Weiss Distilling Co. transforms into Halloween haven with special menu, spooky decor

Halloweiss Takeover lasts through October in Downtown Clawson

Weiss Distilling Co. celebrates Halloween with decorated space, spooky menu in Halloweiss Takeover (Weiss Distilling Co.)

CLAWSON, Mich. – You enter the small lobby -- it’s bare, save for the sole person in the corner of the room waiting to greet you. They lead you to a large, single elevator door that opens, inviting you in. Before you can feel yourself lift or sink, the door on the other side of the elevator slides out of view, revealing a moody bar room that tempts you forward.

What once was the newest, most enchanting speakeasy in Downtown Clawson has transformed into something new -- at least, just for the time being.

Weiss Distilling Co. is doubling down on its vampy aesthetic by transforming its space and menu for the month of October with what they call the Halloweiss Takeover. The Halloween-inspired makeover is a spooky passion project for the staff, and a cheeky invitation to the community to celebrate the season in Weiss’ unique way.

The space

The tasting room at Weiss is already well-situated to take on a Halloween mutation. The space is dimly-lit and styled with darker furniture and fabrics -- yet it’s also energized by a giant neon orange wall of liquor shelves squared centrally behind the bar. The feel of the room is cool and unexpected, yet still warm and welcoming.

So, when I heard the space was getting decorated for Halloween, I knew they’d do it well (and wouldn’t have to do too much at all, really). Weiss certainly delivered, and did not overdo it.

There are fun, gimmicky decorations throughout, like creepy creatures, collections of skulls, hands coming out of the walls. But the space maintained its mature atmosphere with intriguing lighting and -- the best part, in my opinion -- beautiful floral arrangements draped from the ceiling.

For those who prefer a bit more of a traditional Halloween vibe, the outside of the building is appropriately guarded by two of those 12-foot skeletons with the lifelike eyes and some pumpkins.

The exterior of Weiss Distilling Co.'s tasting room in Downtown Clawson. (Cassidy Johncox/WDIV)

The drinks

Though it’s only been open for nine months, Weiss has easily become one of my favorite speakeasy-style bars in the Metro Detroit area -- and I’ve only gone a few times. Their craft cocktail menu is incredible, and the bar staff execute to perfection.

Their October-only Halloween drink menu is no exception.

I was lucky to sample their Halloweiss menu before it launched, and everything I tasted was delicious.

Spooky cocktails and their glasses part of Weiss Distilling Co.'s Halloweiss Takeover (Weiss Distilling Co.)

The menu is organized by liquor type, and seems to offer a little something for everyone: There are fruity cocktails, bitter ones, rich flavors, savory flavors, you name it. I tried several drinks from each category, and though I’m primarily a gin fan myself, I was excited about each and every one.

Here were a few of my favorites (you can check out the full Halloweiss menu at the bottom of the article):

  • Queen Grimhilde: An apple brandy cocktail that’s perfectly sweet
  • Ichabod: An absinthe cocktail that’s earthy, boozy and delicious
  • The Antidote: A new take on the Bloody Mary; more acidic yet more drinkable, and done in a martini style
  • Just Chai It: An incredible warm rum drink with all your favorite fall flavors
  • Razzberry Warhead: A shot that tastes exactly like what it’s named for

I also tried their bleu cheese gin, which is featured in a savory cocktail ... and though it sounds strange, even that tasted great. The glasses they serve the drinks in -- giant tiki mugs, clear skull-shaped tumblers -- are just as fun as the drinks themselves.

Spooky cocktails and their glasses part of Weiss Distilling Co.'s Halloweiss Takeover (Weiss Distilling Co.)

I couldn’t possibly taste every Halloweiss drink (there are like 30), but if the rest are anything close to what I did try, they certainly won’t disappoint. There are also a few non-alcoholic drink options that I’m sure are just as good.

The Halloweiss Takeover menu is a collaborative effort on behalf of the staff, with four of them pitching their ideas for unique, themed drinks. All four bar staff have their concoctions featured on the menu.

Speaking of the staff ...

The people

I’m a craft cocktail lover to the highest degree, so Weiss hooked me in as soon as they opened. But it’s not just their pours that make visiting so great.

The staff at Weiss are some of the kindest people you will ever meet. I was lucky to be served this week by bar manager Lucy Bondy, who always went the extra mile to answer any questions I had and ensure my experience was enjoyable. (She was also fun to talk to and had lots of knowledge about the drinks, their ingredients and their unique names.)

But that didn’t stop everyone else from behind the bar from checking in, saying hi and make sure I was satisfied. The experience was more than pleasant.

Bondy says the staff at Weiss is quite small, actually: There are only eight people running the tasting room, and only four working behind the bar. The group is tight-knit, and their work environment is extremely collaborative.

The team had nothing but positive things to say about one another and about their leadership, especially owner Dennis Weiss. The team also focused on supporting small local businesses to carry out the takeover event, deploying Detroit Vinyl Wraps to do the event signs, and Graham Stanton to create the overhead floral arrangements.

The energy in the room was so friendly, largely due to the staff’s attitude and their clear affection for the community. A true cherry on top.

The bottom line

If you enjoy craft cocktails, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy Weiss. And their Halloween menu is fun, somewhat silly and unique.

If you’re new to craft cocktails in general, Weiss would be a cool spot to start: The staff are friendly and smart and can help you navigate the menu and find something you’ll like.

Though Metro Detroit is home to a number of fantastic speakeasy-style bars, I don’t know that any are doing “spooky” quite like Weiss.

Visit Weiss’ website here for more information.

Their Halloweiss Takeover menu can be found below.

Weiss Distilling Co.'s "Halloweiss Takeover" menu for the month of October 2022. (Weiss Distilling Co.)

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.