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‘BARtanical’ is the latest pop-up bar in Del Ray, and its owners want to keep the pop-ups going

BARtanical is opening at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue by the end of January 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

BARtanical, a botanical and herbal inspired bar, will open as the newest pop-up at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray by the end of the month, its owners tell ALXnow.

The new bar is the fifth pop-up for the space, and owners Bill Blackburn and his partner “Mango” Mike Anderson of the Homegrown Restaurant Group have decided to keep going with the pop-up themes instead of opening a permanent restaurant.

Blackburn and Anderson closed the Sushi Bar — located between their other restaurants Holy Cow Del Ray and Pork Barrel BBQ — in December 2021 after nine years in business. Shortly after closing, the restaurant was transformed into the Christmas-themed pop-up bar Joy On The Avenue, followed up by a Tiki Bar that lasted for eight months, a Halloween-themed  pop-up in October and then back to the Christmas-themed bar last month.

The windows of the pop-up are currently covered, and the interior of the space has been gutted.

Blackburn says that when it opens, the pop-up will be a “potted plant lover’s paradise,” featuring an “explosion of plants an greenery.”

“Sticking to the craft cocktail heavy formula, BARtanical’s beverage program will be botanic and herbal inspired, with a nibble and snacks menu that is on the crisper and lighter side,” Blackburn said. “It’s a limited time pop-up and perfect for girls night out, casual happy hour or late nightcap surrounded by rich green agricultural décor and Del Ray’s most entertaining bartenders.”

Anderson said that the next iteration of the pop-up is a secret.

“You’ll have to wait and find out,” Anderson said. “New concepts are like first dates. First dates are new and exciting, and every three months we’re going to provide the residents of Alexandria with a fresh experience.”

Mari Luffey, a former bar manager at HRG’s Whiskey & Oyster in Carlyle, is the manager for the pop-up and is creating a cocktail menu.

“The spring-feel of the bar will translate nicely during the winter months,” Luffey said. “It’s going to be beautiful and cozy in here.”