It’s the Netflix hit that I was too wimpy to get through alone. “You like Steven Spielberg?” My friends would ask. “Well, then, you’ve got to watch ‘Stranger Things.'” Well, I wimped out pretty quickly, and keep telling myself I’ll get through the whole show one of these days. But in the meantime, I’ll settle for learning about a “Stranger Things” Halloween party happening at Hotel Madrid on October 28th.
The timing for the ball couldn’t be any better; the second season for the Netflix series comes out October 27th.
“Having been fans of the show and seeing the new season come out, and the promo they were doing, it’s just a good tie with a theme that touches a generation,” Sean Wille, StandEatDrink’s director of marketing and public relations, tells me. “It’s cross-generational. This is one that is new-age Netflix and takes place in the 80s, so people can connect to a different time.”
To bring you up to speed, here’s the Netflix summary:
When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl.
You don’t have to be a fan of the show to know about Eleven (Milly Bobby Brown), the girl with the shaved hair, nosebleeds and a thing for Eggo waffles. Or that Christmas lights hanging up on a wall light up with messages from the missing boy, Will. In fact, if you follow the Chicago food scene at all, you’ve probably heard about Emporium’s pop-up “Stranger Things” bar earlier this fall, featuring the Christmas lights display. Hotel Madrid draws on all these concepts for inspiration.
Wille says Hotel Madrid will not only do the lights display on the back wall of the bar, Vermutería 600, but bring in 80s-era arcade games for the front. The main dining room will be cleared out to become a dance floor, while a smaller dinner service will be offered in La Cava, the wine cellar. In-house food stalls will be set up outside , but with a “Stranger Things” twist.
“There’s a laboratory that’s kind of sealed off,” Wille explains. “So outside, we’ll do a chain link fence, no-trespassing area, maybe a satellite bar as well. As for the laboratory itself, we’ll have food stalls serving show favorites like the waffles, with a fun take on that. We’ll probably do french fries and kids food and some iconic 80s dishes. Just light snacks, finger foods.”
And when it comes to the drinks, don’t expect your typical Manhattans or martinis. It’s going to be all about molecular science. Think vapors, dry ice and fog.
“One of the drinks [The Upside Down] that we’re working on is going to use activated charcoal, which will give it a nice dark tone,” bar manager Ryan DeRosa says. “We’ll also use a pellet of dry ice, so you’ll have this black drink that’s bubbling over. We’ll slightly carbonate the drink, too, which adds a nice layer of texture as far as the flavor is concerned.”
Another drink, Hopper’s Snack Pack, will pair Eggos with liquid nitrogen, which will serve as ice cream.
“The whole cocktail is pretty much going to be ice cream, bourbon, lemon juice, and a smoked pineapple syrup,” DeRosa explains. “We’ll turn that into ice cream and throw some crumbled Oreos on there so you’re going to eat it off that Eggo.”
Beyond molecular components, Hotel Madrid’s team also plans to hand out one of the shots in “IV bags.” The restaurant already released a sneak peek of the shot, Operation Mirkwood, on Instagram. The layback shots contain Smartie infused El Tesoro Platinum Tequila with Bittercube Jamaican #2 Bitters.
“The whole theme of ‘Stranger Things’ fits in really well,” DeRosa says. “Our whole cocktail program is about like ‘yeah, we wanna do cool shit,’ and we want to be on the cutting edge of stuff that’s happening, but at the same time, cocktails are supposed to be fun.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Halloween party without costume contests. Hotel Madrid will have two separate categories: Best “Stranger Things” costumes and best 80s costumes. Hotel Madrid will give out cash prizes to the winners.
Tickets are $15 in advance and come with one Stranger Drink and Survival Kit. Tickets will be $20 at the door. The event begins at 8:00pm on October 28th. Click here to see the full list of Stranger Drinks.
Hotel Madrid is located in the Walker’s Point neighborhood at 600 S. 6th Street.