Pietro Nolita Exterior Shot
#The Lowdown

Best Themed Restaurants in NYC


A theme restaurant, according to Wikipedia, is an eatery where the “concept takes priority over everything else,” and is reflected in the design, menu items, music, and overall vibe.

Manhattan is home to lots of these unique concept-centric gems, from stadium-sized tourist attractions (Bubba Gump Shrimp, Planet Hollywood) to kid-centered branding machines (American Girl Cafe), from bookish (The Dead Poet) to spooky (Jekyll and Hyde), and every theme in between. Our Travel Savvy editors love finding unique restaurants of NYC, especially the clever ones. Click through for our picks of the Best Themed Restaurants in NYC.

Napkins at Pietro Nolita 1

Photo Credit: Pink As Fuck, Pietro Nolita

Pietro Nolita

174 Elizabeth Street

Monday-Wednesday 9AM-12AM; Thursday- Friday 9AM-2PM; Saturday 11AM-4:30PM, 5:30PM-2AM; Sunday 11AM-12AM


At Pietro Nolita, it’s all about the color pink, making every inch of this monochromatic eatery Instagram-worthy. The 50’s-inspired decor is meant to reflect a casual and welcoming attitude, and we we’re pretty sure that every shade of pink is represented in the tiny interior. Like all Manhattan restaurants worth its (pink Himalayan sea) salt, the food is also well-executed. Billed as ‘healthy Italian,’ patrons have praised the simple pastas and salads as well as the delicious cocktails--some of which are pink! (Hint: try the Violetta.)

Drinks at Beetle House 2

Photo Credit: Drinks at Beetle House

Beetle House

308 East 6th Street

Monday-Wednesday 4PM-12AM; Thursday-Friday 4PM-2AM; Saturday 11AM-2AM; Sunday 11AM-12PM



Ever wonder what it's like to be in Tim Burton’s head? Just how does the creator of cult classics like Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, and later on, fantasy remakes of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, come up with his quirky plots and supremely outlandish scenes?

Superfans and restaurateurs Zach Neil and Brian Link pay homage to him at their East Village Burton-themed eatery, Beetle House, where the decor and menu are all inspired by different movies from the iconic director. Enjoy dishes like ‘Sweeney Beef and The Butchers Stew’ and ‘Cheshire Mac ‘n Cheese,’ along with drinks such as ‘Alice’s Cup o’ Tea’ and the ‘Fleet Street Martini’. Los Angeles goth lovers are about to get their own Beetle House as well; Neil and Link have announced plans for a sister location in Hollywood, California, this summer.

Ninja Entrance 3

Photo Credit: Ninja


25 Hudson Street

Monday-Thursday 5:45PM-11PM; Friday- Saturday 5PM-11PM; Sunday 5PM-10PM


Once a upon a time in Japan, ninjas roamed swiftly about and lived with their stealthy brethren in remote villages. We can only assume what life was like back then, but today’s curious travelers can visit the Koka Ninja Village in Koka City, not far from Kyoto. If a ticket to Japan is too much for your average week night, then make a reservation at this unique NYC restaurant located in the chic TriBeCa neighborhood.

Patrons are seated in secret rooms that are reached via a maze (to throw your enemies off your tail!), and enjoy menu items that might come with special effects, like the Strip Steak that's served flaming. Look out for ninja magicians who move undetected until they are just behind your chair, then surprise with a hearty “Hiii-yaaaa!”  One of Manhattan’s more unusual restaurants, Ninja is perfect for families looking for a side dish of fun with dinner.

Exterior Sign at Otto's Shrunken Head 4

Photo Credit: Otto's Shrunken Head Neon Sign

Otto’s Shrunken Head

538 East 14th Street

Monday-Sunday 2PM-4AM


Step inside Otto’s Shrunken Head, the darkened tiki bar on East 14th, and be transported to Bali by way of the East Village. A perfect mix of exotic-meets-grunge-mixed-with-tacky, this NYC dive has been drawing in thirsty locals to the bamboo bar for close to 2 decades.

Order up a colorful cocktail, served in a tumbler shaped like a tiki god and garnished with a bright paper umbrella, and transported to a tropical paradise. Check the bar’s event page for happenings nightly.

Waverly Diner Outside Shot 5

Photo Credit: Waverly Diner, Photo by Alan Turkus

Waverly Diner

Open 24 hours Monday-Sunday

385 6th Avenue


If your favorite theme revolves around comfort food and retro vibes, then maybe what you want is an old-school diner. Sure, there are plenty of classic restaurants in NYC, but one of our favorites is Waverly Diner, at the corner of 6th Avenue and Waverly Place.

This unassuming NYC mainstay has been serving locals for 30+ years on a 24/7 schedule. A full renovation in 2011 made the dining area slightly bigger, but you’ll still find all the trappings of a neighborhood diner--including dimpled vinyl booths, formica tables, a counter with round, backless stools, and a display case filled with delicious cakes and pies. Someone in our party always orders the eggs, because they’re delivered to the table in a beat-up skillet atop a wooden block.


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