For years, Victorian's Midnight Cafe was a trusted neighborhood joint - the kind of comfy place where you could grab a few beers, support a buddy during his open-mic debut or enjoy a healthful bite before hitting the town.
So what should you expect at The Shrunken Head, a new concept the owners recently unveiled?
Nothing scary, that's for sure.
For the most part, the Vic's vibe remains unchanged, despite being renamed for a Central American animist practice that involved removing a man's skull and boiling the remains in tannins.
"The owner really likes rockabilly and stuff like that," general manager Scott Creighton said. "He also has a soft spot for voodoo and Caribbean stuff."
An affinity for the exotic shows up most clearly in a new look complete with neon zombie paintings, flame decals and a giant green logo of a shrunken head. More rockabilly acts will pepper the eclectic live-music lineup, and local upright-twangers Vegas 66 and Hells Fire Sinners are booked for regular gigs.
Most importantly, the crumbling tiki bar out back will get a facelift when the weather warms. This should be welcome in a city with almost no authentic grass-hut imbibing experiences.
Elsewhere, the bar still bears a delightfully bohemian feel and an unassuming neighborhood quaintness. I can't think of a better place to kill a breezy afternoon drinking cold ones and tapping along to the blues.
The menu's also staying put, offering sandwiches, salads, appetizers and schnitzels prepared with organic, locally produced ingredients. Veggie burgers are one specialty, and the delicious Veg Halen ($7.50) came with house-made barbecue sauce and grilled onions.
Behind the bar, things have only improved. In addition to stocking 70 bottles and five drafts, The Shrunken Head has whiskey, rum and gin from Rogue, makers of Dead Guy Ale and other hoppy favorites.
The Shrunken Head stocks more than 70 types of bottled beer, from $2.50 domestics to $7.50 crafts. Staff rotates in new selections on the regular to keep things fresh. Here are 10 top labels.
Bell's Third Coast Beer
Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Elevator Bleeding Buckeye Red Ale
Elevator Dark Horse Lager
St. Pauli Girl Lager
Troegs HopBack Amber Ale
Troegs Nugget Nectar
Unibroue La Fin du Monde