Check it: Cherry Blossom PUB DC March 04 2017, 0 Comments

After weathering an incredibly mild winter, spring creeps into the DMV.

In our little metropolis, a major sign that spring is here is The National Cherry Blossom Festival.  The festival is a celebration of the gift of cherry blossom trees to the city of Washington, D.C. from the Mayor of Tokyo City, Yukio Ozaki, in 1912.  They are a symbol of a growing friendship between The United States of America and Japan.

We ventured a bit beyond the tidal basin, lastnight, to catch an interesting tribute to the annual celebration of spring and friendship with Japan inside two adjoining venues on Seventh Street NW in Shaw District.  After the wildly popular Christmas pop-up bar, last year, the teams at Mockingbird Hill and Southern Efficiency are kicking off the season with a cherry blossom-themed pop-up.

Standing and freezing in line with all the other kids hoping to get into an early taste of spring, we found that the two spaces each had their own themes: A bouquet of white and pink on one side to evoke a Japanese space filled with cherry blossoms and paper cranes while the other end was rife with green pipes, piranha plants, mushrooms, and Italian plumbers...yes, that's right...Super Mario Brothers.

It had struck us as an odd pairing, but ultimately, we could not argue that these are two of Japan's most wonderful exports.
The pop-up was complete with themed drinks such as the "Neko (Japanese for 'cat') Colada", the "Koopa Cup", or the "It's A-me! A-Mario!".  The mixologists chose theme-appropriate ingredients to build the limited edition cocktails like miso-infused rhum agricole, sake, or Japanese whiskey.  Our favorite was the "Press Start+A" which was probably the simplest of the creations, consisting of Japanese whiskey, Cardamaro, and Cynar...yes, we only knew we were getting Japanese whiskey and that's all we needed to know.  The food menu does not fail to join the fray with items like gyoza, seaweed salad, and katsu sando (a breaded pork cutlet).

A run through both bars shows how much care the team put into delivering an immersive and fun experience.  At one moment, you are walking under a boughs of a great cherry blossom tree in full bloom, the next you are bashing blocks and dodging turtle shells in The Mushroom Kingdom.  The staff are in full regalia as a troop of Marios and Luigis. Even the straws have power stars and mustaches.

A favorite order of many patrons was the "Neko Colada", which was served in a cup shaped like a Maneki Neko, a lucky charm shaped like a waving cat.

We applaud the guys and girls over at Mockingbird Hill and Southern Efficiency for their hard work and attention to detail.  If you're around town, this season, you have to check it out.



Cherry Blossom PUB, 1843 and 1841 Seventh St. NW is open 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. It's only here for a limited time, so don't wait.