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Sip on Zima and Eat ‘Adult Lunchables’ at This Blockbuster-Themed Pop-Up on Melrose

Plus, a meet-and-greet dinner with the matriarch of Nashville Hot Chicken, free Howlin’ Ray’s, and more

A Blockbuster-themed pop-up bar in Los Angeles, California.
Blockbuster pop-up bar
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

When passing by Melrose and Formosa Avenue over the last month, Los Angeles residents likely noticed workers building an actual Blockbuster store. It’s not the iconic video store coming back to life; instead, it’s a boozy Blockbuster-themed pop-up commencing on November 19.

Produced by the same crew that invented the popular Golden Girls Kitchen, the 90210-themed Peach Pit, and Saved by the Max pop-ups, the Blockbuster Pop-Up Bar is more of a speakeasy. Tickets start at $29 per person, which includes a full bar with throwback product names most haven’t seen in years: Crystal Clear Pepsi, Tab, plus cocktails made with Gushers and Yoo-Hoo. There’s even Zima, a carbonated bottled clear liquor drink from 1993.

The Blockbuster aisles will be organized by cocktails, spirits, and beers instead of VHS tapes. Guests can choose themed drinks via movie releases from the 1990s and 2000s. There’s a weekend brunch beginning December 10, where dishes include adult Lunchables, a Blockbuster burger, and [we’re sensing a theme here] with the “please rewind” truffle fries and the “new release” flatbread and dips. Tickets will cost a bit more for the brunch, from $45 per person to $275 for a table of six.

Because of the alcohol, the Blockbuster Pop-Up Bar is 21 and over. Tickets are available on the site.

Nashville hot chicken matriarch comes to Los Angeles

On Saturday, November 12th, Andre Prince-Jeffries — the country’s matriarch of Nashville hot chicken — will be the guest of honor at Hotville Chicken. Prince-Jeffries is the owner of Nashville’s Prince’s Hot Chicken, which was founded by her grand uncle Thornton Prince III in 1945. Prince-Jeffries is also the aunt of Hotville Chicken owner/chef Kim Prince, where the festivities will include a fireside chat, cocktail hour, and a dinner collaboration with Dulan’s Soul Food and Howlin’ Ray’s. Tickets are $85 per person, so head over to Bite for a ticket.

Karaoke in the time of COVID-19

It’s a tricky time to operate karaoke in LA. The Los Angeles Times checked in with a few venues to see how they’re faring.

Free Howlin’ Ray’s in Pasadena

Over the last two days, Howlin’ Ray’s owner Johnny Ray Zone passed out free fried chicken from the new location in Pasadena. It opens next Wednesday, but he’ll be on-site today with a limited menu from noon until 2 p.m. at 800 South Arroyo Parkway.

Tamale-making kits for the holidays

Guerrilla Tacos is getting ready for the holidays with a tamale preparation kit for those wanting to try this task at home. The $85 kit can make up to 30 beef, chicken, or rajas con crema tamales that includes masa, husks, and fillings. Order on the Guerrilla Tacos site and pick them up starting on November 16.

Amiga Amore pop-up at Highland Park’s neighborhood wine bar

Amiga Amore chef Danielle Duran-Zecca is popping up at Holcomb wine bar this Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. No reservations are necessary, just head over to Highland Park for Duran-Zecca’s twist on Mexican-Italian with Holcomb’s extensive wines.