Barbie World is Chicago with pop-up events promoting movie premiere

At brunch spots, art studios, libraries and tea rooms, Barbie mania is taking over this weekend to coincide with the film’s debut.

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A woman leads a group of girls to the outdoor area of the Malibu Barbie Cafe pop-up in the West-Loop on June 8.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Barbies come in all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds.

Take Wrinkle for instance. She’s 212 years old, a Virgo, and also a duck.

“She’s a Barbie duck,” said her owner.

Wrinkle and her owner made an appearance at the Malibu Barbie Cafe pop-up in Chicago Wednesday while in town for PetCon, a pet influencer convention this weekend.

Wrinkle, a New York native, is one of many traveling across Chicago in pink-hued anticipation as the city becomes an enchanting playground for Barbie enthusiasts of all ages — and species.


Wrinkle and her owner at the Malibu Barbie Cafe in Chicago Wednesday.

Jacquelyne Germain/Sun-Times

As the Friday release of the highly anticipated “Barbie” movie draws near, venues across the city are preparing to host events geared to transport Barbie fans into a world of glamour and imagination.

Fueled by the vision of director Greta Gerwig, the “Barbie” movie has a star-studded cast, with Margot Robbie starring as Barbie and Ryan Gosling playing Ken. The film also features Will Ferrell, Michael Cera, Issa Rae and America Ferrera as well as a soundtrack with music from Nicki Minaj, Ice Spice, Lizzo, Dua Lipa and more.

From trendy art studios to chic brunch spots and even libraries, many corners of Chicago are eagerly embracing the spirit of Barbie.

‘Barbie’ movie-themed events in Chicago

Barbie Paint and Sip: Presented by Painted Faces and hosted by Chicago drag queen Essence, this drag paint and sip allows attendees to express their artsy side. The event will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pinot’s Palette art studio, 2768 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets for just the drag show cost $10, and tickets for the drag show and painting experience, with all art materials included, cost $35. The event is open to those 18 and older and will feature drag performances by Ramona Slick, Ava V Marie, Sally Marvel and more. “We’re just celebrating the diversity of ‘Barbie’ and our love for it,” Essence said of the movie featuring a transgender Barbie and various Barbies and Kens of color. “It’s going to be a pink-out event tomorrow.” Guests participating in the painting experience will be guided by a team of local artists to create a featured Barbie-themed painting. Guests are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before the event starts to buy drinks at the bar and settle in. Visit for more information.

Barbie Drag Brunch: For those who want bottomless mimosas and a pre-show before heading to the theater on Saturday, Joy District, 112 W. Hubbard St., is hosting a Barbie drag brunch featuring Chicago drag queens Khloe Daniels and DJ Martin on Saturday at 11 a.m. The 21-and-over event has ticket prices ranging from $60 to $100, depending on drink and entree options. Visit for more details.

Vintage Barbie Drag and Fashion Show: Vintage Frills, 2846 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Logan Square, is hosting a fashion and drag show starring drag queens Morning Wood and Starr Stallion. The Sunday event begins at 3 p.m. and is open to all ages and will feature Barbie-themed items for sale, including clothing, vintage dolls and decor. General admission tickets are sold out, but VIP tickets with perks like a “Barbie” movie poster and unlimited drinks, available to those 21 and older, are still available for $20. Visit for more information.

Barbie and Ken Club at Oak Park library: Oak Park’s Main Library, 834 Lake St., is hosting a Barbie and Ken Club at 10 a.m. Friday. Though the club is a monthly event that preceded the “Barbie” movie, the club offers children a wide assortment of Barbie and Ken dolls, as well as shoes, accessories, clothes and even a dream house to play with in the library’s playroom. “I think it’s serendipitous that it’s happening around the movie rollout,” Jennifer Norborg, manager of children’s services, said of this month’s Barbie and Ken Club. The event is free and open to all ages, but it primarily caters to those in preschool and early elementary school. Those interested are encouraged to register online, but everyone is welcome to just drop by, Norborg said. Visit for more details.

Barbie Piano Show: The Original Mother’s piano bar, 26 W. Division St., is hosting a Barbie-themed piano night Saturday starting at 8 p.m. Guests are encouraged to dress in Barbie-themed apparel and come with popular Barbie anthems in mind to request the musicians to play. The 21-plus event will feature a happy hour from 8 to 10 p.m. with $5 shots and $30 beer buckets. Entry to the event is free, and tickets are not necessary, but guests are encouraged to make reservations. Visit for more information.

Barbie Trivia: For those wanting to keep the Barbie momentum going after the weekend, Eli Tea Bar, 5507 N. Clark St., is hosting a Barbie Trivia night Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Questions will focus on the new movie, Barbie history, Barbie music and more. The event is free, but attendees are responsible for buying their own food and drinks at the tearoom. Trivia groups are limited to four people maximum, and interested attendees should try to arrive about an hour before the event for on-site registration before the bar fills up. Visit for more information.


The outdoor area of the Malibu Barbie Cafe pop-up in the West Loop.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Malibu Barbie Cafe: Though the Malibu Barbie Cafe pop-up in Chicago is booked for the rest of the month and has no reservations available until early August, the cafe, which opened in early June, will remain open through Oct. 15. The cafe, at 324 S. Racine in the West Loop, channels the 1970s California beach vibe behind the 1971 Malibu Barbie doll. The menu includes all-day brunch, burgers, fries, shakes, desserts and cocktails. Tickets for time-stamped, 90-minute reservations are $34-$44 for adults, $17-$25 for children, and include one entree and a side item. Visit for more details.

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