H.R. Giger’s art is among the most recognizable in existence—it’s very easy to identify something he made, and the unbelievable bar attached to the museum dedicated to his work in Gruyères, Switzerland, is no exception. Amazingly, it’s not the only one in existence—at various times four locations have been able to boast a Giger Bar, two in Switzerland (the other one is in Giger’s birthplace, the town of Chur), one in New York City, and one in Tokyo. But the ones in Switzerland are the only ones that are open today.
The New York branch was located in Peter Gatien’s legendary Limelight nightclub in the Chelsea neighborhood, but once it closed in the 1990s, the Giger Bar closed with it. The story of the ill-fated Tokyo version is even more fascinating:
A fourth Giger bar was located in Shirokanedai, Tokyo in the late 1980s. Giger dissolved his involvement with this location after facing frustrations with Japanese building codes and with the Japanese company behind the bar, which created the bar after only rough preliminary sketches. Giger had wanted private booths that functioned as individual elevators which traveled up and down the interior four stories of the design. This design was problematic given restrictions caused by earthquake resistant engineering. Giger disowned the Tokyo Giger Bar and never set foot inside. Within a few years, the establishment was out of business.
One of Giger’s sketches for the bar
The description of the bar on the museum’s website is suitably Gigerian:
The interior of the otherworldly environment that is the H.R. Giger Museum Bar is a cavernous, skeletal structure covered by double arches of vertebrae that crisscross the vaulted ceiling of an ancient castle. The sensation of being in this extraordinary setting recalls the tale of Jonah and the whale, lending the feel of being literally in the belly of a fossilized, prehistoric beast, or that you have been transported into the remains of a mutated future civilization.
The Giger Bar is open every day of the week, except that between November and March it is not open on Mondays.
Here’s a brief video in celebration of the H.R. Giger Bar’s 10th anniversary: