Fans of booze and zombies (sorry, walkers) will be thrilled to hear that there’s now a Walking Dead bar in Edinburgh.
It’s called Survive, and it’s the brainchild of The Pop Up Geeks, who were also behind a recent Game of Thrones pop-up that went viral in January. It’s based in a bar called One Below on Howe Street, and it’s open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings until the end of June.
1. So, as fans of a) post-apocalyptic TV shows, and b) extremely strong cocktails, we obviously had to check it out.
And it was great! But also creepy as hell, mainly because they had a realistic walker who was wandering around menacing the drinkers. There were lots of clever touches, like clubs wrapped in barbed wire, chalked messages on the ground, a headless corpse propped in the window, blood-scrawled words on the walls, and drinks inspired by events in the show.
2. It wasn’t just for fans of the TV series either: The organisers had also included plenty of nods to the original comic books, including replica artwork to take home.
You couldn’t take away the walker though, sadly, as she worked there. Which is a shame because it would be quite fun to have one as a pet. You definitely wouldn’t have to queue to get on the trams any more.
3. To give the bar a suitably “Terminus-y” vibe, it’s strewn with ration cans, barbed wire, newspaper, and survival gear.
It was really cool, although at times it was hard to decide whether the scariest thing in the bar was the walker or Donald Trump’s face glaring down at you from a recent torn-up copy of the Metro.
4. Every single drink is TWD-themed, like the “24-hour ration pack” featuring ale, a syringe containing a cocktail shot, Wild Turkey whiskey, and a damn fine cookie.
We also knocked back a few boilermakers – beer-and-shot combos. One of the strongest boilermakers was “Something to Fear”, inspired by Negan’s skull-crushing antics. It pairs a 7.2% Orange IPA with 80-proof corn moonshine. After a few of those, you wouldn’t care if you got your head bashed in with a barbed-wire baseball bat. Although the next day we kind of felt like we had.
5. After that we moved on to the cocktails, which were also super strong. We started with “Lesson One”: Hershel’s elderberry tea with rye whiskey.
There’s also a Lizzie Samuels–themed cocktail served with “blood-stained” edible flowers. So harsh.
6. It was around this point that I shot an innocent woman with a gun.
Talk about getting into the spirit of the show. The walker had snuck up behind our table, so someone handed me a prop plastic gun to fend her off with. I didn’t realise it was actually loaded with darts, one of which hit her dead on (pun intended). I was super apologetic but she didn’t break character, which was impressive. Maybe she really was a zombie.
7. At the end of the evening, we did feel like we’d spent a night in Woodbury Arena.
…but without the smoke grenades, braying crowds, or fights to the death.
Linden Wilkinson, one of the founders of The Pop Up Geeks, told BuzzFeed: “We’re huge fans of the show and the comics, so we were really excited to bring them to life. Coming up with the drinks was interesting – when we did the Game of Thrones bar there was a lot of description of food and drink to draw from, but characters in the Walking Dead don’t tend to mix many cocktails, so we limited ourselves to ingredients the characters could find after the apocalypse.”
8. In short, if you want to pretend that you’re Rick Grimes while downing strong beers and even stronger cocktails, head to this city-centre Sanctuary.
You might not survive if you don’t.