Drinks for the undead

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February 1, 2010 // UPDATED 4:38 pm - February 3, 2010
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den — the reincarnation of the old Stand Up Frank’s space north of Downtown — bills itself as a “drinkery.”

“One of only a handful of lounges where you can relax and drink … and there is no pressure to eat,” they explain on their website. “Donny Dirk’s … denying moral and intellectual superiority every day.”

I recently sampled the Donny Dirk, the $6 house cocktail — a take on an Alexander with a chocolate kick and sprinkling of nutmeg. I tried to guess the ingredients when quizzed by my server, but she remained tightlipped about the special recipe.

The menu describes the beverage as a “dainty drink for disgraceful zombies” and a “classic return to the dead and forgotten.” The cocktail is very rich, so you might want to share it with a friend.

If you’re looking for a deal, the time to hit the bar is for the daily “happy horror,” which runs 4–7 p.m. There are two-for-one tap beers, house wine for $3 and if you’re feeling especially devilish, Voodoo Zombies for $6.66. Head over there early if you want to secure a table.

After washing down the cocktail and a glass of wine, my friend and I started to get hungry, so we headed to the bar’s Batphone — a direct link to Psycho Suzi’s in Northeast (one of Donny Dirk’s sibling businesses). Owner Leslie Bock also owns St. Sabrina’s in Uptown.

No bar food quite satisfies like Psycho’s pickled roll-ups and Barbie Q pizza topped with roast chicken, tangy barbecue sauce and red onions.

Besides the fabulous cocktails, it’s worth making a trek to the bar just to take in the décor inspired by the zombie craze sweeping the city and the 1950s-era Las Vegas lounge scene. A neon green sign reading “Undead Frank Lives” hangs above the bar — a tribute to the joint’s former life as Stand Up Frank’s. There are deer heads and cheesy horror movies playing on two TVs to entertain patrons as they sip the vintage cocktails.

Bock said the idea for the bar started with her desire to have a place focused on “smart drinking and conversation.”

“As for the theme, it’s more of a riddle than reality. Just as there is no Psycho Suzi and that our pizza parlor is hardly a motor lodge,” Bock said. “The naming of Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den was meant to be a bit grandiose, obtuse, confusing and delightfully flawed. Like a former Miss Teen America still telling the story of her crowning moment 45 years later with menthol cigarettes and whiskey made in Idaho on her breath.”

Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den
2027 N. 2nd St.