Mistletoe Tavern Pop-Up Serves Holiday Cocktails Downtown
Bring a crowd and load up on carbs before stopping by for stiff cups of Christmas cheer at this temporary bar.
left to right: Christmas Cocoa, Nativity nog and Christmas old fashioned.
Photo: KAtrina Valcourt
If A Christmas Story turned into a bar, the Mistletoe Tavern would be it. Not just because there are a few small leg lamps hanging from the ceiling. We didn’t actually see anyone shoot their eye out or get their tongue stuck to an icy pole while waiting for drinks. It’s more because the pop-up Christmas bar features gritty, tongue-in-cheek seasonal décor and a menu of stiff holiday-inspired cocktails that could mean you’ll end the night among the presents under the Christmas tree.
The bar has been set up in the old Indigo space. Managing editor Katrina Valcourt and I walked in at 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, too early for pau hana apparently, because it was just us and two beer-drinking guys sitting at the small bar listening to ’90s garage-band rock. There are fun Christmas activities including photo props and backdrop, an Elf cutout and a Naughty and Nice list waiting for you to write on, but you need a big group of festive drinkers to make it fun.
Going solo in the photobooth.
Really though, we were there for the drinks. The tavern is run by the same team as Sin Lounge. The menu consists of seven cocktails ($10–$15 each), three shots ($8–$10 each) and a punch that serves four priced at $30. The only snack on the list is a gingerbread house kit that you can build while working your way to intoxication. Outside food is allowed. We ordered three drinks and a shot from the Mrs. Claus-costumed server and waited for our holiday cheer.
The drinks came quickly in red paper and plastic cups and after a round of obligatory photo taking, we dove in. With price tags topping out at $15 we were expecting generous pours—and we got them. Katrina’s favorite was the Nativity Nog, eggnog made with Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg. The nog had quite a bit of rum, so the drink felt less heavy than the rich stuff you sip at parties but wasn’t watery. I expected to favor the Cocoa Christmas, hot chocolate with your choice of Smirnoff vanilla or peppermint, topped with marshmallow whipped cream. It was a perfectly nice spiked hot chocolate, but I found myself finishing off the sippable First Christmas Old Fashioned. I usually think Old Fashioneds are too strong, but this version, with Bulleit Bourbon, gingerbread syrup and bitters, was lighter and even a bit effervescent.
The tavern can seat about 50 people comfortably. more if you donʻt mind being elbow-to-elbow.
Photo: Christi Young
We also ordered a shot—it was 5 p.m. on a weekday, so why not? The Bailey’s Gingerbread Man is a mix of Bailey’s Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, Smirnoff vanilla and hazelnut liqueur. Katrina tasted mostly Bailey’s in the supersized shot—almost a double—not so much gingerbread. It was still a nice, smooth sip.
When we left at 5:45 p.m., the crowd had surged to five people. We would definitely go back, with ugly sweaters, a rowdy group and a couple of pizzas.