I Wrecked That ‘Rick and Morty’ Bar with GWAR
A cease-and-desist famously shut down the D.C. pop-up Wubba Lubba Dub Pub, demanding all its decorations be destroyed. So GWAR destroyed them (and I helped).
Photos by Ana Valentin
On Thursday, I watched an intergalactic alien god of sex, drugs, and death drive his massive hoof through the body of a grimy man wearing only a Santa hat. Even if I wanted to intervene, I couldn’t, because another cosmic warrior encased in bony, fleshy armor had his fingers clenched around my throat. Shattered glass and splintered plywood littered the floor of the bar where we were tussling. He threw me to the ground.
I dodged the most hazardous materials as I landed and he moved on to execute a short-necked giraffe with a large, phallic sword. I didn’t try to stop him, though—in fact, I joined in the destructive fun. I picked myself up off the floor, drove my leather boot through Rick Sanchez’s body, and relished the crunch as his wooden frame cracked beneath my foot.
I paused for a moment to appreciate the rare privilege I had. I was helping the most feared metal band in the galaxy, GWAR, bring ruin upon the decorations of Washington D.C.’s infamously banned Rick and Morty pop-up bar. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Then I drove my forehead through a styrofoam chunk of Ruben—that naked Santa from earlier—the star of Rick and Morty’s third episode, “Anatomy Park.”
The first time I visited the Wubba Lubba Dub Pub, it had just opened in Washington D.C. The next day, negotiations around a cease-and-desist from Turner Broadcasting broke down and—less than 24 hours after its grand opening—its doors were closed for good. Drink Company, the organization that masterminded the pop-up and others like it, such as Game of Thrones and Nintendo-themed watering holes, had worked out arrangements with HBO and Nintendo. But they couldn’t make a deal with Turner. The broadcasting company's lawyers demanded they remain closed and destroy all the art that decorated the bar.
So Drink Company president Derek Brown humbly asked Balsac the Jaws of Death, Beefcake the Mighty, and Jizmak Da Gusha to visit D.C. and help to eliminate the decorations in a fit of bloodlust. “I’ve been a fan of GWAR for years," Brown told me just before the destruction began, the band’s logo emblazoned across his black t-shirt. "I can’t think of anyone better suited for this task."
Having the cult classic metal act destroy their canceled Rick and Morty-themed drinkery is Drink Company's way of bouncing back and moving forward. They brutally smashed the past to make way for the future: an unholy pop-up dive called GWAR Pub.
The team put their new space together in a matter of weeks. “We just make enough money to pay our staff and then set up the next bar,” CEO Angie Featherston told me as we stood amongst the rubble. A small section of the bar was converted to the GWAR Pub, a transition that was made easier by the music collective bringing their own iconic set pieces to D.C. from Richmond, VA. There's the late band leader Oderus Urungus's bloody battle armor, a razor-toothed toilet, and the 20-foot World Maggot they’ve used to “murder” celebrities like Jerry Springer onstage.
Visitors can enjoy the view while sipping an alcoholic ode to Urungus called Oderus Eternal, a dark tropical beverage called the Jagermonsta Colada, and a stiff drink called the Undead Scumdog.
Below are some pictures of us destroying the bar, like Rick C-137 decimating the Citadel of Ricks, but way dumber and lower tech. As a fan of the show, I can imagine no more fitting end to the legally ambiguous, short-lived labor of love and fan art.
GWAR Pub is open through Halloween. Learn more on the official website.
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