When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2000 and the world didn’t end, people sloughed off their body glitter and sunk back into their Lovesacs to contemplate what the new millennium would bring. Britney Spears‘ “One More Time” rang out from speakers, Americans became obsessed with reality competition shows like Survivor, and kids watched an ordinary dish sponge put square pants on.
Tragically, all of the rainbow-colored fun of the late ‘90s and early aughts came before the advent of social media. While there were plenty of Powershot A480 digital cameras with which to snap prom pics, no one was snapping or ‘gramming with their Motorola Razrs.
But at one Dupont Circle bar, you’ll get another shot at capturing that youthful magic. Starting Friday, a Y2K pop-up bar will operate inside Decades and you can take all the selfies you want in front of a Lisa Frank tribute wall. The club is already known for rewinding to other moments in time, so it seemed like a natural fit for club owner Antonis Karagounis.
“Our most popular floor is the ’90s floor, with 20-somethings singing along to all of the tunes,” he says. “There is a market for that retro experience out there. We feel like the most iconic event of last 30 years was Y2K. The turn of the millennium. The computer apocalypse.”
Karagounis hired local artists Anna Pineapple and Kira Tai to convert the mezzanine area into a time capsule of the decade between 1995 and 2005. You’ll see a glow-in-the-dark Nintendo area, *NSYNC marionette dolls, arcade games, flip phones, HitClips, Furbies, and other collectables.
“We have a lot of cultural elements in there,” Karagounis says. “When you see them, you’ll start reminiscing. A lot of items, you’ll see them and you won’t remember they existed. That’s the whole idea of the pop-up bar.”
Bars and table tops will be collaged in 20-year-old magazine clippings. One of Pineapple’s favorite finds is Rolling Stone’s review of The Prodigy’s 1997 album The Fat of the Land. The ceiling and walls are adorned with thousands of glistening CDs. Karagounis’ favorite aspect is old iMacs that have been repurposed as dioramas of popular cartoons including The Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants.
Many of the cocktails are named after music sensations or movies from the era. The “Red Hot Chili Peppers” combines Jameson Irish Whiskey with liquid smoke, Tabasco, lime, and ginger beer; the “Pulp Fiction” contains Absolut Mandarin vodka, orange juice, lime juice, and passionfruit puree; and the “Kill Bill” mixes cognac with peach schnapps, vanilla syrup, and Sprite.
Dishes from the first floor diner, Rewind, such as Philly cheesesteaks, “unicorn waffles,” and popcorn shrimp, will be available to order.
The Y2K pop-up will operate Mondays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Karagounis anticipates he’ll keep it running through May. Entry will be on a first come, first served basis.
Y2K pop-up at Decades, 1209 Connecticut Ave. NW, decadesdc.com