Food & Drink

Warp to Japan at This Mario and Cherry Blossom Themed Pop-up

We love rotting our brains exercising our reflexes playing arcade games at a good barcade, but mamma mia, this Mario themed bar in D.C. has taken gaming love to a new level (somewhere in World 8, we’d guess by the imposing portrait of Bowser that hangs in the back). The Cherry Blossom Pub, as the pop-up is called, has taken over the bar rooms of Mockingbird Hill and Southern Efficiency to celebrate the capital’s special bond with Japan, which is particularly prominent during D.C.’s annual springtime cherry blossom festival. While the cherry buds struggle to bloom in the cold outside, you can take a warp pipe straight to Japan at the pop-up, with a dedicated cherry blossom room—sporting copious pink flowers, paper cranes and maneki neko cat figurines—and a Mario room—decked out with Starmen, 1-Up Mushrooms and Piranha Plants.


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According to The Washingtonian, The Japanophilic transformation comes courtesy of the Miracle Holiday Pop-up crew, which transformed bars across the world into wintery holiday wonderlands this past December. Like those installations, the Cherry Blossom Pub is serving themed drinks to match the decor. Options include the “I Call Yoshi,” “Flower Power” (which works double duty with both themes), and the geniusly titled “It’s a Me, Amario,” which comes spiked with local D.C. amaro, Don Ciccio & Figli. Since the entire menu was penned by bartender Paul Taylor of the renowned bar, Columbia Room, the clever drinks go well beyond 8-bit deep puns.


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Given the success of the Miracle pop-up in the same space, you can expect the Cherry Blossom Pub to be even more packed than a Mario Kart starting block, but race there anyway, as the pop-up is only around until April 15. Arrive any later and you’ll find your bar has moved on to another castle.


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