Inside DC’s New Super Mario Bros-Themed Pop-Up Bar
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For most people, springtime in Washington, D.C. is synonymous with cherry blossom-gazing. But this year, residents and visitors to our nation’s capital are seeking out vegetation of a different kind: a Mushroom Kingdom. More specifically, the Mushroom Kingdom — the fictional world made famous by Super Mario Bros. — which has been brought to life at Cherry Blossom Pubs, a pair of pop-up bars that has taken over the spaces normally occupied by Southern Efficiency and Mockingbird Hill.
Though the bars are officially two separate spaces, each with its own theme, they’re connected by a doorway and semi-related themes, which makes them sort of spiritual partners. At Southern Efficiency, those aforementioned cherry blossoms are the running theme; the soft pink space features a gorgeous origami crane chandelier and a vast collection of maneki-neko, Japan’s famous waving cat figurines. But the real draw is Mockingbird Hill, which transports revelers to 1980s 8-bit gaming — and has nostalgia-seekers waiting in line as long as two hours to get in, according to the Washingtonian. (And no, don’t even think about trying to pay off the doorman or use some lame excuse to cut in — they’ve heard it all.)
In addition to red cap and overall-wearing bartenders channeling Mario himself, animated Petey Piranhas and green piping hang from the ceiling, an entire corner is dedicated to the game’s most-hated character, King Koopa. Then there are the food and drinks, all of which pay homage to the theme; cocktails include the whiskey-based Press Start + A King Koopa Cup, I Call Yoshi! sake and Midori mix, and the spicy It’s A Me, Amario.
“Japan has always been a source of inspiration for me and, as a native Washingtonian, cherry blossom season is something we look forward to every year,” the bar’s owner, Derek Brown, said in a press statement. “This pop-up brings together some of my favorite things under one roof, including both classic cocktails and Mario nostalgia.”
The pop-up bars will be open from 5:00pm to 12:30am Sunday through Thursday and until 1:30am on Friday and Saturday now through April 15. As for finding the Princess? You’re on your own.
Featured image courtesy of the Cherry Blossom Pub.
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