Chicago Diaries

The Upside Down Experience

Once upon a time, a magical pop-up bar of every nerd’s dreams appeared in Chicago.
It was full of easter eggs, remade props and set pieces, and themed drinks.
And you know your girl loves a good themed ANYTHING.

My fiancé and I knew we wanted to go to the Stranger Things popup bar and we knew that it would be crazyyyy packed on a weekend, so after work/school things on a Wednesday, we decided to head to the Upside Down.

Emporium is an arcade bar in Chicago with a few different locations throughout the city. One of the best things this bar has done is create a space for “pop up bars”, or themed bars that are open for a brief period of time.

Before the Stranger Things themed pop up, they had a bar based off of a hip hop duo named Run the Jewels. When they did that particular pop up, it was the only bar that people could go to to try a new IPA called Stay Gold (inspired by the duo).

So basically, Emporium has tapped into a really genius marketing idea, which is to create an immersive experience for bar crawlers in Chicago. And they didn’t disappoint with their newest venture into the Upside Down.

We got to the Emporium pop up bar in Logan Square before it opened (at 5pm). We went to the bar/German Restaurant right next door called The Radler and got Radlers (surprise!) and caught up about our days before getting in line (that was forming right outside) to get into the bar.

Because we got there right as the bar opened, we were able to get right in, get drinks, and take all the pictures we wanted to without having to wait around in line or fight through hordes of people (that seemed to show up right as we left).

As soon as you walked into the bar, you were welcomed into Castle Beyers with signs from Hawkins Department of Energy and eerie blue lights bled through the front entrance.


When you walked into the actual bar, the ceiling had an entire living room layout hanging from it, like table and chair and breakfast (with eggos) laid out on it–all literally hanging upside down. There was also a section of the bar that had an A.V. club like set up and episodes from the show were projected onto the wall.

While the drinks were not the most amazing cocktails, they were still fun and themed and you can’t really be mad when you order a drink that has a slice of a waffle in it.

(Also that drawing doesn’t really look like 11, but it’s still fun so idk get off of me)

The Demogorgon & Eleven’s Eggos (both slushie drinks!)

And of course, the best part was the recreation of Joyce’s living room in the center of the bar.

I think my fiancé put it best, “It’s like walking into Harry Potter World.” This little pop up knows exactly what it’s about. It’s not necessarily a place for artisan cocktails. It’s a place for you to get a picture and geek out about/with the girl who just walked in dressed like Eleven. It offers itself as a little escape in the city. A little fort where you can buy drinks based off of your favorite characters and giggle as you find “Pour One Out For Barb” messages etched into the table. It was a bucket of fun and if you’re in the city before October–GO! After we went, we didn’t want to let the experience go, so we rewatched all of season 1. We’re DEFF ready for season 2 in October (Oh, we got some DOPE plans for a viewing party. WE DON’T PLAY.).

Light & Love & Eggos,


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