Editor’s note: this post contains language that some readers may find offensive.
The creative geniuses at Barrel on Capitol Hill changed the game when they rebranded their speakeasy into a Secret Trump Themed Bar two weeks before the presidential election. Those who were lucky enough to get into the gaudy, underground, candlelit enclave could ogle its oversized menus, order a “Grab ‘Em By The P*ssy” cocktail and take selfies with the grinning cardboard billionaire.
Many, however, were not lucky enough to even get in.
“The popularity of the concept blew us away,” says Parker Girard, Barrel bar manager, “We were at capacity, every night.”
Bar Director Brad Ingwell says the Secret Trump Bar could hardly keep up with demand.
The line of people waiting to get into the Trump Bar was out the door down the block. We had 100 people waiting at a time.
What was the most popular drink? Girard tells us there was no contest:
P*ssy was the most popular item on the menu. Bros would just come up and say “I’ll have two ‘P*ssies’ and one War Hero.” People got way too comfortable saying that word. People liked saying it and posting on Instagram.
I don’t think you know what insanity feels like until you’re mixing one hundred cocktails an hour and “Voice of America’s” Chinese division pulls you into a bourbon closet to interview you about a P*ssy drink. That’s just 2016 I guess.
One could tell immediately that the original bar dripped in irony. The oversized menus that made your hands feel small, drinks named after ISIS, and faux-Trumpian insults scrawled on chalkboards, all appealed to the circus comedy of an election swiftly coming to a close.
On election night, the Secret Trump Bar was packed. When Trump won, “you could hear a pin drop,” according to Ingwell.
None of us thought he was gonna win. So when he won, this concept became not very funny for a minute. When he won, down here you could hear a pin drop. We had a month of being in shock and freaking out. Now he’s getting into office and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. So let’s worry less about being offensive and just have a laugh.
The Barrel team — led by Girard, current General Manager Ruairi De Burca, and former General Manager Mike Haigis — put their collective brains together to bring you a super-charged Secret Trump Bar: 2.0 Inauguration Edition. They call it “Unpresidented,” and Independent Journal Review got a sneak peak inside.
***THIS IS YOUR TRIGGER WARNING***
As you walk into the bar, it looks like your standard bourbon watering hole. But if you wander around back…
You are met with this display:
“Won 80% of white evangelicals…”
Down a dark staircase.
You must walk under this sign:
And through this hallway:
Where Trump tweets against the media are printed out.
And Trump tweets against Democrats.
And other countries.
There are no Trump tweets on display against Russia.
Fun facts about Trump’s Cabinet picks line the other side of the wall.
Do you want to drink this close to Steve Bannon?
The ceilings are lined with American and Russian flags.
Welcome to Unpresidented.
The menu looks like this:
And is Filled with Russian-themed cocktails.
Like the frozen “Moscow Mule.”
And the “Red Scare.”
This is the “This Drink Costs $29 At The Trump Hotel.”
And a “Moscow Mole” made with fish sauce.
You will be served your cocktail by waiters wearing absurd swag like this:
While you sip your cocktail, feel free to take in this disturbing, custom mural of the Trump team:
Or take selfies with the stars of the bar, Trump and Putin.
Ingwell says he expects hate mail for this:
Whether you hate the guy or love the guy or whatever, [Trump] is just constant funny content. We’re just a bar. Got a lot of hate mail for the first one. I’m sure we will get some for this one. I don’t understand people who take their valuable time to go write a hate mail about a bar just because we made something people liked. Chill out. Come here, we will get you a much needed cocktail.
Girard says they wanted to do it huuuuuge this time:
If we’re gonna do it again, we’re gonna respect our customers and do it big. This is a statement. It’s also just kinda like throwing rocks at Goliath at this point. Now it’s not a joke. I mean, it is still a joke but it’s not really a joke anymore. This is getting ready for what our reality could be. If he won, we always joked that we would turn this place into a bunker.
And if Trump ever came into the bar…
I would hand him a menu. We would love it if Trump himself could come down here. We hope he just comes down and feels like we are celebrating him. Although I think he does not drink, so that would be challenging.
Ingwell says people should see this bar as “therapeutic”:
Listen, this is one big joke. It’s a satirical thing. It is also therapeutic for those sick of partisan arguments on Facebook. All the Left vs Right. Come down and have a drink. Assuming the world does not end, it is still funny.
Unpresidented will be open Tuesday through Saturday at Barrel Bar, 613 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003.