Washington is home to plenty of Star Wars-inspired attractions, especially ahead of this weekend's debut of "The Last Jedi." If watching the movie isn't enough, you don't have to go to a galaxy far, far away: These bars, sights and events will help you get an even greater fix of the world George Lucas built.
The Dark Side Bar at Mythology
This temporary watering hole, popping up inside Mythology on H Street through Jan. 15, is meant to look like a bar inside the Death Star. In celebration of the movie's opening, the bar is hosting a costume party on Friday and Saturday complete with a DJ, appearances by Darth Vader, "Last Jedi"-themed shots and an alien burlesque show. Prizes will be awarded to the best costumes. Unlike other popular pop-up bars that require waiting in long lines, the Dark Side Bar uses an online system that lets you reserve two-hour blocks. Admission costs $33, which includes two drinks. When room permits, walk-ins are available for $40. 816 H St. NE.
A Very Star Wars New Year’s Eve at the Reading Room at Petworth Citizen
For more than a year, Chantal Tseng has hosted an intimate wine bar pop-up inside the Reading Room at Petworth Citizen. In celebration of New Year's Eve (and in honor of her lifelong love of the sci-fi franchise), Tseng is hosting a friendly wine war against fellow sommelier Geoffrey William Bailey. Each will offer a selection of their favorite wines-of-the-moment, and whoever sells the most will win bragging rights. Costumes are encouraged; at midnight, expect a bottle or two to be sabered. "We have to, because of the whole lightsaber thing," Tseng says. 829 Upshur St. NW. 202-722-2939.
‘Holiday Starkillers Strike Back’ at Anacostia Arts Center
This art show returns for a second year with works from seven self-identified Star Wars nerds. The exhibition features photographs, paintings and mixed media that pay homage to the movie, in addition to a Christmas tree with a bedazzled X-wing Starfighter topper and hand-painted ornaments for purchase. Giving fictional characters the fine-art treatment is meant to be playful, director Camille Kashaka says, although she adds that some of the work is quite compelling.
"The whole show is a departure from what we normally do at the arts center," she says. "Who knew that you could do two full group shows with Star Wars content?" 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE. Through Jan. 20. Free.
D.C. Metro Area Star Wars Collecting Club at Centerville Regional Library
On Sunday, grab your collector's-edition stuffed Chewbacca and go to a meeting of this regional Star Wars Collecting Club. Founded in 2003, the group (usually 35 people or so) gathers semimonthly in different locations for swap-meet-style meetings. "We help each other find stuff we're looking for, or trade old stuff from our collection that people might want," says Martin Thurn, the club's president and the proud owner of a 200-plus Yoda collection. Occasionally the group will host "Antiques Roadshow"-style meetings and bring in an appraiser. Even if you don't own a lot of memorabilia, you're welcome to join and talk to like-minded fans. "Whatever you have sitting on your desk at work is fine," Thurn says. 14200 St. Germain Dr., Centreville. $10 yearly dues suggested.
An R2D2 postbox at the Udvar-Hazy Center
Yes, this offshoot of the National Air and Space Museum is home to two hangars full of notable aviation artifacts, including the space shuttle Discovery and Boeing B-29 Enola Gay. But the reason it's worth a visit for die-hard Star Wars fans is the R2-D2 mailbox on loan from the National Postal Museum. One of 400 mailboxes released in 2007 to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the film, the postbox is signed by George Lucas. Visitors will also be able to watch the movie in Steven F. Udvar-Hazy's Airbus Imax Theater as well as the Lockheed Martin Imax Theater at the Mall location. Both museums will have characters in costume wandering aroundon Friday and Saturday, so bring a camera for photo opps. 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly. 703-572-4118; Independence Avenue and Sixth Street SW. 202-633-2214. Free.
A Darth Vader grotesque at Washington National Cathedral
On the north side of this historical landmark (which happens to be the dark side of the building) sits a bust of Darth Vader. Unusual? Yes. Out of place? Far from it. Gargoyles and grotesques are traditionally whimsical, and when the cathedral held a kid’s design competition in 1986, the Sith Lord was selected as a finalist. He’s joined by a raccoon, a parrot, a koala bear and gorillas.
Vader is a big draw for visitors, says director of communications Kevin Eckstrom, and one of the cathedral's biggest evangelists. "He's like catnip for people. They come to see Vader, and then they will stay for a worship service." To get a good look at him, bring binoculars or join an Angels and Monster Tower Climb Tour ($50) to get within 30 feet. 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW.