Beware the Moon, Lads: The Slaughtered Lamb Pub

We're looking back at some of the entries of The New York Grimpendium with unpublished photos and adapted accounts of my visits to these macabre oddities. Pick up the book today!

January 30, 2018 — Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Two American backpackers walk into a pub in northern England, get scared away by the locals, and are then mauled by a werewolf. That’s right. The John Landis’s 1981 horror comedy, An American Werewolf in London.

So what’s a London movie doing in a New York article?

In the first scene of the movie, the two young men stumble across a pub called the Slaughtered Lamb after a cold day of roaming the moors and hitching rides on sheep wagons. The sign for the establishment is illustrated with what looks like the severed head of a wolf on a pike.

“What kind of ad is that for a pub?” one of the travelers asks.

I had the same moment, but in Greenwich Village. Just replace “moors” with “brownstones” and “sheep wagons” with “cabs.” See, at 182 West 4th Street is a real-life pub called the Slaughtered Lamb, ostensibly inspired by the pub from the Landis movie.

That’s right. It’s a werewolf pub.

Outside, the pub bears a sign with a wolf’s head as well, albeit a less gory one than its namesake. However, the pub makes up for it by adorning its exterior with three or four full-sized skeletons scattered across its blue awning.

In the movie, the pub was a warm oasis full of men in wool caps and tweed jackets throwing darts, telling jokes, and just generally being the quintessential country English pub.

Inside the Manhattan version, it had all the requisites for a cozy pub…just missing the people, tweed-clad or not. The only other person I saw was the bartender. That’s my fault, though, since I stumbled in during the early afternoon from my day of riding sheep wagons. My drinking clock runs a little fast, I guess.

From the small bar area, you’d never know it was werewolf-themed. My disappointment only went as far as my first gin and tonic, though. Because as my eyes adjusted to the dim interior, I saw in the corner a barred door through which could be seen a staircase leading down into what a bloody sign in the shape of a guillotine labeled “the Dungeon.” The staircase was decorated with what I assume to be a Health Department-approved skeletal corpse hanging from the wall.

After conversing with the bartender, I learned it was the game room, which they opened later in the evening and that nothing much of the monstrous was down there. I asked her if there was anything to validate the name of the pub, and she told me, “Not so much,” but vaguely gestured to the dining area, which was in an adjoining room behind the bar.

I walked around to that area and started seeing the theme. A portrait of a werewolf in dapper clothes above a mantelpiece, restrooms adorned with his and her decapitated heads, an ad for Full Moon Ale that implored drinkers to “Wolf it down!”, and a pair of clothed skeletons sitting in a booth under a Plexiglas-covered metal cage. The only testament to the actual An American Werewolf in London besides the name of the establishment was a framed movie poster.

But then I saw it. If this was a romance story it’d be the person I fall in love with. A horror story, the monster I flee from. In this story, it’s the monster I fall in love with. In another display case, this one without the bars, and set on a rotating pedestal, was a full-sized werewolf sinking its teeth into the neck of a buxom female victim.

The werewolf was gray, of the humanoid sort, and seemingly not based on American Werewolf’s quadruped lycanthrope. The victim, who was held in front of the werewolf, had long, blond hair and a lacy, sheer dress. A thin line of blood dribbled from the werewolf’s maw down her neck and chest.

The pose of the two was much more of a vampire and victim than a werewolf and victim, but people have to eat bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie around it, so they probably couldn’t really depict a full-out bestial feast-orgy. Health Department, again.

“Not so much,” indeed. For some reason, the bartender completely undersold the fact that they have a large werewolf eating a woman on the premises. I probably should have tried to get her to unlock the basement for me. “Nothing much” probably meant Uzi-wielding Nazi mutants.

This fascinating macabre site and some 250 more can be found in the dark depths of The New York Grimpendium. Buy it today.