The Green Zone is a pop-up bar that has recently been popping up at Zeba Bar at 3423 14th Street NW in Columbia Heights. The Green Zone is heaven for those who love the Middle East, featuring creative and delicious Middle East-inspired cocktails (which at $10 are perfectly reasonable), Palestinian wine and Lebanese beer, and arak. Hookah and Middle East-inspired “kefta burgers” are also available. The Middle East has a complicated relationship with alcohol; countries like Lebanon produce good wine, Jordan has a solid new microbrewery called Carakale and arak is a popular spirit. But Islam’s prohibition against alcohol means that a sizeable portion of the population doesn’t drink at all. The Green Zone’s founder and bartender, Chris, is undeterred
by a dearth of traditional cocktails from the region. Instead he uses the region’s extensive selection of unique flavors and spices to create cocktails from scratch that evoke the tastes, smells, and history of the Middle East. My favorite cocktail so far is the “Janissary Corps,” a delicious concoction made with gin, pistachio syrup and lemon. Another masterful showpiece of Chris’s mixology skills is the “Wadi Rum,” named after a stunning desert landscape in Jordan where Lawrence of Arabia spent time during World War I (the classic movie about his life was also partially filmed there) and where, more recently, the Martian was filmed. The drink is meant to evoke a Bedouin campfire, and contains tea, sage, smoke, and, of course, rum. The
Green Zone is, however, most famous for their “F*ck ISIS Punch,” a fruity spiked punch that can be garnished with bacon. While The Green Zone appeals most to DC’s Middle East policy professionals, nostalgic about their time in the region, anyone can appreciate The Green Zone’s creative and delicious cocktails and friendly, communal vibe.