Things to Do

Three Cheers for These Nine Holiday Pop-Up Bars

Only during the holidays can you drink from Santa's butt at the Arvada Tavern.
Only during the holidays can you drink from Santa's butt at the Arvada Tavern. Randy Schmidt
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.

click to enlarge It's Turbo Time, one of the cocktails at the Death & Co. holiday pop-up bar. - ZACH FLEMMING
It's Turbo Time, one of the cocktails at the Death & Co. holiday pop-up bar.
Zach Flemming
Holiday Suite at the Ramble Hotel
280 25th Street

Above the large Death & Co. bar in the lobby of this swanky RiNo hotel you'll find the Holiday Suite, serving up Christmas joy through December 28. Death & Co. has created a festive menu of holiday drinks, including You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out Kid, with bourbon, rum, brandy, cream, and egg; the Samsonite, with Irish whiskey, blackstrap rum, sarsaparilla and Scotch; and the Filthy Animal, made with red wine, brandy, amaro, pomegranate, orange and cinnamon. Sip a cup of cheer while peeking over the balcony in search of Santa; space is limited, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis Thursday through Saturday starting at 5 p.m. And in the spirit of giving, a portion of proceeds from each drink you buy will be donated to the Gathering Place and Focus Points Family Resource Center.

White Claw Winter Wonderland at ViewHouse Ballpark
2015 Market Street

Summer may be over, but cans of cold White Claw live on. Get your fix of the hard seltzer while also toasting to the holidays in this heated outdoor tent decked out with every festive bobble and glittery light imaginable. Sip on $6 White Claws and $7 White Claw cocktails, or treat your friends to a festive bucket of cans for $25. On Friday nights, there will be special giveaways from the brand, and themed events such as holiday hat decorating on December 13 and an ugly sweater party on December 20. Bring a new toy for Care4Colorado’s toy drive benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. The fun starts Sunday, December 1, and runs until January 31.

click to enlarge Take in some mini golf along with your festive cocktail at Punch Bowl Social. - PUNCH BOWL SOCIAL
Take in some mini golf along with your festive cocktail at Punch Bowl Social.
Punch Bowl Social
Holiday Putt Club at Punch Bowl Social
3120 North Uinta Street

Head to the Stapleton location of Punch Bowl Social on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through December 31 for an epic holiday-spiked outdoor miniature golf extravaganza. The course will have sparkling lights, giant candy canes, a life-sized snow globe, tons of photo opportunities, and, of course, mini golf. Nibble on warm bites, sip on a Jingle Bell Rock n' Rye or the Pink Bunny Suit, get the kids a hot chocolate and enjoy this family-friendly holiday pop-up.

click to enlarge Have very tiki Christmas at Adrift. - COURTESY OF ADRIFT
Have very tiki Christmas at Adrift.
Courtesy of Adrift
Snowdrift at Adrift
518 South Broadway

Tropics meet the North Pole at this popular tiki spot in Baker, and it's a match made in fruity, boozy, tinsel-draped heaven. This is the second rendition of the pop-up, which goes from now until January 4. Expect juicy tipples topped with cranberry and magic, goblets of fiery spirits coming to school you on your evil ways, and glasses gleaming with gratitude. Make a reservation now for a spot and join for a jolly good time. And because you've been more nice than naughty this year, Adrift is keeping its all-day happy hour on Tiki Tuesdays.

click to enlarge Noel is equal parts bar and Santa's workshop. - COURTESY OF THE BLUEGRASS LOUNGE
Noel is equal parts bar and Santa's workshop.
Courtesy of The Bluegrass Lounge
Noel at The Bluegrass Lounge
7415 Grandview Avenue, Arvada

This year the Bluegrass has gone all out to turn the space into an epic Christmas hangout. There's a ten-foot heated tent surrounding the back patio filled with colorful lights, decorations and of course, classic holiday tunes. But it's not just drinking; each night features something new and fun. For example Mondays and Tuesdays bring the Naughty Elf Workshop, where you partake in painting, sewing, wax dipping and more while you sip. Tuesdays also have Christmas karaoke starring at 8 p.m.; a Jim Beam booze tree on Wednesdays; and Santa Thursdays so you can bring your kids. And in case you feel guilty drinking the night away, the space is having a clothing, jacket, and toy donation for A Precious Child Charity in Broomfield, so you can pay it forward while you have a good time.
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Linnea Covington moved back to Denver after spending thirteen years in New York City and couldn't be happier to be home, exploring the Mile High and eating as much as possible, especially when it involves pizza or ice cream.
Contact: Linnea Covington