Come for The Walking Dead, stay for the drinks, zombie swag and unabashedly nerdy karaoke. So might go the unofficial tagline for Sunday nights at the End.
The zombie apocalypse-themed dive located off Spring Mountain Road and Decatur Boulevard has been hosting viewing parties for the hit AMC series since its mid-season premiere last month, though the bar is forbidden, Lord Voldemort-style, from referring to the show by name after receiving a cease-and-desist notice from the network. They’ve since opted for the cheekier “#1 Zombie Drama on TV Viewing Party,” and have even spun it into a name-our-party contest.
“In a way, I guess it’s a compliment,” owner Kristy Kaos says. “We’ve sort of capitalized on it. It promoted the sh*t out of this thing!”
He’s not kidding. The show’s rabid fans have been turning out in, ahem, hordes, averaging about 250 people per night to debate plot twists, sing some “scary-oke” and down themed drink specials like the Twinkie-topped Apocalypse.
Local design and marketing outfit Fat Beard Studios, which presents the event, recruits local artists and retailers for what Kaos calls a “zombie swap meet” of prints, comics, handmade jewelry, T-shirts, action figures and more. Meanwhile, costumed cast members from Planet Hollywood’s Evil Dead: The Musical serve as hosts and resident icebreakers, roaming the bar, offering photo ops and emceeing zombie trivia (with some not-too-shabby prizes).
Not that the crowd needs much help starting the conversation. The show, like an ex you just can’t quit, remains so simultaneously addictive and disappointing that a watch party doubles as a group therapy session for fans. Air a grievance, and you’re one of us.
Zombie dramas aside, the bar holds its own milieu. However niche or hokey a themed dive like the End may seem, it’s always sure to draw interesting company, from cosplayers to pinups to curious tourists who saw the joint in an episode of Bar Rescue last year.
Though last week’s undead fête saw a low turnout due to a scheduling change, those who showed up were determined to embrace the awkwardness and have a good time. It’s not often you see grown men belting The Lonely Island and Tenacious D karaoke to a mostly empty room, let alone the small crowd of strangers cheering and singing along. Whether or not zombies are your thing, the bar’s a worthy reminder of a certain post-apocalyptic ethos: In the end, we’re all in it together.
#1 Zombie Drama on TV Viewing Party Sundays through March 30, 7 p.m. (with episode screenings at 8 & 10:30 p.m.), free. The End, 4821 Spring Mountain Rd., 907-0363.