In recent years, bars across the United States have started to host Christmas-themed pop-up bars: Yuletide parties with themed shots, hot drinks, and a lifetime’s worth of Santa memorabilia. This season sees not one, but two holiday pop-up bars running through the month of December. Miracle Bar, an international series of pop-up cocktail bars based out of New York City, comes to Portland’s eclectically modernist Bacchus Bar for the holidays. Meanwhile, the cozy Southern restaurant The Waiting Room decks out its upstairs bar with decorations and cocktail and food specials for The North(west) Pole.
For those looking for a bit of the Christmas season, it’s worth it to give one or both spots a visit, with each offering its own distinct take on the theme. Dig into the specifics below:
What it is: The product of New York bartender Greg Boehm, Miracle Bar is a massive pop-up series with locations all across the globe. This year it’ll take over Bacchus Bar, the stylish, multi-level lounge at the Hotel Vintage downtown.
When and where: 4 to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Fridays, and 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturdays at 422 SW Broadway. Miracle Bar opens November 29 and runs until December 31.
What’s the vibe: Christmas-y as heck — expect fake snow, Santas, trees, snowflakes, and all the rest of the kitsch that comes from Grandma’s house. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights will feature live music (including Christmas tunes), and a few events include an ugly sweater competition and a doggy photo-shoot.
Drink highlights: Rich, seasonally appropriate cocktails from both Miracle Bar and Bacchus Bar bartender Nathan Elliott. A dollar from each of his fruitcake-inspired cocktail — the Last Minute Gift with Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch, spiced oat milk, Calisaya, cherry heering, demerara syrup, and walnut bitters — will go to Friends of the Children. There’s also cider drinks, nog drinks, and seasonal “naughty” and “nice” shots.
Food highlights: The food menu is a throwback to Americana Christmas classics — truffled gouda cheeseballs, crab dip and garlic bread, lobster bisque shooters, and potato skins with spinach-artichoke dip will all be available.
The North(west) Pole
What it is: The Waiting Room’s homegrown Christmas bar returns for a second year. The upstairs event space and bar at the vintage house gets a decked-out ski lodge look, and each weekend sees cocktails and food specials all night.
When and where: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at 2327 NW Kearny Street. The North(west) Pole starts on December 6 and runs to December 21
What’s the vibe: Ski lodge during Christmas season — look for stockings hung with care, gift wrap wallpaper, crockpots simmering weenies, and VHS tapes decorating the space as well as projecting old ski movies on the walls.
Drink highlights: Alongside the speciality cocktails like mulled sloe gin with plum preserve and an elderberry syrup sparkling wine drink, revelers will find thematically appropriate “shot-skis” loaded with shots like Ho Ho Ho, made with Kahlua, Bailey’s, and Cointreau, or the Red Hatted Slut with Jager, smoked peach, and cranberry.
Food highlights: The menu sticks to winter comfort foods, like fried mac and cheese, smoked pork belly sliders with cranberry jam, cocktail weenies, and apple spiced doughnuts.
• Miracle Bar [Official]
• North(west) Pole [Official]
• Why Kitschy Christmas Bars Are Everywhere This Year [Eater]