At the Zombie Den: Bar of the Dead, the drinks and the bodies are stiff.
The team behind ScareHouse, Pittsburgh’s long-time purveyors of fright, have resurrected their Halloween pop-up bar at The Original Oyster House in Market Square. The haunted watering hole, situated next to Oyster House’s main bar area, will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays until Nov. 2., beginning at 4 p.m. each day.
Zombie Den offers more than a spooky atmosphere; it’s an immersive tribute to the region’s horror movie heritage. Director George A. Romero, as you probably know, filmed the iconic “Night of the Living Dead” here in 1968, spawning the global zombie craze.
The space is designed as a post-apocalyptic “safe zone,” but you might just end up rubbing elbows with flesh-eaters as you sip specialty drinks.
The bar’s general manager Michael McCoy created eight, new creepy cocktails this year, including They’re Coming To Get You, Barbara, a combination of light and dark rum, almond, pineapple, grapefruit and lime. Beware the dreaded brain freeze if you order A Sure Way To Kill ‘Em, a frosty mix of spiced rum, coffee liqueur, pumpkin ice milk and coffee. Then heat things up with A Cure For Pain featuring tequila, mango habanero whiskey, apple cider, lime and cinnamon.
The bar is also stocked with beer, Cupcake Vineyards wine and $4 test tube shots.
Once you’ve had your share of boos and booze at Zombie Den, you can shamble down the road to the equally creepy Nightmare on Forbes Street (we know, it’s actually an avenue but don’t tell Freddy Krueger that). And then shamble to the Strip District, where the ScareHouse crew has set up shop for the season.
Over the summer, the ScareHouse monsters vacated their long-time digs (a century-old Elks Lodge in Etna) to work on opening a full-fledged haunted house next fall in an undisclosed location. In the meantime, they’re temporarily raising hell at 2420 Penn Ave. in the Strip at a pop-up they’re calling Scream District.
The 10,000-square-foot Scream District houses “The Basement” and “Stalked by a Killer,” two distinct nightmares under one roof.
After signing a waiver, guests 18 and older can enter The Basement — alone or with a buddy — for a 40-minute experience that’s less like a haunted house and more like a demonic boot camp. The other attraction, Stalked by a Killer, is a PG-13-rated escape room that pits Pittsburghers against a serial murderer.
Scream District opens Oct. 3 and will operate Thursday through Sunday evenings until early November. Brave souls must book their trip in advance, as only a limited number of people can filter through the pop-up on a given night. In the daytime, the escape room will be available on weekdays for corporate team-building excursions.
Can’t make it to Scream District, Zombie Den or Nightmare on Forbes? You can experience a few Halloween thrills and chills by having a speciality milkshake at Burgatory (a portion of the proceeds benefit Make Room For Kids, an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation) or catch a creature feature at the Rangos Giant Cinema at Carnegie Science Center (titles include “Evil Dead II,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “Frankenstein,” “Dracula,” “Dawn of the Dead 3D” and “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”).