Preview: Neotropolis Bar, the immersive cyberpunk pop-up bar in LA

Neotropolis Bar

Photo Credit: Nerd Reactor/John Nguyen

Blade Runner took place in a dystopian future set in November of 2019 in Los Angeles. It is now November of 2019, and there are no signs of flying vehicles or digital video ads as tall as skyscrapers in Los Angeles. However, there is some good news. Downtown Los Angeles will be getting a pop-up cyberpunk bar called Neotropolis Bar, which will debut Friday on November 1, 2019. Nerd Reactor was invited to check it out before its grand opening, and we were floored away by the set, decor, lighting, drinks, and local inhabitants.

The entrance to the bar is in an alley (the backside of Los Angeles Biergarten), which is perfect for the cyberpunk setting. Once you get past the front entrance, you’ll see a hallway that will lead to the main bar upstairs and Undercity downstairs. The upstairs bar looked sleek while still maintaining a futuristic look from an ’80s lens. Seats had lights illuminating from the bottom, a wall had a giant fan, and the bar served drinks with a cyberpunk twist. The main bar leads to other rooms with a completely different color scheme and decorations, with one room reminiscent of a lounge reserved for VIPs.

Neotropolis Bar Undercity

Photo Credit: Nerd Reactor/John Nguyen

What’s a cyberpunk bar without an area that truly looks like a dystopian world. The Undercity is located downstairs, and it’s grungy and low-tech. One can imagine the unfortunate folks living here while the upper-class party upstairs.

We had the chance to taste two cocktails: The Neotropolis Old Fashioned and the Cold Restart. The Neotropolis Old Fashioned is the signature drink which is blended whiskey infused with chrysanthemum and chamomile tea, house-made Guinness bitter Syrup, black lemon bitters, and mesquite smoke. The Cold Restart is a Thai tea-inspired cocktail, and it’s a tasty drink that can sneak up on you.

Neotropolis Bar

Photo Credit: Nerd Reactor/John Nguyen

“It’s really not just one thing that influences this,” said Jared Butler, creator of Neotropolis Bar. “If you’re a child of the ’80s and you liked movies, anime, comics, and video games, you were exposed to a cyberpunk aesthetic that is unique. This is my attempt to create my version of it. All of that stuff gets into my brain and gets in our subconscious and comes out in a blender. I think anybody who comes here, who knows that vibe, will get what this is. So no, it’s not from any particular property, but it’s from our shared dreams of an ’80s future.”

Butler is no stranger to creating immersive worlds. He is the co-founder and event director of Wasteland Weekend, the Mad Max-themed festival.

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John Nguyen
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