Starling and the Wizard’s Cup

In which your nerdy showgirl apparates to Henderson’s Harry Potter-themed Bad Owl Coffee

I’ve already talked a lot about Doctor Who, Star Wars, Harley Quinn and some hip-hop musical that seems to be doing the rounds, but there’s a fandom that we haven’t touched on yet. One with which I’m currently deeply enthralled. I’m talking about the youngest seeker in a century, the Chosen One, The Boy Who Lived—Harry Potter, of course, and the wonderful world he inhabits.

I’m of the generation that grew up with Harry. I felt his growing pains, stood in line for his new books and holed myself up to read them in one go to avoid hearing spoilers. I’m also one of those who refused to grow out of Harry. I still read books 3-7 at least once a year, and the first two every couple of years as well. I find myself quoting (or at least thinking about) the books or movies almost every day. In fact, I hazily remember cornering someone at Burning Man and giving a lengthy impassioned speech about something Harry Pottery, but for some reason, the particulars of that speech escape me now. Ahem.

Oh, yes: I also have a Deathly Hallows tattoo on the back of my neck, and once corrected one of the actors on his own line from The Prisoner of Azkaban. (No, I’m not telling you who. But I will say he was brilliant, and highly amused by my pedantry and high-beaming blush after I failed to keep my damn mouth shut.) I believe my fandom to be pretty fucking legit, thank you very much.

Now, the less we say about me not having been to the Universal Studios Hollywood’s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction dressed as Rita Skeeter, the better. Instead, let’s take a trip to Henderson’s own Bad Owl Coffee—home of the Butter Brew Latte, tables emblazoned with Potter quotes … and, oddly (but adorably) enough, a TARDIS.

Bad Owl seems to have an almost constant Accio charm on its customers. The morning and early evening rushes are still seeing lines out of the door, a good couple of months after opening day. My first visit brought with it a 25-minute wait (worth it), and a wish for a Room of Requirement filled with more tables. Their popularity has been a blessing and a curse; this is, after all, a small business, and there were some complaints recently about the Butter Brew being temporarily unavailable due to the syrup supply running out. (To the complainers … Go get kicked by a Hippogriff. All new ventures are prone to growing pains, and the Butter Brew Latte, now back on the menu full time, is absolutely worth making a second trip.)

My second visit was wisely timed for midafternoon. I flew straight in, got my Lavender Latte (this one’s for you, Lavender Brown), and sat at my “I Must Not Tell Lies” table faster than a Firebolt. Two drinks into this menu and I’m still happy. I’ve yet to try the food, but the “Siriusly Prosciutto” sandwich with fig butter and goat’s cheese has got my favorite Marauder’s name all over it. Oh, what a pity. I’m going to have to visit again soon.

My final recommendation is that you have a chat with the staffers, all of whom took the Pottermore quiz to find out their Hogwarts houses before starting work. Amber, my Hallows tattoo twin, is a Gryffindor, and the lovely Chris is a Slytherin. (Yes! Slytherins unite! I always self-identified as a Ravenclaw, but the Pottermore Sorting Hat spoke and I’m not going to argue with it. Besides: Lin-Manuel Miranda is also a Slytherin. Here’s to a richer, more diverse Potterverse in which Slytherins can, in fact, be good people.)

So, Bad Owl serves excellent coffee in a fandom paradise. Sold. Also, they’ve provided an excuse for me to drop an inordinate amount of Potter references in one column. Double sold. 

See Charlie Starling in Absinthe, twice nightly in the Spiegeltent at Caesars Palace, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wed.-Sun. Visit for tickets. Follow her on Twitter: @charlistarling.