Most people stop believing in fairies by the time they’re old enough to legally drink. But after an evening knocking back a few at the Peter Pan-themed pop-up bar dubbed Neverland, you might just be ready to indulge in your childhood fantasies once again.
The “immersive” cocktail experience does not require any celestial navigation to find though you might have to adjust your GPS settings slightly to the right. It’s tucked next door to the SoMa sports bar Trademark. And while the same, somewhat mysterious promotion company behind 2020’s too-good-to-be-true “Floating Boat Cinema” is also behind this pop-up, the Neverland experience appears to be the real deal.
Several unflattering stories have been written about the Hidden Media Network—the promotion company behind the Neverland pop-up. The outfit, which is apparently based in Australia, has changed its name and overhauled its online identity multiple times in recent years and has also drawn scrutiny for advertising events that never happen. And that is to say nothing of whether they actually have secured the intellectual property rights to host events based on famed children's novels.
Nevertheless, The Standard staff has seen Neverland with our own eyes and obtained photographic evidence. Plus, it’s been a rough couple of years, so we wouldn’t blame you if you went searching for a little bit of alcohol-assisted escapism. (Tickets may seem steep at $45, but three drinks plus a show just might make it worth your while.)
Greeted by real humans dressed in pirate garb—or Peter Pan “in the flesh”—attendees are welcomed aboard Captain Hook’s “Jolly Roger” ship to play games and imbibe for 90 minutes. Choose from beer or wine to start off the night—though you’ll get a heftier pour if you choose beer with the bonus of it being served up in a skull-shaped glass. But you’ll have to work for your next two drinks as part of Captain Hook’s crew.
Round two requires cashing in three gold doubloons at the bar, which you’ll win by trying your hand at three games, including a ring toss, archery and throwing bean bags at a pyramid of bottles. Or you could sword fight against Peter Pan. (What’s a pirate bar without a bit of a brawl?)
Just like the bad old days, you will be rewarded for your labor with a ration of rum—in this case, a “painkiller” of spiked pineapple juice, coconut cream and OJ, served in a glass barrel with enough for two heavy pours or four light ones for you and your matey. Round three requires you to step into hero mode to save Pan’s pixie companion, Tinkerbell, and drink for a good cause. To avoid spoilers, let’s just say you have to find a special hidden elixir to revive the waning fairy and mix things up!
The resulting purplish potion may light Tink up and you as well.
Neverland: An Immersive Peter Pan-Inspired Bar is a 90-minute experience next door to 1123 Folsom St. Tickets are $45.
Christina Campodonico can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org