Five Bay Area holiday-themed pop-up bars to check out before Christmas

Five Bay Area holiday-themed pop-up bars to check out before Christmas
Deck the Halls Bar in San Francisco at Hungry I : Photo: Courtesy of Deck the Halls Bar
By Matt Charnock - Published on December 23, 2021.

With just two days left until Christmas, it’s still not too late to grab a libation at any one of these Bay Area pop-up bars that exude all the seasonal cheer.

Following last year’s doom and gloom, the festivities that have filled the Bay Area this year have brought some much-needed levity and light. Union Square’s Christmas tree is up and shining; Jack London Square in Oakland is currently lined with Christmas tree ornaments and all the holiday lights; downtown San Jose’s Winter Wonderland continues on as a family-friendly, festive balm for thousands of people.

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But for those of us who are still interested in cozying up to a holiday-themed bar before the holiday weekend, there’s still time to check out any one (or all) of these five Bay Area pop-up bars.

Après Village @ Palo Alto’s Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley

For some upscale Aspen-like getaway (sans the expensive plane ticket), the Four Seasons Hotel in Silicon Valley has again transformed the Quattro Terrace into a winter wonderland — complete with mini-chalets, white LED holiday lights, and even a life-size snow globe. There, too, is multiple small gas-lit fire pits to gather around. Don’t forget about the s’mores and hot holiday-themed drinks.

// 2050 University Avenue, fourseasons.com/siliconvalley

Miracle On 1st @ San Jose’s Paper Planes

San Jose’s foremost Christmas-themed pop-up bar Miracle On First is being held at  San Jose’s Paper Planes this year, decking the halls and bar tops with all sorts of ornaments. The loft list of holiday cocktails includes aptly named drinks like the Bad Santa (aged Jamaican rum, velvet falernum, mixed spiced butter, oat milk, and nutmeg) and the SanTaRex (Blanco tequila, mezcal, melon liqueur, almond orgeat, lime, and tiki bitters). Patrons can also enjoy a wide array of bar foods that covers everything from traditional potato fries to bone marrow served atop a celery salad.

// 72 South 1st Street, paperplanesj.com

Miracle On Telegraph @ Oakland’s The Double Standard

While San Jose’s Miracle pop-up is an over-the-top take on a Christmas bar, Miracle On Telegraph is a tad more muted. Hosted at the Double Standard, the various strung white Christmas lights shine and shimmer, backdropped by the bar’s outdoor patio murals. If you can, try to find a booth underneath the towering artificial trees that are wrapped with blue LED lights.

//2424 Telegraph Avenue, doublestandardbar.com; open Sunday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Friday from Saturday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Deck the Halls @ San Francisco’s Hungry I

Deck the Halls Bar has grown into something of a holiday staple over the past few years. For 2021, the holiday pop-up bar is at North Beach’s Hungry I — where patrons can find wrapping paper-covered walls, tons of holiday lights, and numerous Christmas trees to admire ornaments from. The Krampus shots —  stout, egg, sherry, rum, agave, and served with a quick huff of tiki fire — are a must-get, as is the Snow Globe (vodka, bubble rose water, aperitif wine, citrus).

// 546 Broadway, deckthehallsbar.com; Monday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to  2 a.m., Saturday 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Tinsel Time @ San Francisco’s Trader Routes

Opened in June of this year, Trade Routes became one of yet another growing number of eateries and watering holes popping up along Polk Street — and until January 9, the new bar will host its holiday-themed pop-up, Tinsel Time. The usual seasonal tropes (holiday-themed drinks, holiday music, and bar shelves that contain both liquor bottles and Christmas tree ornaments) are all accounted for, including unique offerings like shareable punch bowls fit for at least four drinkers. The Suave Santa. (whiskey, sherry, Benedictine, and chocolate bitters) is a simple, straightforward concoction that will absolutely make whatever case of Holiday Blues you’re experiencing melt away.

// 1750 Polk Street, traderoutesbar.com; Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.