Calling all plant lovers and botanists. BARtanical, the latest Del Ray pop-up bar from owners Bill Blackburn and “Mango” Mike Anderson of the Homegrown Restaurant Group, is made for you.
The pop-up bar, located at 2312 Mount Vernon Ave., sits between the owners’ two other restaurants, Holy Cow Del Ray and Pork Barrel BBQ. Its botanical theme appears in both the décor and the beverage menu.
“With this one, we wanted to do something a little more obscure and just really get creative with it,” says Blackburn. “We had some customers mention how popular the hobby of indoor gardening had become throughout the pandemic. We just thought that would be a fun idea to use as inspiration for a bar.”
Formerly the Sushi Bar, the team started using this spot for pop-ups in December 2021, with a Christmas-themed pop-up bar.
Since then, the team created a Tiki bar theme, a Halloween theme, and a second Christmas pop-up prior to the current BARtanical theme.
“Originally, we only planned to do one pop-up during the Christmas season, but we found the formula to be well received. And our more permanent plans for that space were put on hold,” says Blackburn.
About BARtanical’s Menu
Bar manager Mari Luffey, the former bar manager of Whiskey & Oyster, created the cocktail menu. Blackburn describes Luffey as a “veteran” of the Alexandria bar scene.
“She was really up to the challenge of creating just a fresher, cleaner, herbal-inspired cocktail program for this concept,” he adds.
And it truly shows.
“These are some of the best cocktails we’ve done to date,” Blackburn says.
From the Water Lily, with Herradura Reposado tequila, orange blossom water, grapefruit, and lime, to the Botanist Classic Martini with Botanist Islay Dry Gin, dry vermouth, and blue cheese stuffed olives or lemon twist, you can’t go wrong.
The menus also features mocktails and tapas and other sharable small bites, such as spicy edamame and creamy spinach artichoke dip.
BARtanical opened the week of Valentine’s Day. Those who want to try the new menu will have two-and-a-half to three months to enjoy the new concept and sip away. BARtanical is open seven days a week, with the bar typically serving from 5 p.m. to midnight.
“So far, we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on both the transition of the space as well as the cocktail program,” Blackburn says.
While the next concept for the pop-up bar location remains under wraps, Blackburn says the team has a few more pop up concepts up its sleeves for this year. Stay tuned.
Feature image courtesy BARtancial
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