Freak out! Plan a party at Coney’s ‘Sideshow’

Freak out! Plan a party at Coney’s ‘Sideshow’
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Talk about getting your freak on!

The century-old building that’s home to Coney Island’s freak show, burlesque performers and honky-tonk memorabilia museum, can now be booked for birthday bashes, wedding receptions and other private parties.

“We’ll sometimes have an engagement party and Sweet 16 party in the same day,” said manager Patrick Wall.

That rentable spaces include the Freak Bar, with its booze and burlesque dancers; the Sideshow Theater, with its snake charmers, fire eaters and sword swallowers; and Coney Island Museum, which was already used as a lounge for actors during the filming of Spike Lee’s 1998 classic “He Got Game” and as a set for superfreak Gene Simmons for his TV show “Gene Simmons’s Family Jewels.”

But big-spenders can also book the whole building for a wild 200-plus person fiesta.

“There’s no restrictions here,” said event coordinator Terance Coffee. “Your parties can be outside-the-box.”

But the building, most famous for being the home to the sideshows, isn’t alone when it comes time to book a party by the ocean.

Gargiulo’s, the 100-year-old Italian-American restaurant on W. 15th Street, has been around so long, it’s hosted weddings and 50th wedding anniversaries — for the same couples!

The buttoned-up restaurant has no freaks (even the octopus on the ceiling has been gone for years), but it features things the freak show doesn’t, like beautiful chandeliers, ceiling-high arched windows, and a sunroof. There is a cocktail room and a catering hall, both of which serve a menu that would make Vito Corleone’s mouth water: veal marsala, baked clams, penne marinara and other classics.

“Our food is our reputation,” said Gargiulo’s owner Nino Russo, who pointed out that the two venues won’t be going after the same demographic. “Our clientele has a different mindset here.”

But that doesn’t mean the freaks can’t give Gargiulo’s a run for its money — especially when it comes to customer service.

“We pride ourselves on being just as personable with customers, if not more so, than any other place,” Wall said.