Go Inside The Upside Down: A Chicago Stranger Things Pop-Up Bar

“Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m out of my mind! But God help me, I will keep these lights up until the day I die if I think there’s a chance that Will’s still out there!”

– Nancy Byers

Stranger Things doesn’t return for another season of mystery and 80s-throwbacks until late October, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all the nostalgia-tinged moment right now. In fact, you can even get a little while tipsy doing it.

Welcome to The Upside Down, a Stranger Things pop-up held in Emporium‘s pop-up space (do not make the same mistakes we did, which was first go to Wicker Park Emporium, then to the right Emporium in Logan Square, only to find out it’s actually being held in the pop-up space next door. It was like our own epic adventure just to get here.)

Entering the space, you walk through Mirkwood Forest, home to the evil Hawkins National Laboratory.

Peel back the curtain and come into…

Welcome to Hawkins, Indiana

Yes, welcome to Hawkins, Indiana. Home to monsters, telekinetic children and Winona Ryders who slowly lose their minds.

I loved this space. The music was classic 80’s jams (mixed in with the Stranger Things theme song from time to time). Episodes of the show we’re playing on the giant screen behind the DJ.

There are fantastic little touches sprinkled through the space, like the table on the ceiling with a plate of Eggos on it or the bike hanging from the wall behind the bar.

A Stranger Cocktail Menu

They have a pretty decent selection of $10 cocktails, each with a cute name:

Eleven’s Eggos: slushie drink with Angel’s Envy bourbon, lemon, orange, cranberry, maple syrup and topped with a waffle.

Snack pack: mezcal, passion fruit, lemon, chocolate syrup and creme de cacao.

Coffee and contemplation: scotch, coffee liqueur, lemon and coffee bitters.

Demogorgon: slushie drink with overproof rum, blood orange, lime and allspice dram.

She’s our friend and she’s crazy: reposado tequila, amaretto, lemon and strawberry.

Mouthbreather: gin, caramelized pineapple, lime, Ancho Reyes and Hellfire Shrub bitters.

Be Prepared To Wait

Now, what I will say is that it’s not that big a space. You come in, take some pics, get a cocktail or two and really that’s all there is to see. It is cool, and very Instagrammable, but just know what you’re getting into.

Also, know what the line is going to be like. Despite the space telling Eater: “Bar management doesn’t expect problems with long lines. Fans can just hop on to Emporium or another bar to wait if needed,” this was 100 percent NOT the case when we went.

The line was down the block and around the corner and the wait time was expected to be about an hour to an hour and a half and wasn’t slowing. Granted this was a Saturday night, but the door guys said it was like this all the time, so come early or prepare to wait.

Yes, as Jonathan Byers once said: “You shouldn’t like things just because people tell you you’re supposed to.”

However, if you’re a fan of the show, or just can’t wait to see what happened next (I have a few theories here), then this is exactly the spot for you.

The Upside Down, 2367 N. Milwaukee Ave., open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Wednesday through Friday; noon to 3 a.m. on Saturday; noon to 2 a.m. on Sunday.

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