An Official Batman Restaurant Is Opening This Year (But It's Not in Gotham)
Last October, an Instagram account for something called Park Row London quietly posted nine images that just spelled out the words 'PARK ROW' in an all-caps art deco font. There were no captions, no hashtags, and no explanation for what it was or what it meant.
That was the account's only activity until yesterday, when it added another six images which, when combined, showed a well-appointed restaurant space, with what looked like an ice sculpture of a penguin in the center of a circular bar. "The Iceberg Lounge," it wrote, adding a shoutout to the official DC Comics Instagram account, and a hashtag for #ThePenguin.
If that makes you think about Batman movies, then you'd be on the right track: those pics are the first images from Park Row, an "immersive DC Comics restaurant experience" that is reportedly opening in London later this year.
"The restaurant will be rooted within the DC Multiverse, taking visitors on a culinary adventure through the many fictional Universes famous for their superhero residents such as Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman," a design and access statement for the restaurant obtained by Eater London says. "[I]t has the intention to invite guests to experience the DC Universe without breaking the fourth wall—the imaginary wall that separates the audience from the performance."
According to Big Hospitality, the 18,000 square foot, 330-seat venue will include three bars and five restaurants, including that just-revealed Iceberg Lounge, an homage to Batman's flightless nemesis; the British-themed Pennyworth's, named for his loyal English butler; an omakase restaurant inspired by sometime-Joker-sidekick Harley Quinn; and a "villainous speakeasy" called Old Gotham City.
The massive facility is also expected to house The Monarch Theatre, a £120 ($155)-per-person fine dining establishment that promises "a multi-sensory tasting menu" and "projection mapping technology said to explore the psychology of heroism through food." (And here's where we note that the Monarch Theatre was the name of the cinema where Bruce Wayne's parents spent their last hours alive; they were both killed after leaving the theatre, and there's clearly nothing that says 'casual elegance' like reminders of a double murder and an orphaned child. Anyway…)
Park Row is the debut concept from Wonderland Restaurants, whose team includes Mike Bagale, the former executive chef at Chicago's three-Michelin-starred Alinea; Mark Garston, the former head of central development for Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck Group; and "mind-reader and mentalist magician" Chris Cox. The group's executive chef is Cláudio Cardoso, the former executive chef at SUSHISAMBA.
"We are delighted to partner with Warner Bros to create their first immersive, DC-inspired gastronomic restaurant experience found anywhere in the world," Wonderland Restaurants' founder and chief creative officer James Bulmer said in a statement. "This is a project many years in the making, with every detail carefully thought out to deliver a unique experience for our guests.
"Trends in our sector are moving towards fun, immersive and experiential dining, and our aim is to demonstrate this on a grand scale, with exceptional food and drink to match."
Park Row's opening date has not yet been announced, but it did use the hashtags #newopening and #spring on its big Instagram reveal. Any amateur superheroes (or villains) might want to go ahead and have their capes and costumes cleaned, but it might be too soon to put them in a suitcase.