Theme bars: You either love ’em or you hate ’em. Some folks just want to walk into a dimly lit establishment and consume their alcohol in unfussy peace and quiet. Others have found delight in bars that indulge in creative gimmickry, with their fancifully-garnished specialty cocktails and colorful on-trend decor and a-little-too-into-the-schtick bartenders. So batten down the hatches, because through the month of September, in the Chicago metropolitan area, there’s gonna be a major overlap between theme bar enthusiasts and the Stranger Things fandom. Chicago, brace for a lot of scared and confused drunkards.

A pop-up bar called the Upside Down has done its popping-up at the Chicago event space known as the Emporium, where it will remain until the end of September. As the name suggests, the bar and its wares have been modeled after Netflix’s popular sci-fi/horror program Stranger Things as a viral publicity push for the second season due on October 27. The bar has recreated the scenery of Joyce’s living room and its Christmas-light alphabet setup, the swampy wilds of the Upside Down, and even the contained government facility known as Hawkins National Laboratory. And its drinks nod to the series as well, most notable among them being the “Eleven’s Eggo,” a slush-based beverage garnished with a slice of toasted freezer waffle.

Sunday Strangeday... all friends welcome! Castle Byers is open 12p-2a!💡

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welcome to the wonderfully strange world of The Upside Down! 🙃

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There’s plenty more, including a stage designed to look like an A.V. club office, where some unannounced musical guests have been teased as performing. As bars go, it sounds like a pretty wild time, but I have been enjoying my own personal Stranger Things bar for a little over a year now. It’s simple: Pour yourself a nice tall glass of brown liquor while sitting very close to the TV screen at home, and voila! You might as well be in the Upside Down. Your vision will be soon.

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