Holiday Pop-up Bars: Where to Drink to Celebrate the Season
‘Tis the season for sippin’
By Vanessa Blankenship
The weather outside is not that frightful – it’s Texas, after all. And if you think there’s no place to go, let us suggest Austin’s best pop-up holiday bars, where the halls are decked with twinkling lights and tinsel to make drinking and listening to Christmas tunes even more festive. Gather your friends and pull on an ugly sweater because it’s time to be merry and bright at these highly decorated watering holes with holiday flare and drink specials for all.
Lala’s Little Nugget
The year-round Christmas-themed bar is great for those who want to start celebrating the holidays early or carry on being merry after Santa has come and gone. Grab one of Lala’s signature cocktails including “Reindeer Water,” “Santa’s Irish Coffee,” or “Naughty Little Nugget.” Jolly Hour is 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, with $2 domestic bottled beer, $3 tall boys and $3 well drinks. Purchase a stocking at the bar for $5, decorate it and hang at their event on Dec. 16. All proceeds go to Texas School for the Blind.
Donn’s Depot is renowned for its extensive Christmas decorations throughout the bar – an old Missouri-Pacific train depot – this time of year. But the true holiday cheer can be found in the live music six nights a week at Donn’s. Check out their Christmas Dance Party on Dec. 22.
The South Pole at Geraldine’s Austin
Geraldine’s is bringing TexMas to Austin! The South Pole-style pop-up runs Dec. 17 through 21, starting at 6 p.m., and will feature a snow machine, igloo lounges on the pool deck, an artisan market and, of course, a holiday-themed cocktail menu. Geraldine’s igloos come with TexMas décor, record players, board games and more for groups (up to eight people). The festivities wouldn’t be complete without holiday music: the annual Motown Christmas will have a live performance by Tje Austin.
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The Secret Bar at W Austin
The Secret Bar at W Austin is ready to spread holiday cheer – and perhaps a little fear – with “A Krampus Carol.” Decorated as Santa’s Workshop, the bar will serve a Krampus-inspired cocktail menu with naughty list drinks like Krampus Nog and Hung by the Fire. If you’ve been good this year, try something from the nice list including Holly Jolly Martini and Reindeer Games Spiced Cider. Don’t miss the steampunk-inspired hot cocoa draft service – and watch out for Krampus.
Miracle on 5th Street at The Eleanor
Miracle pop-up bar has around 100 locations in the U.S., England, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Panama. Austinites can find the international holiday bar at Miracle on 5th Street at The Eleanor by The Roosevelt Room. Take a picture on Santa’s chair, browse around the ski lodge room and take a Shot Ski with friends.
Kitty Cohen’s is transforming its patio bar in East Austin to a Hanukkah-themed pop-up called “Get Lit” starting on Dec. 18 and lasts until the end of the Jewish holiday. Expect an assortment of blue and silver across the bar and festive Hanukkah-inspired cocktails, such as Slivotinis and Latke Punch.
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Sippin’ Santa at Nickel City
The East Austin bar is transforming into a tiki-themed Christmas bar. Take a break from chilly weather and relax in a tropical paradise of themed cocktails and Polynesian decorations. Cocktails include Kris Kringle Colada, the Jingle Bowl and the Don and Victor.
She’s Not Here
She’s Not Here is going all out not only with Christmas decorations but with a vast assortment of “Dope Chinese” food from Old Thousand. Throughout the month, enjoy Chinese favorites like Mongolian beef and broccoli and brisket fried rice with a cocktail from the Naughty List bar.
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Gibson Street Bar
The second annual “Gibson Wonderland” is taking over Gibson Street Bar for the month of December. The holiday menu includes winter warmers and seasonal cocktails with clever names like BLITzen’s Brew, Gam Gam’s Holiday Jam and Gin-gle Juice.