The holidays look weird this year. But we're grateful to (more than) a few good bars that are doing their utmost to get us in the mood for the most wonderful time of the year, despite the shit-ton of crap 2020 has doled out so far. Cheers to these bars that went all out to lift our spirits in more ways than one.
Miracle on Commerce at The Adolphus Hotel
Those of us who usually get out of town for a ski trip or three before Christmas are, undoubtedly, getting a little ski starved, but The Adolphus is giving us all the vibes with their pop-up on the pool deck. Kick back with a cocktail and a s'more or try your hand at a game of curling. However you choose to enjoy your time in this hygge holiday experience, it will be time well spent.
The bar team, headed up by Mitch Murray, put together some cozy cocktails to warm up guests or help them feel cool. We'd love to mention our favorites from the six-cocktail menu, but we loved them all, and a little too much. Start with the espresso martini ($14) or Kentucky hot coffee ($13) to get energized for your bonspiel (curling tournament), then ease into a Christmas cheer mulled wine ($13 for one, $50 for 1.5-liter thermos), and end the night with their version of eggnog, the honey bear eggnog (Maker's Mark, Myer's dark rum, house eggnog and nutmeg, $14), for dessert.
1321 Commerce St., on the pool deck (downtown). Open Wednesdays through Saturdays through Jan.31. Curling or cabana reservations can be made via Resy
St. Henry Winter Wonderland at The HenryAnother visit to this gorgeous pop-up is on our grown-up Christmas list. It's beyond posh without losing any holiday luster. Look for cozy cocktails such as their Nog on the Rooftop (house “Xmas Whiskey,” whole egg, cream, nutmeg and cinnamon, $15) and quick drinks like their "Xmas Whiskey," Jameson Irish Whiskey infused with vanilla, cinnamon and sugar ($9 a shot, $21 for 200 ml to-go). Don't miss their kitschy Schnapps Ski, a trio of apple, cinnamon and butterscotch schnapps accompanied by vanilla macarons ($16). They didn't stop at drinks, though. Make sure to dip into their whole baked brie served with red onion jam ($16), and end the experience with a warm croissant bread pudding ($10) that will help you lay down for that long winter's nap.
They're charging $5 to get into St. Henry, but the aptly named pop-up is donating proceeds to Children’s Health!
2301 N. Akard St, No. 250. Open through Jan. 3 (closed Christmas Day). $5 entry; reservations suggested, but walk-ins welcome on first-come, first-served basis.
Sippin' Santa @ Royal 38
Order something to sip from this tiki-inspired menu created by famous tiki-phile Jeff “Beachbum” Berry of New Orleans's Latitude 29, and chase it with some warm chips and salsa ($6). With cocktails ranging from a quick shot, dubbed Rum Rum Rudolph (pineapple and overproof rums, coffee liqueur, $7) all the way to their large-format cocktail, the Blitzen Bowl that's made for two (Jamaican and Demerara rums, Allspice Dram, apricot brandy, Tuaca, ginger syrup, lime juice, Angostura Bitters, almond bitters, $30), there's something for everyone here; not just tiki fans.
The decor at this beachy bar leaves nothing to be desired. Beach balls, jellyfish tentacles, pink trees and even beach changing huts that offer a more private experience make the space feel more like a vacation than a happy hour. All that's missing is the sand.
2301 N. Akard St., No. 210. Open through Dec. 31. Reservations suggested, walk-ins welcome.
Miracle on Lowest Greenville
We're excited to see Miracle, the franchised holiday pop-up, again in Dallas. The same team that brought it to us last year at HIDE took it east to Lowest Greenville in the former Gung Ho space, and they really did it up. Multiple rooms offer different experiences for guests, including scenes from The Grinch and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Christmas in New York City.
The menu offers us a few small bites such as brisket tamales ($10 for 3) with plenty to wash it down. Order Miracle favorites like the Santa T. Rex (tequila, herbed mint liqueur, cacao blanc, mezcal, serrano, coconut and acid-adjusted pineapple) that comes in a tiki mug that is, literally, a T. Rex with a Santa hat, or get on "the list" by ordering a shot — but you'll have to choose "Naughty" or "Nice" ($7 each).
2010B Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville). Open through Dec. 31. Reservations suggested, walk-ins welcome.
Tipsy Elf at Good Companions
Sled on down to the Bishop Arts District for a pop-up with so much holiday pizazz we had trouble finding a space that wasn't decorated. The folks behind Paradiso and Botanist used their stand-alone coffee shop to literally deck the halls this holiday. Each room of the quaint, white building has something to enjoy from a living room filled with nutcrackers to a bar with a train that delivers you shots. Bonus points in you can find the "Home Alone" portraits.
Find a spot to sit back and enjoy something from their menu of pretty damn decent cocktails from the complex's beverage manager, Iluggy Recinos, like the "Elf and a Vegan Walk Into a Bar" (oat milk, aquafaba, ancho chile blended scotch, hazelnut liqueur and aged rum, $13) or the Mrs. Claus Drunken Love (lemon, herbal liqueur, spicy Aperol, red vermouth and blackberry-infused rye whiskey, $12). Make sure to grab one of the adorable pigs in a blanket that actually look like little piggies.
308 N. Bishop Ave. (Bishop Arts District). Tuesday through Saturday through Jan. 2.
A Nightcap Before Christmas at Trick Pony
One of our favorite cocktail spots in Deep Ellum has made a business of pop-ups. Rotating themes two or three times a year, Trick Pony has gotten good at the quick turn. Their holiday pop-up this year has a new face behind it, and we're excited to see what Sam Gillespie had in store for us. Look for comforting concoctions like the Oaxacan hot chocolate (Illegal Mezcal, Abuelita chocolate and marshmallows, $11) and then some others to give you just the right edge you'll need to be around family this holiday such as the Black + White Christmas (Fords Gin, Gorghetti espresso, mole bitters and peppermint cream, $12).
2823 Main St. (Deep Ellum). Open through Dec. 25.
Yellow Rosa Cockteleria
This Deep Ellum restaurant with a decidedly Latin flair will make you feel like you've been dropped in Tulum ... until the holiday pop-up goes over the top and snows on you. Thrice an hour the festooned dining room sees a soapy snowfall. Just make sure to cover your cocktails from their holiday-inspired menu so the soap-based snow doesn't fall in.
2901 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum).
Leela's / ABV
Get the joyful juices flowing at this beautiful wine bar, then walk upstairs to it's second "secret" pop-up. Leela's adorned its bright, airy walls with holiday decor and whipped up a few sparkly cocktails that will get you in the holiday mood before you venture through a black door and up a shadowy staircase to a twisted holiday pop-up like no other. ABV Establishment, the moody lounge above Leela's, went all out with a "Nightmare Before Christmas" pop-up, complete with a fog machine. (We guess they found a place to put everyone's leftover pumpkins from Thanksgiving!) Enjoy Tim Burton-esque decor and a drink menu with cocktails like the Sally Punch (lemon hart, Oloroso Lustau, Remy 1738, red wine, lemon sherbet, pineapple, strawberry, brut sparkling wine, $12) and Jack's Introduction (cinnamon gin, fino lustau, aperol, lemon, orange, torched marshmallow, $12) while you enjoy the delightfully offbeat holiday pop-up.
1914 Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville). Seating is first-come, first-served at both concepts.
"Not a Pop-Up Holiday Pop-Up" at Proper on Magnolia
The cocktail bar on West Magnolia is giving us jolly vibes again this year. The day after Thanksgiving they opened up with festooned walls and a brand new cocktail menu to get us all a little more than festive. While owners Lisa and Phil Adams always have new ideas when it comes to their Christmas spirit(s), you can't miss Lisa's egg nog. Make sure to take a picture and post it when you visit, because a little birdie told us they have a NYE stock the bar giveaway going, too.
409 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth.
Miracle at Nickel City
Fort Worth's newest kid on the block loves a good pop-up (and their Austin counterpart has been known for it since their Moe's Tavern pop-up last year). So they decked out their brand new walls with as much tinsel and wrapping paper as they could find and are doing their own take on the franchised holiday pop-up. Look for the cocktails we've come to love from Miracle with the offbeat Nickel City touch on the concept.
212 South Main St., Fort Worth.
This Fort Worth bar wanted to give us all something to cheer about with its holiday pop-up. Owner Chas Taipale said they wanted to "have Bodega wrapped from head to paw" for this pop-up. And then they finished off the fun holiday vibes with cocktails like a Griswold Old Fashioned (Woodford Reserve Double Oak, cinnamon, baking spice, orange) and a Cranberry Rickey using Fords Gin. Look forward to their Festive Christmas Drag Matinee Dec.13 and DJ sets featuring remixed Christmas tunes to really put a bow on things.
2921 Morton Street, Fort Worth.