Brew at the Zoo: Halloween at the Bronx Zoo

You’re waiting on a crowded subway platform.  The MTA has announced service interruptions.  You’ve read the notices, and you’re pretty sure you know where you’re going.  So you wait.  And wait some more.  You peer down at your phone.  And pace.  Until rage begins to snake its way through your veins like morphine through an IV.  Twenty minutes passes, and you can feel that flicker of madness barreling toward you down the dark tunnel of your mind, when, finally, a train arrives.  Slowly, in a drunk’s lurching, stumbling, stagger, it draws to a screeching stop at the platform. The cars are packed, tight as sardines, a mass of arms and heads and hands.

You realize there is no room in the car in front of you.  The idea of waiting an unknown period of time for another train — with no promise of a better situation — sends you into a panic. In a frenzy, you run along the row of cars, searching for one with just enough room for you and your companion to fill a space.  You see it, and charge through the door just as it closes.  And in less than a second, the nauseating odor hits you.  Cue the music, then fade to black.  

“The Empty Car at the End of the Train” is just one of the many real-life horror movies New Yorkers can find themselves in.  (“Rent Hike” is another one.)  So what do people do in a city where scary stuff is a way of life?  They adopt Halloween as their holiday and celebrate the heck out of it.  We were scrolling through the endless list of parties and events around town when we stumbled across Brew at the Zoo.

Brew at the Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCBrew at the Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCBrew at the Zoo - Mad Hatters NYC

Brew at the Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCBrew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCNot to be confused with Boo at the Zoo which runs on weekends in October, Brew at the Zoo was the first-ever adults-only Halloween celebration at the Bronx Zoo.  Included in the ticket was a 5 oz. commemorative beer mug which gave you access to unlimited beer samplings from over 40 different breweries.  Food trucks were on hand to make sure you had something in your tummy to soak up all the alcohol.  There was music, a photo booth, and a costume contest.  And best of all, some of the zoo exhibits were open.  

The weather for the outdoor event couldn’t have been more perfect.  We had another unseasonably warm evening, so we were able to comfortably perch on benches around the zoo as we noshed on our lobster rolls from Luke’s Lobster.  Luke’s was in good company: among the other food vendors was Coney Shack, who was the Rookie of the Year Vendy Award winner last year.  They offer Southeast Asian-style tacos and hot dogs, and our trio of tacos were excellent.  We were also pleased to find Arthur Avenue represented.  Greco’s, whose owner notoriously won a Throwdown! With Bobby Flay, set up shop to serve subs and pizzas.  (The pizza oven was located in the back of a van.  Camping will never be the same again.)  There was also an indoor VIP Glow-In-The-Dark party, which might have been a good investment had the weather not cooperated.

Brew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCBrew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCBrew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCBrew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCBrew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCBrew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYCYou couldn’t really beat watching lemurs hop around, or catching the adorable Fossa wide awake, but Brew at the Zoo was not without its challenges.  Most of the night was spent in line for a very small amount of beer.  (Perhaps this was a carefully orchestrated failsafe on the organizer’s part.)  And the long waits for the food vendors suggested they could have had a few more of those as well.  As with any event where people are dressed up and getting their drink on, things got a little more rowdy as the evening went on.  But overall, the beautiful grounds at the Bronx Zoo provided a fun Halloween evening for food lovers, beer lovers, animal lovers and any combination thereof.

Brew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYC
Leaping lemurs!
Brew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYC
The wide-awake Fossa, which is related to the mongoose family but has a cat-like resemblance

Frankly, the only scary thing about Brew at the Zoo was the awful 90s cover music.  Oh, and maybe this guy:

Brew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYC

We hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Halloween!  We’d love to hear what you did and/or who you went as.  You can find us on Instagram, G+ and FB – or you can just send us an email.  Thanks for reading!

Brew at the Bronx Zoo - Mad Hatters NYC

– L. & J.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Azlin Bloor

Sounds like at awesome night, starting with that beer sampling! You guys look great, very scary! My favourite is that pizza oven in the back of the van – geez!


Me too – the pizza oven in the van – priceless! We ache for the kind of Italian food you get on Arthur Avenue, or Staten Island. Great description of the subway experience, and excellent photos – not so easy under those conditions.