Just like the cherry blossoms themselves, DC’s Cherry Blossom Pub proved a fleeting beauty that’s nearing its end. Fans hoped that barman Derek Brown would extend the pop-up bar’s run—his wildly popular Christmas Bar was granted extra weeks—but no such luck. The last round of Neko Coladas will be served on Saturday.
“We feel like everyone who wanted to come, came,” says Brown, who hosted Shaw locals and Japanese tourists, Cherry Blossom Festival organizers and Nintendo employees eager to experience the bar’s second theme, Super Mario Brothers.“It was weird for awhile. For the first couple of weeks, there were no cherry blossoms—it was so rainy and cold—so we were the only game in town.”
Bad weather for the flowers meant great business for the bar. Lines for entry could stretch two hours—the Christmas Bar reached three—and bouncers turned away bribes. Brown calculated that his bartenders made a cocktail every 30 seconds.
It’s no wonder, then, that Brown and his team plan to keep the pop-ups running in the bar spaces formerly occupied by Mockingbird Hill and Southern Efficiency (sister cocktail/oyster bar Eat the Rich will remain open a few doors down). Details are still in the works, though the public is already weighing in. Thanks to an April Fool’s joke in Washington City Paper that Brown’s next theme would be Joe Biden (think Delaware Crushes and Capriotti’s sandwiches), there’s a real Change.org petition for an Uncle Joe pop-up bar with 112 supporters thus far.
“We can always change it back to the bars that they were, but we’re in a space right now where we’re really having fun,” says Brown. “We see the sheer delight of guests coming in. The day there’s no longer a line we’ll know we jumped the shark.”