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Why Lebanese Bar Green Zone Will Be Stocked With Tons of Johnnie Walker Black

Cultural references are aplenty at the Adams Morgan newcomer

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Posters and prints at Green Zone hail from a bygone era, before the Middle East was known for its wars and conflicts.
Chris Hassaan Francke/Green Zone
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Longtime pop-up Green Zone finally has a place to call its own this week in Adams Morgan, filled with Lebanese street foods, rare beers, and authentic Middle Eastern decor.

The two-story establishment (2226 18th Street NW) is projected to open on Thursday, July 26 with Moroccan tile bar tops and lighting and lots of symbolic art sourced from across the globe.

There’s also dozens of Johnnie Walker Black bottles behind the bar — but it’s not a paid endorsement, explains Iraqi owner Chris Hassaan Francke.

“Black Label is often synonymous with higher-end drinking in the Middle East,” he tells Eater. “There always was and still is a significant stash of Johnnie Walker in my grandfather’s home, much of which is gifts.”

Displayed coffee pots at Green Zone are a traditional symbol of hospitality, since Arabs and Turks introduced coffee to the rest of the world.
Chris Hassaan Francke/Green Zone

There’s also plans to showcase empty bottles of “arak” — Middle East’s popular anise-flavored unaged grape spirit.

Francke curated a slew of drinking-themed art while traveling in the Middle East. There’s posters from the Lebanese “good old days” and from Iraq before Saddam Hussein’s regime and the days of invasion, insurgency, and ISIS, he says.

“That’s the Iraq and Lebanon my family knew and remembers fondly,” he says.

The upstairs bar at Green Zone is shooting for a dance club vibe, lined with Middle Eastern records owner Chris Hassaan Francke has acquired over the years (including ones from Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman).
Chris Hassaan Francke/Green Zone

There’s also a rare reprint from the 1970s of Fairouz, a superstar singer in Lebanon. Bathrooms are also a transportive experience and designed to look like Turkish baths.

The drink list features over a dozen seasonal, Middle Eastern-inspired cocktails, as well as several staff favorites. There will also be draft beer and a variety of bottled and canned selections from Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan, as well as wine.

The projected hours of operation are from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, and from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Bites like hummus, falafel, and olives will be served until last call.

The Green Zone has been operating as a pop-up bar since May 2014, appearing at places including Black Whiskey and EatsPlace; its longest and most recent residency has been at Zeba Bar in Columbia Heights.

Status: Projected to open on Thursday, July 26 at 5 p.m. 2226 18th Street NW; website.