International Halloween pop-up bar Black Lagoon is opening in Austin for the first time this year. The pop-up will take over Central East Austin bar King Bee at 1906 East 12th Street starting on Tuesday, October 9 through Halloween on Wednesday, October 31.
Black Lagoon is pegged as a spooky scary, gothy, horror-y bar experience with correlating decor and entertainment. A press release describes the pop-up as “a dark celebration for those who revel in the mysterious and bizarre where guests can transport themselves.”
And, yes, there will be themed cocktails with the same menu for every participating bar. These will include the Book of Blood (mezcal joven, a chile liqueur, beet juice, a miso falernum, and absinthe), the Death Rattle (gin, brandy, amontillado, pineapple and lime juices, a spiced oat orgeat, and a Caribbean spice bitter blend), and the Night Crawler (Canadian rye whiskey, sherry wine, rooibos tea, cinnamon, and what it’s calling a super-acid apple). There will nonalcoholic options, such as the Satanic Panic, made with nonalcoholic spirit Ritual tequila, pineapple, miso falernum, and lime.
Co-founders Kelsey Ramage and Erin Hayes wanted to make sure that Black Lagoon happened in Austin because of the city’s friendliness. “Austin’s hospitality community is among the best in the country because it is home to so many bars, restaurants and bar folks that I love,” Hayes shared via a rep. “Also Austin’s “weird” side full of creatives and people from all walks of life makes it the perfect location for Black Lagoon to pop up.” They had been fans of King Bee’s newer parent company Pouring With Heart, and enjoyed the bar’s dive atmosphere.
The duo started Black Lagoon as a pop-up during trade conference Tales of the Cocktail at New Orleans goth bar the Dungeon in the summer of 2021. They turned into the fuller pop-up in Toronto later that same year. Since then, they expanded into other Canadian cities (Montreal, Vancouver) and American cities (including Nickel City’s Fort Worth location in 2022; it’ll happen again there this year too while its Austin counterpart will presumably deck out as Moe’s Tavern from the Simpsons again). 2023 is the first year the pop-up is aggressively expanding throughout America and elsewhere internationally, including Texas (Houston), as well as in England (London), France (Paris), and Mexico (Guadalajara).
Ramage, who had been based in London and now lives in Toronto, currently runs bartender resource group Trash Collective. She had worked at now-closed Toronto bar Supernova, and had founded the Trash Tiki pop-up, where bartenders used food waste to create cocktails, which actually had popped up at Nickel City in 2018.
Hayes, who is from Chicago and lives in Los Angeles. In her home city, she’s worked at places like now-closed tropical bar Lost Lake, tropical bar Three Dots and a Dash, and hotel restaurant Perennial Virant, She also works with canned cocktail company Livewire.
The two had hosted a similarly spooky holiday pop-up bar in Los Angeles called Krampus’s Cove in 2022.