Things to Do

Three Cheers for These Nine Holiday Pop-Up Bars

Randy Schmidt
Only during the holidays can you drink from Santa's butt at the Arvada Tavern.
Thanksgiving is over, and now it's time to think about that light-filled red-and-green holiday that's only a few weeks away. Ease some of the bustle of Christmas shopping and family time with a stiff drink in a festive bar or restaurant. These seven spots have dressed their spaces to the nines with tinsel, lights, wreaths, Santas and more, all to give imbibers a chance to drink in some Christmas spirits.

click to enlarge Sippin' Santa is now on at the Arvada Tavern. - RANDY SCHMIDT
Sippin' Santa is now on at the Arvada Tavern.
Randy Schmidt
Sippin' Santa at the Arvada Tavern
5707 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada

For the first time, the Sippin' Santa concept has landed in the metro area, and it's not your normal Christmas-themed bar. This festive pop-up is all about the tiki, thanks to Jeff "Beachbum" Berry and his creative tipples. We're talking the Jingle Bowl, a two-to-four-person punch with all sorts of rum, warming spices and tropical fruit juices; the Christmas Eve of Destruction, with overproof dark rum, lime, nutmeg syrup and Benedictine; and the Papa Noel, with blanco tequila, apricot brandy, lime and pineapple juice, orgeat and cardamom bitters. That's just a handful of the tasty drinks on the menu. The event runs from now until December 28, and while you can walk in without calling ahead, reservations are encouraged. Sippin' Santa is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

click to enlarge Bad Santa tastes so good at the Miracle Bar pop-ups in Denver. - MELISSA HOM
Bad Santa tastes so good at the Miracle Bar pop-ups in Denver.
Melissa Hom
Miracle Bar
Avanti Food & Beverage, 3200 North Pecos Street
Larimer Square, 1414 Larimer Street 
’Tis the season to gear up and make a reservation at Miracle Bar, now in its third year in Denver — and with an extra spot this year for revelers to enjoy. This well-established Yuletide explosion offers cocktails such as the Christmas Carol Barrel, made with aged rum, pumpkin pie spice, aquavit, amaro and lemon; the Gingerbread Flip, with bourbon, gingerbread syrup, egg, nutmeg and cookie crumbs; and the Run Run Rudolph, with gin, mulled wine purée, lemon and prosecco. There are more, of course, but you need to see it to really get into the holiday groove. Expect so many decorations it's like Christmas threw up (in the best possible way), with a little bit of Hanukkah tossed into the mix. The Avanti version, at the food hall's upstairs Wolf Bar, is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight (1 a.m. Friday and Saturday), while the Larimer Square pop-up, in the downstairs space formerly occupied by Milk & Honey, runs from 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Reservations can be made on the Miracle Bar website.

Señor Bear’s Polar Bear Express Holiday Pop-Up Bar
3301 Tejon Street

Growl into the holidays with a bear of a good time at the Culinary Creative Group's festive bar makeover, happening December 2 through January 1. Enjoy a special menu of winter cocktails with a Latin American twist, which includes boozy eggnog, spiced cider, hot buttered rum and the Shot Ski, made with liquor from Breckenridge Distillery. There's a seasonal spread as well: the Holiday Bear Basket, which offers an array of Puerto Rican foods perfect for the dark, cold month of December. And to further the Christmas spirit, join the free 21-and-up Bear’s Naughty or Nice Holiday Party and Toy Drive on Saturday, December 21, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., where there will be drink specials, ice luge shots, pictures with Santa Claus, small bites, and a free shot for those who bring in a new toy to donate to Toys for Tots.