Arriving a bit early to the New York Winter Wine Festival yesterday, we were turned away, as doors did not open for another half-hour. Not wanting to wait outside in the freezing cold, my husband and I figured we’d pop into Carmines across the street for a quick glass of wine (yes, before the wine festival, I recognize the ridiculousness of this). Carmines was unsurprisingly wayyy too crowded so we walked over, a few doors down to the next restaurant we could find, which happened to be Jekyll & Hyde’s. Always excited at the prospect of a cheesy, tourist haunt, I immediately decided we must go inside. I had no idea that a Times Square location even existed.
The new eatery is yet another outpost of the famed, spookified, Jekyll & Hyde empire. Owners also run another location in New York’s Greenwich village in addition to the iconic Slaughtered Lamb pub in the West Village. The Times Square location of the restaurant occupies an enormous space on the ground and second floor on 44th street between 7th and 8th Avenues. The opening comes not long after the closing of the restaurant’s Sixth Avenue location.
Every inch of the new restaurant is decorated deliberately to resemble a classy, haunted house on crack. The restaurant’s new location will surely be a happy fit as Times Square is the ideal for this type of amusement-park themed restaurant, which will pull in tourists looking for a good time.
Everything about this establishment is fun, if you don’t mind pretending to be a kid again. The walls are covered in spooky portraits with moving eyes, creepy shrunken heads and animatronic ghouls that speak to you. Costumed staffers circulate throughout the restaurant, eager to interact with diners. Special effects and high-tech lighting complete the eerie atmosphere. It’s clear that lots of thought has gone into every inch of this restaurant. My personal favorite touch is the bathroom entrance, which is hidden behind an unmarked door in a fireplace, which leads guests down a library in a secret corridor before they reach the bathroom. Beware when you check your lipstick ladies, I had the bejeesus scared out of me during a makeup touch-up when a haunted lady appeared behind the mirror.
My other favorite haunted-house trapping was the zombie who talks to bar patrons. These live characters interact with patrons and are really hysterical. Who doesn’t like a little teasing with their mocktail. Oh, that’s right, no cocktails just yet, as they are still waiting for their liquor license. It’s coming though in the next few days. We met another couple at the bar who we were talking to, they were from Pittsburgh and really quite thrilled with the restaurant. While we were happy having a coffee before the wine festival, the couple next to us had tickets to Phantom of the Opera. The lady stated, “I could stay here all night and skip the show it’s just so fun!” The eavesdropping Zombie on the wall quickkly replied to her, “Yeah, that sounds fun, miss a world-renowned show and stay here and drink juice. Good choice.” I have to say, I quite agree, Zombie.
In case you couldn’t guess, come here for the fun, not the food. Like most of the neighborhood restaurants over in Times Square, the food leaves a bit to be desired. The restaurant also plans to have a haunted attraction for visitors as well.
Even New York locals will enjoy this location if they’re not too jaded…cocktails will help! Cheers!
For more information, visit Jekyll and Hyde online.
Address: 91 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014