‘Tis the season for merry tunes, twinkling lights displays, and holiday pop-ups. With festive decor and seasonal drinks galore, these Twin Cities bars and distilleries have enough holiday spirit to warm even a Grinch’s cold, cold heart — a mug of spiked eggnog always does the trick.
The Jingle Bar at Old Log Theatre
For a holiday pop-up with Up North vibes, head to the Jingle Bar at Excelsior’s Old Log Theatre. Every year, the crew transforms the 125-year-old log cabin into a cozy, kitschy winter wonderland festooned with garlands, lights, and baubles. The theater’s restaurant, Cast & Cru, serves drinks: Cozy up to the fireplace with a hot buttered rum, an eggnog white Russian, or maple pecan Old Fashioned. Wine, beer, and spirits are also available. The Jingle Bar is open from November 24 to December 23 on Thursdays and Fridays. Walk-ins only.
Red Nose Room at Red Cow
The Uptown Red Cow is dripping with garlands and tinsel, serving a list of 12 special holiday cocktails (and mocktails) from now through January 7 during regular business hours. (The gingerbread White Russian, made with Du Nord’s coffee liqueur, is served in a ceramic Santa boot.) Plop down in that plush Santa’s throne for a burger and a drink.
The Grinch’s Lair at Hotel Emery
The Hotel Emery has gone Seussian with its “Wholiday” pop-up bar. There’s a holiday cocktail menu of spiked hot cocoa and gingerbread espresso martinis, plus three themed areas for photo ops: the Grinch’s Lair, Whoville, and chilly Mount Crumpit. Reservations and walk-ins are both available; the pop-up runs from December 1 to January 7, Thursday through Sunday.
Nico’s Navidad Holiday House
Nico’s Tacos in Uptown is decked out with twinkling lights, baubles galore, and even live Christmas trees for the season. Stop by for Grinch appearances and specialty cocktails like the “Miracle on 25th Street,” made with local Crooked waters brandy, spiced ginger, and agave in a meringue foam.
Tinsel Town at O’Donovan’s
Tinsel Town is coming to O’Donovan’s Irish pub from December 1 to December 30 this year. Expect over-the-top decor, a Christmas music soundtrack, warm winter drinks, and “elves,” though TBD exactly what that entails. Reserve ahead of time online, and don’t delay; these tickets are already getting snatched up.
Holiday Vacation at Travail’s Basement Bar
Travail’s Basement Bar has a “Holiday Vacation” theme for the season, complete with festive Christmas decor, tropical cocktails, and a multi-course tasting menu, through January 6. Note that this is a full dining experience, and reservations are required — tickets, available online, start at $69.