An Actual Garbage-Themed Pop-Up Bar Is Coming to DC

DC9 is getting rid of plastic straws in the most dramatic way possible

Beach rubbish photo via iStock.

Lots of DC establishments have ditched plastic straws, but only one has decided, hey, let’s decorate our bar like a trash heap to say goodbye to those suckers. Following last year’s vodka soda pop-up, DC9 will transform into “Garbage Bar(ge)” from Dec. 17 through Dec. 30.

No, this is not a prank.

“Think of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and just put it in a bar,” says DC9 beverage manager Lauren McGrath, who conceptualized the idea with kitchen manager Amber Bursik. “Literally, garbage and the ocean and turtles—we’re really digging deep on our Pinterest boards looking for some ridiculous ideas.”

The bar will be decorated with existing trash and recyclables turned into underwater creatures, including sea urchins made out of straws and jellyfish made out of coffee filters. Six-pack rings and La Croix cans will also be incorporated into the decor—and disposed of properly at the end of the pop-up. Expect the tableau to have a touch of vengeance, McGrath says. “I’m pretty into the concept of sea creatures reclaiming their ocean from the garbage.”

The pop-up will be the one time when McGrath says it’s acceptable to order a Sex on the Beach cocktail (although she plans to rename it something more raunchy). Her menu will also have takes on other ocean-themed club drinks, like a Cape Cod or Sea Breeze, as well as a normal list of cocktails. A portion of the proceeds with go to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“Nobody comes out to the bars in DC to escape the real world. They come out to bars to talk at length about what’s happening outside the bar,” McGrath says. “So I think people will actually feel pretty OK when they’re in our hellscape.”

DC9/Garbage Bar(ge). 1940 Ninth St., NW

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.