Food

Drink Company Is Opening a True Crime-Themed Pop-Up Bar in Shaw

Death Becomes Us PUB partners with BYT's True Crime Festival for bloody fun.
Death Becomes Us PUB brings crime and mystery to Shaw. Photography by Karlin Villondo

The 14th Street corridor is now home to a sunny Destination Wedding bar, but in Shaw, things are getting dark. Drink Company—the crew behind the popular Christmas Bar and ill-fated Rick and Morty pop-up—partnered with Brightest Young Things, organizers of the upcoming True Crime Festival. The result: Death Becomes Us PUB, a murder-infused watering hole. It opens October 11 and runs through the festival on November 3 and 4.

If drowning your sorrows in a death bar sounds just right, that’s kinda the point. BYT co-founder Svetlana Legetic says she received an overwhelming response to the festival, with headliners like Phoebe Judge of Criminal, Mindhunter’s John Douglas, and many more.

“It’s a solitary pursuit to some extent,” says Legetic of true crime (she’s also a huge fan of the genre). “We found people are in the mood for more—they want to socialize about the mythology and solving cases.”

So as not to pick at any fresh wounds, the team focused around three legendary cases for the bar’s themes: the Salem witch trials, the 16th century serial killings of murderess Elizabeth Bathory, and the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short a.k.a. Black Dahlia, which rocked 1940s Los Angeles. It’s not an accident that all are female-centric cases—Legetic’s team are all women who’re obsessed with true crime.

The Covered in Honey cocktail with sherry and fig honey.

Drink Company’s special projects director Matt Fox is, per usual, orchestrating the design. He built stocks for the witch-themed room (designed for Insta-posing as much as decor), and found a 200-pound clawfoot tub for Lady Bathory’s Victorian annex (she was rumored to have bathed in the blood of her virgin victims for a youthful look, as one does). The Black Dahlia room will have an LA noir vibe, while a third bar will retain its ongoing heavy metal GWAR theme through Halloween.

Cocktails and snacks will also take inspiration from death, such as the Covered in Honey—named after one of Bathory’s crimes involving biting ants—with gin, sherry, and fig honey. Legetic says she plans to bring festival guests to the PUB space for afterparties, so look out for the likes of Paul Holes with a Pearfect Crime cocktail at the bar.

Death Becomes Us PUB. 1839 7th Street NW. Open October 11 through November 4. Sunday through Thursday, 5 PM to 12:30 AM; Friday and Saturday, 5 PM to 1:30 AM.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.