Night Life

‘Treat Yo Self’ at Replay’s ‘Parks & Rec’ Pop-Up

Marcello Piccinini | The PhoenixThe pop-up offers drinks that reference “Parks and Recreation,” such as the “Vote Knope” and the “Treat Yo Self,” and range from $9 to as much as $27.

Even though “Parks and Recreation” aired its final episode Feb. 24, 2015, fans hungering for a callback to Chris Pratt’s pre-Star-Lord days have until the end of September to treat themselves to a “Parks and Recreation”-themed pop-up bar — a temporary, themed bar attraction — at Replay Lincoln Park (2833 N. Sheffield Ave.).

“Parks and Recreation” follows the internal political and social strife of a group of people in the parks and recreation department of Pawnee — a fictional town in Indiana. The show is shot mockumentary-style, similarly to “The Office,” and deals with relationships, both personal and professional. Replay’s recreations of core parts of the show brings the experience to life for patrons to enjoy.

Strolling through the bar is an experience in and of itself. Televisions playing iconic scenes from the show — such as Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) trying to cross an ice rink to a campaign stage without slipping — can be found all over the pop-up, a treat for both fans and newcomers of the show. Patrons can’t go three feet without stumbling upon references — whether it be displays, props or small jokes only a “Parks and Recreation” fan would know — which are so absurd even people unfamiliar with them get a laugh.

Dotted around the bar are more obscure nods to the show, such as a painting of a topless Greek goddess or signs saying “Chlamydia affects nearly 100% of Jan Coopers.”

A collection of songs from the show — written by Andy Dwyer’s band Mouse Rat — washes over the senses in the decorated interior of the backroom of Replay. Displays around the bar with props modeled from the show lift the “Parks and Recreation” atmosphere from the show and drop it into a reality.

Replay’s in-house artists — Jeremy Steffen, Tristan Young, Raquel Hung, Luis Colindres, Adam Michaels and Tom Molloy — make the themed decorations for each pop-up, and their creativity shows when it came to “Parks and Recreation’s” time in the spotlight.

“It’s such a good feeling when people react positively to the stuff you make,” Young said. “It makes us want to try harder each time Replay does a pop-up. After being here for a week or two we’re sick of building by the end, but it’s very satisfying when we turn the music on and look at everything all come together.”

Drink prices range from $9 to $27 with the menu comprised of both mixed drinks and straight liquor. The “Vote Knope” — whipped vodka strawberry liqueur, lemon juice and fancy whipped cream — is among the cheaper drinks, priced at $9. The “Treat Yo Self” — vodka, orange juice and mezza di mezza sparkling wine served with 2 splits — is the most expensive cocktail, priced at $27.

People from all over the country, including Bostonian Jake Moultan, find these pop-ups and show their support for the featured theme or enjoy a themed drink.

“This pop-up features some of the main scenes from the show but it also has cool smaller attractions, like the televisions showing scenes from the show,” Moulton said. “I like the various attractions posted around the bar. It isn’t just one thing that catches my eye.”

Replay has been doing pop-up bars since fall 2017, beginning with “The Simpsons” theme. Each pop-up lasts about two months, typically with a two-week gap between themes, adding up to four to five pop-up themes per year.

Themes aren’t limited to just television shows. Past themes included video games like “Fortnite” and “Pokémon” with some revolving around events such as Fyre Festival.

“The pop-ups were something we wanted to try when we first opened,” said Sean Adamson, the manager of Replay Lincoln Park manager. “We did ‘The Simpsons’ six months after we opened and it was a huge success so we decided to keep doing them.”

Between having a drink, enjoying some casual “Parks and Recreation” references or playing on an arcade machine, Replay Lincoln Park isn’t short on ways to “treat yo self.” “Parks and Recreation” fans have until the end of September to experience this pop-up. While Replay’s next pop-up is yet to be announced, potential attendees can keep an eye on Replay’s Facebook page, “Replay Lincoln Park,” around Halloween for teases toward the next theme. 

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