Some dreams never die. Jeff Schiefelbein, owner and operator of Sinister Pointe Productions, in Brea, has been wanting to open a horror-themed cocktail lounge for six years. This year, Schiefelbein and his team are having a trial run with Sinister Pointe’s Spirit Lounge, a pop-up bar that is scheduled to operate from Aug. 8 – Sept. 1, but knowing about it is only the first part of the battle.
Spirit Lounge occupies a second story space that is part of the parking structure at Birch Street Promenade, in Brea. Once inside, guests can look down on the mortal souls who frequent the dining establishments and cinema below. Alternately, anyone who looks up from the hip downtown Brea area might observe the creative lighting, fog, and eerie sounds that emanate from the haunt-like lounge. However, if any of those passersby wish to join the party, they will find that it is not so easy. There are currently two ways to get in: one must be invited, or one must find a way to make a reservation.
Schiefelbein, who invited select folks to a recent preview night, explained the process. “Currently, the way to get in is to get on our social media. Get on the website and there are some lines on there,” he explained. “You’re going to have to look for clues because there are hidden links and hidden clues on how you can find our reservation page to make a reservation.” Once folks navigate the process, there is a $13 reservation fee per person, and then they’re in.
Once inside, guests will find themselves immersed in a horror fan’s fantasy. The aforementioned lighting, fog, and soundtrack — which features theme music from a variety of horror films — set the tone. Bartenders in monstrous make-up serve horror-themed drinks from two separate bars, each one thoroughly peppered with an eclectic assortment of curiosities. Some of those curiosities, as well as some of the larger props and decorations throughout the lounge, will test the extent of the guests’ knowledge of horror films and their relevant artifacts.
The themed drinks, themselves, are interactive. That is to say, whether one orders a Chainsaw Massacre, Holy Water, Killer Klowns, or an Ectoplasm, there will be a corresponding experiential component. Mum’s the word on those. Additionally, the environment is kept alive — or undead — by various lurking characters, and there are many high-quality props and decorations throughout the lounge that make for great photo ops.
The speakesy-type admittance approach may not last beyond the initial run of the pop-up. After that, the Spirit Lounge may find continued life. “We’re hoping things go well enough, which so far they already are…to at least extend it through Halloween,” Schiefelbein said. “If things continue to go well, we’d love to make it a year-round thing.”