Don't be surprised if you walk into your favorite bar or eatery only to find the walls cloaked in wrapping paper, fir trees covered in lights tucked into corners and strategically placed mistletoe hanging from the ceiling. It's the holiday season in Denver, after all!
Somehow, the list of places getting festive for the season grows every year, making it easy to plan a holi-date or Christmas-themed work outing. Choices range from Grinch-style tea drinks to a Krampus takeover to tiki drinks with a side of holiday cheer.
Here's where you should be drinking festive this year:
218 South Broadway
From November 24 through December 30, Adrift will become SNOWdrift, a very merry pop-up benefiting the Denver Rescue Mission. Expect towering holiday totems, palm trees dusted with "snow" and jolly blowfish sporting Santa hats. Cocktails, too, will play with the theme, including Hot Buttered Prum-Pum-Pum-Pum, Ho Co-Co Gingerbread Nog and Cranberry Mojitho-Ho-Ho. Even the food gets a little holiday twist, with options like Yuletide Loco Moco with jalapeño-serrano cranberry sauce.
3200 Pecos Street
Get ready for an island-themed journey into Christmas with Avantiki, the food hall's holiday pop-up. Spiked eggnog and boozy punch bowls will be on the menu starting November 24, and will continue to wet jolly appetites until December 29, all served on the second floor in the Wolf Bar. Themed snack menus can also be found at Amá Modern Mexican and Knockabout Burgers, although you'll need to dine before or after your bar reservation. Entrance is $5 per person, with a portion of the fee going to support the nonprofit mental health advocacy organization CHOW. At the end of their visit, guests will get a complimentary Fernet piña colada shot, and they can take the shot glass home.
248 Detroit Street
This Latin cocktail escape in Cherry Creek is celebrating the season with Sippin' Santa, a tropical holiday pop-up that opens on November 24 and will run through January 6. Its sister concepts Señor Bear and Mister Oso in RiNo and Wash Park are also getting into the spirit with the return of the Polar Bear Express, which includes festive food and drink specials.
Bernard's Tiki Room
5707 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Sippin' Santa, the tiki version of the Miracle Bar pop-up, will be on the second floor of the Arvada Tavern from November 24 through late December. Imbibers can order Christmas-themed tiki drinks in fun mugs that they can purchase to take home. Make a reservation by calling the venue. There is a $10 non-refundable fee for each reservation, which secures 75 minutes to enjoy the space and menu.
The Bluegrass Lounge's 5th Annual Noel Pop-Up Bar
7415 Grandview Avenue, Arvada
The theme of this year's pop-up bar is Christmas in Colorado, and you can bet the space will be decorated to celebrate the concept, which kicks off on December 1. Sip on holiday-themed cocktails, watch classic films, karaoke it up on Thursdays, and check out events such as wreath making (December 5, $70 per person), holiday paint-n-sip (December 12, $60 per person), and a gingerbread house competition (December 11, $40). Santa will stop by every Wednesday in December, as well.
476 South Broadway
At this South Broadway spot, it's all about the holidays once you wander onto the third floor. Here you'll find Festivus for the Rest of Us, which runs from November 23 to December 31. The decor might be cheesy, but the drinks are expertly made. It's the perfect spot to wear your favorite ugly sweater and have a grand old time.
Call to Arms Brewing
4526 Tennyson Street
Get ready for some Big Holiday Energy, the pop-up at this beloved Berkeley brewery. Owner Chris Bell has once again decked out the bar with all things holiday, from the Hanukkah room to Christmas trees hanging from the ceiling to a faux fireplace for Santa to come down. This year brings even more twinkle, as a giant tent has been erected on the patio, and the brewery will host opportunities to meet the Claus family, adopt a puppy (December 16) and watch holiday movies on the television sets while sipping a festive beer such as the Belgian dubbel with maple syrup or a coffee porter. The fun starts daily on November 22 and runs through the end of the year.
3330 Mariposa Street
In keeping with the mood of this dark little bar, owner Andrew Harris has put together a Krampus pop-up for the holidays. In case Krampus is a new holiday hero for you, here's the deal: He is a goat man who takes naughty children around Christmas time and beats them in his sack. There won't be any sack or beatings at the Devil's Drink. Instead, expect specialty cocktails including Sleigh Bleggggghsss, Stay Puft Slaughter, and Babau Box, named after the Italian version of Krampus. The decor includes a six-foot tall animated Krampus and a lot of mood lighting. The forty-seat bar is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The pop-up has already started and will run through the New Year.
245 Columbine Street
Get ready for Halcyon on Ice, a true ice skating experience right on the roof of this Cherry Creek hotel. Guests can enjoy hot cocoa, warm cocktails and stunning views of Denver. Tickets are $15 for an hour of rink time and skate rental. For those looking to really up the ante, book a winterized cabana. The ice rink is open until March 31.
Inverness Denver’s Blazing Bright Pop-Up Bar
200 Inverness Drive West, Englewood
Starting on December 1, the Inverness Denver hotel will transform its Fireside Bar & Grill into a winter wonderland perfect for anyone who loves a dose of Christmas with their cocktails. Expect sleigh shots, festive drinks, cozy charcuterie boards and the Bah Humbug Hot Cocoa Bar, which features boozy seasonal goodies and toppings, all in a holiday mug you can take home.
4411 West Colfax Avenue
Bring the kids and go over the top with ice cream and holiday decorations at this year's Santa's Factory pop-up. Go for ice cream and stay to get a photo with Santa, play bingo with Mrs. Claus, reserve a spot at a special holiday cookie decorating event, build a gingerbread house, listen to live caroling and so much more. It's basically a holiday party every day starting Friday, November 24 through December 31. The shop will also have freshly cut Christmas trees to take home. There are festive ice cream flavors available as well, such as egg nog, gingersnap, candy cane and vegan hot cocoa.
Mile High Spirits
2201 Lawrence Street
The Christmas Pop Up Bar at Mile High Spirits will run from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. every Friday and Saturday from November 24, through December 23. It will serve four different holiday-themed shots in its decked-out barrel room, and Santa will be on hand for the party every Saturday until Christmas weekend. This pop-up is free to attend, but guests are encouraged to reserve a spot online.
Milepost Zero at McGregor Square
1901 Wazee Street
Come for the drinks and stay for the holly jolly atmosphere at Sleigh Bar, a holiday pop-up bar that opens at 11 a.m. daily. Not only can you choose from the naughty and nice list of cocktails such as Grandma Got Rum Over by a Reindeer and Under the Mistletoe, but throughout the holiday season, Sleigh Bar will host holiday movie-themed trivia and Sleigh Days festive drag performances. Check the calendar at mcgregorsquare.com/events for more details.
836 1/2 Main Street, Louisville
Set up inside thr Courtyard in Louisville, the holiday pop-up that started the frenzy will be pouring out festive drinks including the Christmapolitan, the Christmas Cricket, the Krampus and the Christmas Carol Barrel, to name a few. The fun starts on November 21 and goes to December 29, from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Reservations are recommended.
Cherry Creek Holiday Market
Fillmore Plaza between First and Second Avenues
The Mistletoe Lounge is a holiday pop-up bar running through December 24 right in the heart of the festive market. The lineup features live entertainment, a cozy snow globe-like atmosphere and spirited cocktails such as the Mocha Martini and Santa's Night Cap.
The Ramble Hotel - Death & Co.
1280 25th Street
Step into the refined Suite 6A, aka The Holiday Suite, for an elegant holiday bar complete with floor-to-ceiling decor, scrumptious food and festive cocktails. The space is run by Death & Co., though the seasonal drinks will only be available to order from this special spot. The pop-up runs from November 30 to December 30.
5713 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada
Harry Potter fans, get ready: From December 5 through 31, the Stockroom, a speakeasy located inside Spirits Wine Provisions, will transform into a Hogwarts holiday bar. We're talking separate areas based on your house, Dobby; Crookshankes, a treat trolley featuring sweets from the books; and plenty of interactive components. Also enjoy an incredible specialty drink menu featuring butterbeer and polyjuice potion, which will be served in a small cauldron. The 35-seat bar is open at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and it's first come, first served.
The anime-themed drink pop-ups at this two-year-old Vietnamese teahouse drew us in, and now the owners, sisters Sashaline, Shominic and Shasitie Nguyen, have created a whimsical drink menu centered around everyone's beloved Christmas grump, the Grinch. Think coffee and tea drinks such as Mr. Grinch, a peppermint matcha latte with pistachio kem; The Mean One, a green-toffee hojicha latte with candy cane kem; and Cindy Lou, a cookie butter raspberry latte with lemon whipped cream. The pop-up has already started and will be going strong during normal business hours through December. Sashaline also recommends the cafe's take on egg nog, Vietnamese egg coffee, which should absolutely be on your nice list.
Tinseltown: The Christmas Speakeasy
500 16th Street
Head to the Denver Pavilions for a sparkling holiday bar pop-up November 24 through December 30. A $15 timed ticket is required and includes a themed drink upon arrival, plus time to snap selfies and enjoy the over-the-top decor. Additional cocktails and zero-proof drinks will also be available, though all guests must be 21 or over.
White Elephant and Naughty List
Handsome Boys Hospitality is putting on two holiday pop-ups this year. Back for its second year is Naughty List, which will be at Tony Tenderoni's (1937 Market Street). New in 2023 is White Elephant, in the former Green Russell space in Larimer Square (1422 Larimer Street), which will be serving drinks by former Green Russell and Death & Co. bartender Michael Berry. Both will run from Black Friday through New Year's.