The place where UFOs, David Lynch and live music meet and mingle to create an experience like no other.
Nestled in a shopping center, trying to hide on the fringe of society, is a hotspot for weird yet intriguing performances. From the outside, the only inkling of an unconventional time are the occasional collection of 1970s restored cafe racer motorcycles bathing in the light of the glowing neon bar lights and a big red tattoo font sign reading Oddity Bar. When you step into the establishment, you’re instantly transported to a strange and exciting place like no other in the Wilmington area. There is almost a feeling of sideshow freakiness with the dim lighting, the checkered floor, and taxidermy animals on the walls. The bartenders are always fast and friendly as they serve up any of their 100 different kinds of beer and spirits from the fully-stocked bar for the night’s festivities. From Tuesday to Saturday there can be anything to tantalize you from drag shows, oddball bingo, Cards Against Humanity, and this Halloween season they have even more spooky festivities, including their 6th Annual Halloween Extravaganza.
I chatted with Pat McCutcheon and Andrea McCauley about the bar’s history and their obsession with creating the strangest, coolest bar in the area…
How did Oddity Bar come to be?
Pat McCutcheon: After years of tattooing, I wanted to do something different but still be involved in arts and culture in Wilmington. Andrea was also at a turning point in her career as a research librarian. She was involved in the punk rock/alternative music scene in Delaware since the 1980s so we thought a bar that featured art and music could be a great new venture for both of us. Then we heard that the bar at this location was for sale, so it was just perfect timing.”
What’s the inspiration for the look and feel of Oddity Bar?
Andrea McCauley: Pat and I wanted to create a place that was a bit edgy and different from existing bars in Delaware — but still welcoming — where people could feel comfortable. We also wanted to reflect our love of the unexplained and unusual, so the theme and the name of the bar were inspired by our interest in UFOs, astrology, mythical creatures, the supernatural, and things like that. I’m also a huge fan of David Lynch so there’s some of his influence in the mix.
Where do you get all your cool and strange decor all around the bar and on the walls?
Pat: A lot of the artwork is from my personal collection that I gathered over the years, and from friends who are local artists. We host a monthly art show, Oddball Art Hall, so we’re always collecting cool stuff. Andrea found the taxidermy jackalope and the racoon eating Cracker Jacks from online sites. The deer head behind the stage was given to us by Dave Sanchez of Spaceboy Clothing after he saved it from someone putting it in the trash! Now, the deer’s name is Wallace and he’s become an iconic symbol of Oddity Bar.
Does Halloween have any special significance or meaning to the bar?
Andrea: Halloween is a time when it’s acceptable to step out of the norm and people feel more free to express themselves, so in that sense I think that reflects what we try to cultivate at Oddity Bar. It’s like that Ministry song, “(Every Day Is) Halloween.” That was like my theme song when I was a punk/goth teenager trapped in lower Delaware in the 1980s and I was constantly harassed for just being myself. And on a lighter note, I love horror movies which inspired a lot of the decor in the bar.
On October 18th, a special Halloween edition of Oddball Art Hall INvades, as always, hosted by local artists Kristen Margiotta and Pat Higgins. You’ll be able to grab some drinks, mingle with all the creepy crawly artists, and grab spooky swag like original artwork, prints, vinyl stickers, jewelry and so much more. Check out Oddball Art Hall on Facebook for updates.
October 25th is a night of punk rock ’n roll, hosted by Algy Siouxicide (Vincent Kilpatrick), with Negative Zeros, The Erotics (NY), Candy Cigare77es (Philly), and The Prisoners (Philly). The show begins at 9 PM with a $5 cover. There will be a costume contest with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
On Halloween, Thursday, October 31st, it’s a night of rockabilly with The Bullets at the Hellbilly Halloween Party! There will be a Ghoulish Gal Pin-Up Contest with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for the best horror-themed pin-up costumes. The event, which begins at 9 PM and has a $5 cover, will feature drink specials and more.
Oddity Bar’s 6th Annual Halloween Show will be held on Friday, November 1st at 9 PM with a $5 cover. Each year, some of our favorite local acts dress up and perform songs by some of their fave acts. The bands booked include: MEGA-Man (featuring members of MEGA and Mothman Properties), The Psychedelic Puppets, Reverse Giraffe, The Bomb Shelter Dropouts and Reverse Giraffe. The bands are planning on doing songs by The Roots, Smashing Pumpkins and System of a Down (plus more TBD as it’s still unclear as far as which local bands will be covering which artists). There will be a costume contest with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Local musician Russell Kutys has helped put together and has performed in this event since its creation. I asked him what this yearly celebration means to him.
Russell: Halloween is an opportunity for us as musicians to put on a musical costume. We normally spend most of our time working on our original songs, and it’s fun the few times a year that we get to go up there and do something different, while still staying true to what we normally do.