Copyright issues close DC ‘Rick and Morty’ pop-up bar

WASHINGTON — A D.C. pop up bar designed with die-hard “Rick and Morty” fans in mind has been closed after a copyright dispute with Turner Broadcasting and Cartoon Network, according to a statement by the bar.

The pop up bar was located at the Wubba Lubba Dub PUB at 1839 7th Street NW in D.C. and encouraged those who watch the show to “get schwifty” with drinks like “Pickle Rick Back shots.”

The new venture was created by Drink Company and opened Thursday after a week-long delay due to negotiations with the network that owns the show.

Drink Company issued a statement on their Facebook page saying that Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network “changed their minds, threatened us with exorbitant fees and then took everything off the table today and refused to talk any further. The whole time we were operating in good faith and willing to make concessions to bring this wonderful work of fan art to life.”

The company, which is based in D.C. and owns the Columbia Room and PUB (Pop Up Bar), said that it now has to lay off its employees and take a “massive financial hit” after closing.

Drink Company said that the bar was “designed by fans for fans” and was a “labor of love” that included hand sewn “Meeseeks” from the CEO’s mother, and graffiti artwork on the walls.

Adult Swim, the adult-oriented, night-time programming block of the Cartoon Network, responded in an email that it was not approached in advance of Drink Company building out and announcing the pop-up bar.

“That bothered us, not only because it wasn’t polite and aimed at profiting off of Rick and Morty fans, but because we couldn’t be sure that the experience was going to be up to our standards for those fans, whom we never want to disappoint.  Also, it’s illegal, which we’re pretty sure still counts for something.”

Video courtesy NBC Washington, a WTOP news partner.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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