Photos by Nicholas Karlin, words by Kaylee Dugan
At this point, it’s not a surprise when Derek Brown and his Drink Company team pull off a successful pop up, it’s expected. Their constant remaking and reimagining has become a new D.C. tradition, one that has people lined up down the block (or, let’s face it, a couple blocks) just to get through the door. It’s a testament to the strength of their cocktail program and their decoration skills that the wait has been worth it. We’ve seen them take on Christmas in multiple forms, transform their bars into surreal cherry blossom gardens and they’ve even taken us on a trip to Kings Landing straight out of Game of Thrones. They’ve definitely set the bar high.
PUB Dread meets all those expectations, and more. Adriana Salame Aspiazu and Matt Fox, the folks that head up the Special Projects team, have once again gone above and beyond. They’ve turned Brown’s three bars into a dank and dreary forrest, a terrifying doll house, and a glammy, gothy club influenced by none other than David Bowie. From the hordes of 100% haunted dolls (be on the lookout for Cordelia, the doll that has given the staff the most problems) to the giant spider that hangs at the entrance to The Haunted Forest, the Special Projects team has no chill. They’ve gone full throttle in the best way.
The cocktail program has gotten just as much love and attention. Bar Manager Paul Taylor is aiming to dredge up memories of Halloweens past with his candy inspired cocktails. There’s Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, which features a Twizzler soda, and Brains!, the cocktail that comes with a candy brain garnish. After standing in line for a few hours, I personally recommend you start off with a glass of Southern Tier’s Pumking (the best pumpkin beer money can buy) but regardless what you go for, you’re going to have a spooky scary time. Just don’t get too close to Cordelia.
PUB Dread is located at 1839 7th Street NW and is open from October 1 – 31. Their hours are 5 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. on Monday – Thursday, 5 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. on Friday – Saturday and 1 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Sunday.