Drink­ing un­der the Weir­wood

Metic­u­lous recre­ations of scenes from Game Of Thrones give pa­trons of this bar the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the am­biance of the hit fan­tasy TV se­ries.

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CLAIM your right­ful place upon the Iron Throne, or drink a cock­tail of Shame, Queen Cer­sei-style – the choice is yours, once you brave the hour-long queue snaking out the door.

As HBO minis­eries Game Of Thrones re­turns for its penul­ti­mate sea­son to­day (to­mor­row night, Malaysian time), fans of the award-win­ning fan­tasy epic are get­ting an early fix at a pop-up bar in Wash­ing­ton DC, com­plete with a fire-breath­ing dragon, coats of ar­mour and bar­tenders who are dressed the part.

The un­marked venue, on a non­de­script street in the US cap­i­tal, has laid the decor on thick – rev­ellers make their way through a war­ren of rooms, each rem­i­nis­cent of a scene from the wildly pop­u­lar TV fable which orig­i­nally be­gan as an adap­ta­tion of the equally pop­u­lar fan­tasy se­ries of books of the same name by Ge­orge R.R. Martin.

Ev­ery now and then, the star at­trac­tion – an an­i­ma­tronic dragon – fills the air with a fear­some roar, smoke spew­ing, and fiery lights flash­ing in its mouth, in a nod to Daen­erys Tar­garyen, the so-called “Mother of Dragons” who reared three of the beasts as her own.

The other dragon sib­lings are painted as a mu­ral in this pop­u­lar wa­ter­ing hole, called the Game of Thrones Pop-Up Bar, or GOT PUB.

“We waited for an hour-and-ahalf but it was re­ally worth it. The decor is very cre­ative, very re­al­is­tic. I like the dif­fer­ent rooms,” says Re­becca Briere, a physi­cian’s as­sis­tant.

“It’s amaz­ing, es­pe­cially the dragon.”

Fash­ioned from three con­nected store­fronts, the bar has a lim­ited shelf life: it opened in late June and will re­main open un­til Aug 27, clos­ing early on Sun­days when fans will pre­sum­ably be home get­ting their weekly TV fix.

“We want to treat this as the holy hour,” says Paul Tay­lor, se­nior bar man­ager for The Drink Com­pany, which is be­hind the project. “Watch­ing a show in a bar for me is dis­ap­point­ing. You can’t hear any­thing.”

Tele­vi­sions would be out of place any­way in the bar’s maze-like rooms, which have been packed with be­tween 900 and 1,500 peo­ple ev­ery day amid the ex­cite­ment over the pre­miere of sea­son seven of Thrones.

Walk in and above you, spread across the ceil­ing, are the mighty white branches and red leaves of a Weir­wood – one of the sa­cred trees that trig­gers vi­sions in the young Bran Stark.

In a niche in the wall is a stand­ing sculp­ture of a wolf howl­ing into the night sky – the sym­bol of House Stark, the mil­len­nia-old rulers of the North of Wes­teros.

To the right, lies the House of Black and White – a tem­ple in the city of Braavos where peo­ple go to die – eerily recre­ated with walls cov­ered in plas­ter faces, al­though in this case the faces be­long to the owner of The Drink Com­pany, vol­un­teers who built the sets, and some friends.

Pun­ters can also pose seated on the Iron Throne wear­ing a fur cloak and hold­ing the royal scepter.

For the priv­i­lege, sim­ply sign up – then wait, and wait some more for a text mes­sage from a guardian telling you your turn has come to claim the throne.

One group had been wait­ing 117 min­utes and count­ing.

That is where the cock­tails come in – with the peo­ple’s choice among the dozen or so themed drinks on of­fer set­tling on a con­coc­tion called Shame.

Back story: in the fi­nale to the show’s sea­son five, the fallen queen Cer­sei Lan­nis­ter con­fesses to adul­tery and must take a naked walk of penance through the streets in a bru­tal public sham­ing.

Made of tequila, gin, tonic wa­ter, and grape­fruit juice, the cock­tail is served up with a spiel from the show: the bar­tender rings a bell three times and dur­ing each pause, ev­ery­body yells “Shame!” – AFP

— Pho­tos: AFP

A pa­tron pos­ing for a photo on the Iron Throne at the bar. You have to wait to be called by the Guardians for this priv­i­lege.

A dragon sib­ling forms part of a mu­ral on one wall of the bar.

Check out that 3D dragon head loom­ing over­head!

Spread across the ceil­ing above the bar counter are the mighty white branches and red leaves of a Weir­wood.

The eerie plas­ter faces in the recre­ation of the House of Black and White’s ‘Hall of Faces’ ac­tu­ally be­long to the bar’s owner, the set builders, and some friends.

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