you’re truly living in Medieval England, from start to finish.

8 OF 10

Space Aliens Grill & Bar

WHERE: Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota & Albertville, Minnesota

While this place is perfect for a child’s birthday party (lots of games), it can be fun for all ages (lots of happy hour specials). Plus, it’s entirely space-themed. Inside you’ll have close encounters with plenty of alien sculptures and other retro space-themed decor. There’s even a 30-foot dome area, where you can “look out” into outer space. Is this mostly for kids? Sure. But, just my opinion, it’d also make for a pretty fun and hilarious date night if you’ve got that sort of personality (a fun one).

9 OF 10

Trailer Park After Dark

WHERE: San Diego, California

Trailer Park After Dark is located in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, and the theme is, clearly: trailer park. The place has actual, kitschy trailers you can sit inside of (or outside of, on lawn chairs), which are all available for private party reservations. The menu is simple and fun, the drinks are plentiful, and there’s always ’80s music blasting and nostalgic television playing on their TVs. It’s family-friendly, but after 11 p.m., you must be 21 or older to enter.

10 OF 10

The Stinking Rose

WHERE: San Francisco & Beverly Hills, California

Get ready for a whole bunch of garlic. The actual theme of this restaurant is garlic, and all of the dishes are made with a lot of garlic, and there are garlic bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The place is lit with a red hue and each room is decorated in an old-timey fashion, and it feels slightly like you are entering a circus world of sorts, but in the best possible and fun sort of way.

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