Darkside Bar brings ‘Star Wars’-themed intergalactic burlesque to SoHo

The path to this Darkside isn't fear.

At the Darkside Bar, a new "Star Wars"-themed pop-up bar in SoHo, the price of admission is in your wallet: $33 via online reservation, $40 at the door. Enter the narrow, dimly lit space that first opened its doors at 201 Lafayette St. last week, and you'll find yourself transported to a galaxy far, far away — where Sith Lord Darth Vader and one of his Imperial Army troopers break out into dance moves choreographed to top hits from the past four decades and seductive $16 cocktails tempt you to order just one more.

The temporary venue promises visitors a "truly immersive galactic experience" with DJ'ed dance nights, "intergalactic burlesque shows," "alien speed dating" and "games of chance," according to its website. Owner Zach Neil, who has put his stamp on the city's nightlife scene with the Will Ferrell-themed bar Stay Classy, New York and the Tim Burton-inspired watering hole Beetle House, said the burlesque dancers performing Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to midnight come from distant galaxies. "Alien speed dating," he explained, "is costumed patrons speed dating based on their 'Star Wars' compatibility."

Neil and his collaborators are "huge Star Wars fans," he said, "and we like to do pop ups that are fun and make people happy." It doesn't hurt, we should note, that the timing of this project taps into the Force of a highly anticipated premiere: The eighth episode in the film series, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," hits theaters on Dec. 15.

If you decide (as we did) to flirt with evil at the Darkside before it closes on Jan. 14, here's what you'll find:

A buzzing neon side beckons would-be Jedi knights

From the center of the room, it tempts you to join forces with the likes of Darth Vader, Darth Maul and Emperor Palpatine. Who doesn't want unlimited power, right?

Weaponry decorates the walls

No need to bring your own lightsaber; these cast a red glow to remind you what your true allegiances are.

The bar serves six specialty cocktails

Those include the Red Force (cherry vodka and peach schnapps), the Mindtrick (tequila, vodka, rum and midori, a Japanese melon liqueur), and the signature Dark Side (whiskey, blackberry schnapps and coke, served in a glass with a black sugar rim and a blackberry garnish).


The Blue Force, we think, is particularly enticing

It's a high-tech drink: A blue light embedded into an ice cube illuminates your glass, while dry ice releases the kind of fog you'd find on Dagobah, Yoda's swamp-covered planet. As final touches on the gin and blue Curaçao cocktail, bartenders add a rim of blue-tinted sugar and a glow stick.

The Imperial may seduce you, too

One look at this spiced rum and maple syrup combination, served flambé, and you may be trading your Jedi robes for a Sith cloak. The Imperial includes lemon juice, a dash of cayenne pepper and a lemon slice garnish.

The Galaxy has its own gravitational pull

You may feel like you're falling into a black hole when you peer into this drink: Bartenders use black vodka to make it appear bottomless. They top it off with cranberry juice, a silver sugar rim and cherry garnish.

Table accents redirect your mind toward destruction

Once you've ordered your drink, settle down on one of the bar's black leather couches. At your table, you'll find what looks like a holographic rendering of the Death Star, a haunting reminder that the dark side can crush any planet in its way.

A loop of movie clips brainwashes you

A projector playing a continuous montage from Star Wars movies on loop -- interwoven with excerpts from "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Star Trek Voyager" -- may spare you from the task of re-watching episodes four through seven before you see "The Last Jedi." (Episodes one through three? Everyone knows those are mostly garbage.)

Bored by that? Look for a cameo from Darth Vader

He'll be dancing with a Stormtrooper to all kinds of tunes. At Darkside, the DJ mixes "Star Wars" theme music into tracks spanning from 1970s disco hits to the latest chart toppers.

Star Wars fans actually dress for the occasion

Kristen Poppo, 31, a "Star Wars" fan since age 11, was wearing Sith Lord-colored contacts on Saturday night.

"It's very interesting to see what they did with the place," she said while watching Darth Vader shake his groove thing. "It's surprisingly cheerful for someplace that's decorated so grim."

One wall begs you to record the whole experience

No need for the whole night to pass you at lightspeed, right? Take a selfie here, post it to Instagram, and the Darkside Bar will live on for eternity.