'Tis the Season for Holiday-Themed Pop-Up Bars and Spiked Cups of Cheer

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Holiday spirit never tasted so good. - COURTESY MIRACLE STL
  • Courtesy Miracle STL
  • Holiday spirit never tasted so good.

Though it's not yet Thanksgiving, the winter holiday season is already unavoidably omnipresent. Malls have hung oversized ornaments from the ceiling with care and the Hallmark Channel is airing its cheesy Christmas films around the clock.

Fortunately, a few bright lights are here to guide us away from the tinsel-covered consumerism and back to one of our favorite coping mechanisms: alcohol. Beginning Monday two holiday-themed pop-up bars will open in St. Louis: Miracle STL (2800 Indiana Avenue) and Sippin' Santa (3146 Locust Street).

Miracle STL is located inside Small Change, the Benton Park dive bar run by Ted and Jamie Kilgore, owners of Planter's House in Lafayette Square. Sippin' Santa, however, is popping up in Midtown. As in years past, Miracle STL will serve signature and new cocktails such as the Snowball Old-Fashioned and the Run Run Rudolph. For our money, though, we want to try the Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel cocktail, which is made with chocolate gelt-infused mezcal, campari, sweet vermouth and Pedro Ximenez. At Sippin' Santa, holiday cocktails are Tiki-themed, including the Christmas Eve of Destruction and Papa Noel.

Like other Miracle locations across the country, the St. Louis pop-up bar will be selling holiday mugs with 10 percent of sales donated to Action Against Hunger and St. Louis-based Santa’s Helpers Inc. Reservations for both Miracle STL and Sippin' Santa are sold out but limited seating is available for walk-ins (our advice: arrive early and with a small party). Miracle STL and Sippin' Santa are scheduled to run until December 28. The former is open from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Sunday and the latter is open from 4 to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday.



Miracle STL's Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel cocktail is made with chocolate gelt-infused mezcal, campari, sweet vermouth and Pedro Ximenez. - COURTESY MIRACLE STL
  • Courtesy Miracle STL
  • Miracle STL's Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel cocktail is made with chocolate gelt-infused mezcal, campari, sweet vermouth and Pedro Ximenez.

Several other spots in town will be getting in on the festive fun this season too. From Friday, November 29 through mid-December, holiday pop-up bar LIT will be serving Christmas-themed tipples to sip by the glow of Christmas lights at Molly's in Soulard (816 Geyer Avenue, 314-241-6200). Open from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 6 to 10 p.m on Sunday.

The bar will serve a cocktail list dubbed The 12 Drinks of LITmas, which will include an alcoholic build-your-own hot chocolate bar. Molly's has been inundated with reservation requests since sharing news about the pop-up bar, so calling the bar at 314-241-6200 to ask about dates and times is advised.

In early December, yet another holiday pop-up bar will debut. From December 5 through January 5, Paddy O's (618 South Seventh Street, 314-588-7313) will host Mistletoe, a new Christmas-themed pop-up concept. For one month, the bar will be wrapped in glittering holiday decor — including St. Louis Blues- and St. Louis Cardinals-themed Christmas trees — and a festive photo booth to match its menu of limited-time tipples. In addition to the winter wonderland inside, you can also grab a seat by the fire pits outside and purchase a s'mores kit to make over the flames. Guests can also park at Paddy O's, grab a drink and then take a trolley ride to the Anheuser-Busch brewery lights display Friday through Sunday. Catch the fun Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight. Walk-in customers are welcome, but to guarantee yourself a table, the bar requests you make a reservation online.

“The main goal for our holiday space is to make people feel transported into an entirely new venue," Paddy O’s owner Drew Foley said in a release. "We wanted to create a fun and festive spot that is accessible for everyone in the area to enjoy. The atmosphere we have created should really put people in the holiday spirit and we are excited to have the capacity to host large groups and parties.”

Next up, on Sunday, December 15, from 1 to 3 p.m., The Hideout (210 North Euclid Avenue) will host a holiday cookie decorating class with Yellowbelly pastry chef MJ Stewart and holiday cocktails from co-owner Tim Wiggins. Although not a holiday pop-up bar per se, we're including this in our roundup because Stewart and Wiggins are both incredibly talented and their work is deserving of your time, plus, did we mention holiday cocktails? Guests will be able to throw back two drinks and take home six decorated cookies. Tickets can be purchased online here.

And finally, as we creep closer and closer to Christmas Day, there's one more holiday drinking event to pencil into your schedules: the eighth-annual 12 Bars of Charity. Happening on Saturday, December 21, this holiday-themed bar crawl benefits a bevy of local charities: Stray Rescue of St. Louis, The Dudes-St. Jude Children's Hospital, World Pediatric Project, Friends of Kids With Cancer, Autism Speaks St. Louis, Gene Slay's Girls & Boys Club of Saint Louis, WISH STL-Make-A-Wish Missouri & Kansas and St. Louis Hero Network.

The pub crawl rules are simple: Assemble a team of friends and family, choose a charity to support and then visit one or more of 26 bars, which will donate a portion of their daily proceeds to the charity of your choice. Tickets are available for purchase through Eventbrite.

With so many boozy ways to avoid Hallmark Channel Christmas films this year, perhaps the holiday season won't be so bad after all.

Sippin' Santa is hosting our favorite kind of Blue Christmas. - COURTESY SIPPIN' SANTA
  • Courtesy Sippin' Santa
  • Sippin' Santa is hosting our favorite kind of Blue Christmas.

Follow Liz Miller on Twitter at @lizzaymillah. We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at liz@riverfronttimes.com.
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