Updated June 3, 2021 - 9:57 am
The Arts District dining scene is about to get a little more horrifying — in a good way. The owners of Nightmare Toys, on Commerce Street between Colorado Avenue and Imperial Avenue, are preparing to open a horror-themed bar and restaurant called Nightmare Cafe.
The company has secured the space adjacent to Nightmare Toys’ current location at 1309 S. Commerce St., which it will split between additional retail space for the toy store and a separate 2,000-square-foot bar and restaurant with indoor-outdoor seating for about 60 people. While dates are still tentative, the company is shooting for a late summer or early fall debut.
“It’s all gonna be horror-themed of course,” says Philip Martin, a partner in both ventures.
The food and cocktails will have appropriately horrific names. The decor will include murals inside and out by local arts collective Wall Saints. And there will be space on the walls where local horror artists can hang work that’s available for purchase.
As for the cuisine, Martin says it will reflect the company’s Alabama roots.
“We’re going to kind of focus on Southern food, so it’s going to be fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, fried okra,” he explains. “Then we’re also going to have bar food — chicken wings and burgers and chicken sandwiches and stuff like that.”
Nightmare Toys opened last June and has built a following among horror fans with its assortment of toys, costumes and collectibles, as well as live appearances and autograph-signing sessions by horror movie stars.
“It’s been amazing,” Martin says of the fan base they managed to cultivate during a pandemic. “We’re getting on the list of (fans who say), ‘Hey I’m going to see Zak Bagans’ (Haunted Museum) and Tom Devlin’s (Monster Museum), and I’m going to Nightmare Toys.’ ”
He says he’s hoping that same crowd will see Nightmare Cafe as a place to dine and drink while they’re in town, or to host special events.
“We’re open to doing weddings. Kids are always looking for places to have their birthday party during the day. So we’re going to do that, (and) everything we can do.”