Normally, I am morally opposed to the idea of waiting in line for a bar or restaurant. Something about the idea of giving unknown amount of my time for the privilege of paying an establishment money has always struck me as off. Because of this objection, I have never before been to any of the much celebrated Derek Brown pop-up bar themes (Cherry Blossom, Nintendo, Christmas Bar).
Please, forgive my ignorance, and go to the Games of Thrones Pop-Up Bar (PUB) experience. Whatever amount of time you have to wait in line you will not be disappointed. Located between 1839-1843 7th Street NW, and open as of yesterday, the PUB is a joint project between the Drink Company and Brewery Ommegang. The theme includes a total of four bars, each featuring a different location from the Game of Thrones series, displayed across 3,000 square feet. Even if you’ve never read a single word of the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series or seen a minute of Game of Thrones (and shame…shame…shame on you for your omission), it is hard not to appreciate the artistry and creativity behind the concept. For the gods’ sake, there’s a massive dragon head on the back bar that blows smoke and sulfur every twenty minutes. Check out our Instagram for some cool photos.
Beyond the décor, the drinks are delicious and really on point from a taste and thematic experience. The North Remembers, a smoky and vaguely coconut-like creation, comes in an actual honest to goodness ram’s horn. The Shame comes with an actual public shaming, as every fruity tequila drink should. As for the beer, the main feature on draft is Bend the Knee from Brewery Ommegang. A truly aromatic Belgian Golden Ale, Bend the Knee has great head retention with medium to medium-high carbonation; smells strongly of spice esters with notes of coriander, pepper, and honey/citrus fruit notes; and finishes dry with an initial malt sweetness and a really pronounced clove flavor. Don’t like clove? Too bad. Much like Winter, the clove is coming with this beer.
The rest of the drinks are fairly excellent as well and really try to incorporate different aspects of the geography and presumed flavors of Westeros and Essos. Having tried all of them…I know the life of a beer writer is sometimes very challenging…I can honestly say there wasn’t an off drink in the bunch.
Come and pray to the New Gods, the Old Gods, the Drowned God, or whatever deity or demigod your heart desires, but mostly come to the Games of Thrones Pop-up Bar.
Greg Parnas, is a contributing writer to DC Beer and local alcoholic beverage attorney. If you'd like to discuss more about this issue, or other concerns with beer and the law, please feel free to reach him at [email protected].