It’s the most wonderful time … for a beer. So, get out of the cold and into a nice, warm holiday pop-up bar!
Griswold’s at ShuBrew, 205 South Main St., Zelienople
Kick-off your fun, old-fashioned family Christmas by heading to Butler County in the old, front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols: beer.
ShuBrew has a rooftop holiday pop-up bar called Griswold’s that is worth the trip up north. Operating hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through the rest of the year.
Named after the family from the yuletide classic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” the spot opened on Black Friday to add extra merriment to the holiday shopping season along Main Street. I mean, it wouldn’t be the Christmas drinking season if the breweries were any less hooter – hotter – than they are.
In addition to seasonal brews, including a Cindy Lou Shu Belgian Dark Ale conditioned on figs, which will be released on draft on Dec. 17, Griswold’s serves festive cocktails. Drinks include The Nog, Threshold of Hell, Leave You for Dead, A Bit Nipply and Mele Kaliki-Vodka.
The outdoor space has heaters, but you should dress warmly. Before the holiday cheer leaves here next month, ShuBrew will host a ticketed New Year’s Eve Karaoke Party on Dec. 31 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. “Deck the halls with boughs of holly … take it, Russ!”
While you’re there, grab a ShuBrew ornament made by The Polished Pine to hang on your honey of a tree as a thymbol of the thpirit of the Griswold family Christhmath. It’s way better than a one-year membership in the Jelly of the Month Club.
Christmas Vacation at The Oaklander Hotel, 5130 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland
Back in the Burgh, that ain’t the friggin’ Christmas Star, Grizz, it’s the Oaklander Hotel’s “Christmas Vacation” pop-up bar. The attraction is located on the 10th floor and will run like Rudolph from 5 to 10 p.m. on Dec. 17 and 18. Guests, who are encouraged to reserve their space online, will enjoy Griswoldian photo opps, over-the-top décor and themed cocktails. Valet parking is available for your RV.
Follow the 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights to the main ball room’s cash bar.
Beverages include Aunt Bethany’s Jello (cranberry reduction, vodka, Lucky Charms cereal), the Uncle Lewis’ Old Fashion (pine simple syrup, orange slice, sugared cranberries, cinnamon stick, bourbon, bitters) and the Reindeer in the Sky (vodka, lime, rosemary, cranberry reduction, ginger beer).
Top it off with Ellen’s Family Snacks, a trio of appetizers. Save the neck for me, Clark.S
Miracle on Liberty, 705 Liberty Ave., Downtown
Mixologist Spencer Warren is a miracle worker in every sense of the word.
For years, he’s transformed empty storefronts into floor-to-ceiling explosions of holiday cheer. Now that Halloween is over and the creepy Cocktails from the Crypt decorations are buried for another year, the Liberty Avenue site is gearing up for St. Nick.
Miracle will be open every day (no reservations necessary) from Nov. 26 through Dec. 31. While there won’t be igloos for outdoor seating, you can come inside and enjoy signature drinks in festive glassware. Please don’t be a Grinch and steal your glass; they are available for purchase.
Jingle Bar, 25 Market Square
For the fourth year in a row, Jingle Bar is back in Market Square. This season, it occupies the former Perlé space. There will be local DJs every weekend as well as live music and karaoke. It opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and at noon Saturdays and Sundays.
Raise a glass to the Griswolds with a Christmas Vacation cocktail, a mix of Jagermeister, cold brew, coconut, pineapple and citrus. There’s also a Sleigh All Day made with apple cider, Prosecco, cinnamon and spice. Beer and wine is also available.
Jingle Bar’s neighbor, Slider Vibes, provides the food. Guests can scan the QR code to order and the food will be delivered directly to them.
Ruggers Pub, 40 S. 22nd St., South Side
Good Cheer, an Iron City-themed holiday takeover bar, opens on Saturday, Nov. 20 inside the rugby-inspired watering hole.
Pound some “Ahrns” or enjoy a festive cocktail by the faux fireplace. No item on the holiday drink menu goes above the $6 mark. Celebrate the savings by participating in Christmas karaoke and posing for an Instagram-worthy yuletide photo, n’at.
In addition to feeling the warmth of the season, customers can spread joy to others through on-site charity events.
From Nov. 26 through Dec. 11, bring in a book or a new, unwrapped toy (worth $10 or more) for the pub’s Good Cheer Toys for Tots drive. From Dec. 12 through Dec. 23, the collection will be focused on adults in need. The bar is asking patrons to donate gift cards valued from $10 to $20, as well as toiletries and feminine hygiene supplies that will be given to a local shelter.
Since opening in 2000, Ruggers has maintained a familial vibe and a dedication to its hometown brew. The uniforms of the Pittsburgh Forge Rugby Club, which the bar sponsors, are emblazoned with an Iron City logo.
“Ruggers Pub and Iron City have been an unbeaten duo for over two decades, and getting the opportunity to work with them to perfect our Good Cheer vision has been an absolute pleasure,” says Alex Gordon, general manager of Ruggers Pub. “The past year has shown all of us how critical meeting, greeting and socially gathering is to our well-being, and Good Cheer is the perfect setting for yinz and yours to ring in the holiday season.”
Hough’s Taproom & Brewpub, 563 Greenfield Ave., Greenfield
Ho-Ho-Hough’s is getting into the Christmas spirit so Christmas spirits can get into you!
The bar is partnering with the Hidden Media Network, a company that creates immersive pop-up experiences all over the world, to bring The Tipsy Elf to red-and-Greenfield.
Located next door to the bar in the former Copper Kettle Brewing Co. site, the 1,600-square-foot pop-up space opens on Nov. 24 and runs through Dec. 30. Check off everything on your boozy wishlist by purchasing a $15 ticket online. The pass gets you 90 minutes of festive fun, plus a cocktail.
Sessions will be offered Wednesday through Friday at 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Bob’s Garage, 1372 Freeport Rd., Blawnox
Even before holiday pop-ups were a thing, Bob’s Garage was lit.
For years, the venerable establishment has been overdoing the Christmas decorations like Clark W. Griswold Jr. after a few rum-spiked eggnogs.
Every surface is decked with tinsel and twinkle lights. Enjoy a few rounds of beer and a burger with friends … if you can find them amongst all the holiday cheer.
Ski Lodge, 435 Market St., Downtown
Pittsburgh has lots of slippery slopes in the winter but it’s safer to stick to the flatlands. Ski Lodge returns to Market Square on Friday, Nov. 19 and will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 18. You can sip hot spiked cocktails — including a Hot Toddy-style beverage created in partnership with Twisted Tea — around fire pits. On Nov. 24, the Ski Lodge crew (Creatives Drink and Market Street Grocery) are throwing an outdoor block party on Market Street from 6 to 9 p.m.
Krampus Fest, Market Square
Who or what is Krampus?
According to Central European folklore, he’s a demonic creature who captures insolent children, puts them in a sack and eats them for breakfast. In other words, he’s the anti-Santa.
Celebrate Krampusnacht on Dec. 6 from 6 to 9:30 p.m in Market Square Downtown. The free, all-ages event features live music by Sleigher, photo ops with Krampus and Straub beer specials at participating Market Square establishments.
Wigle Whiskey, Giant Eagle’s Market District, Settler’s Ridge
If you’re breaking tradition this year, bypass the liquor store.
For the first time in recent history, Pennsylvania residents will be able to purchase spirits in a grocery store. Wigle is opening a holiday pop-up shop at Giant Eagle’s Market District in Settlers Ridge. It’s open through Dec. 31. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The pop-up is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
“Market District’s continued commitment to local and craft makes this the perfect spot to pilot this Wigle Pop-Up shop,” says Wigle co-owner Meredith Meyer Grelli.
The shelves will be stocked with Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon, Pennsylvania Straight Rye, City of Champions Bourbon, and bottled cocktails, including the Wigle Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Saffron Negroni.
Limited edition Wigle holiday bottles including St. Nick Whiskey, made in partnership with Penn Brewery, and Rudolph Whiskey, made in partnership with Great Lakes Brewing Company, will be available throughout the holiday season while supplies last. Ready-to-gift whiskey box sets will be available as well.