City Paper is not for tourists
Timed passes to see Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors have been going faster than a Saturday night dinner slot at Rose’s Luxury. If you’re lucky enough to enter the much-hyped exhibit full of polka dots, pumpkins, and infinity mirrors, you might as well make a night of it. Dine and drink at these places where the decor is just eccentric enough to make Kusama smile.
barmini by José Andrés
501 9th St. NW
José Andrés’ innovative cocktail bar values whimsy above all else, from the delightfully crafted, cloud-topped drinks to every aspect of the decor. Patrons can sit on a lumpy yet comfy cactus-shaped couch, which is nearly as endearing as Kusama’s pumpkin sculptures. Barmini also features a Prickly Pear Chair by designer Valentina Gonzalez that boasts embroidery in a color palette that would make Kusama proud. Next to it you’ll find a festive, color-changing light-up planter. Finally, the cocktail menu comes in a brushed metal book, in which you can just barely make out your reflection, and with near-infinite drink options inside.
Mythology & Lore Lounge
816 H St. NE
The neon-color-changing cloud light fixtures hanging from the ceiling wouldn’t feel out of place with the carnival-esque flashing lights of “Infinity Mirrored Room—Love Forever.” A meal can easily get trippy at the jewel-toned restaurant because the fries come in human heads.
1110 Vermont Ave. NW
The centerpiece at the presidential restaurant is the text of the Emancipation Proclamation backed by color-changing lights. There are also clusters of hanging mason jar lanterns, which call to mind the cosmo-like bulbs of “Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.” Artist and designer Maggie O’Neill conceived the restaurant’s original penny-covered floor (which has been removed, save one storage room), and the process of laying those coins was surely as painstaking and never-ending as one of Kusama’s “infinity net” paintings.
Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar
1104 H St. NE
The strongest source of light in this bar are black lights and assorted tiny chandeliers, recalling the disorienting experience of walking into one of Kusama’s dimmer mirror rooms. Moreover, the pink purple glow of the black lights suggests the pink glow of “Dots Obsession—Love Transformed Into Dots.” Among the wall hangings are trippy blacklight posters and mirrors reflecting into mirrors.
POV Lounge at the W Hotel
515 15th St. NW
Under the glow of long, tubular chandeliers, gold vinyl couches and lounge chairs glisten, calling to mind the metallic coating on the “Flower Overcoat” sculpture. One of the bars on the rooftop is surrounded by hanging lightbulbs, not unlike the hanging lanterns of “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity.”