It’s going to be a long, cold winter. Luckily, holiday pop-ups are here to warm your heart and raise your spirits during this lump-of-coal year. Bundle up, wear a mask (a great defense against the wind chill!) and enjoy the festive vibes in these socially distant yet cozy spots.
Fir Junction, 5523 Penn Ave., East Liberty
Following the success of the Lagerlands Socially Distant Beer Garden, which just wrapped up its season at The Highline, Hop Culture Magazine founder Kenny Gould is moving the party indoors.
The winter-themed Fir Junction runs through Jan. 31 in a space behind Richard DeShantz’s restaurant Fish nor Fowl, which is temporarily closed due to Covid. There is seating for 35 inside and 65 outside in heated igloos. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Reservations are required and can be made online. Children are allowed, but dogs must stay at home.
Guests can enjoy the ski lodge ambiance and a rotating selection of beer and cider from some of the best craft breweries in the country, including local suds makers Cinderlands Beer Co., Dancing Gnome and the soon-to-open Necromancer Brewing Co. A curated selection of wines and signature cocktails will also be available.
In addition to boozy offerings, Fir Junction will serve seasonal dishes whipped up by chef Jamilka Borges, who also is using the Fish nor Fowl space to preview Wild Child, her new restaurant coming to Etna in 2021. Wild Child’s three-course meals, featuring wine and cocktail pairings from Meghan Washington and Jenn Parks (formerly of Spoon), start Nov. 12 and run 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. A Sunday brunch is in the works, too.
Jingle Bar at the Original Oyster House, 20 Market Square, Downtown
Jingle Bar opens Nov. 27 in Market Square’s Original Oyster House and will deliver holiday cheer 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. In addition to wall-to-wall decorations, guests can enjoy a festive cocktail menu that includes Russian Reindeer, vodka, lime, rosemary, cranberry reduction and ginger beer and Silent Night, a concoction of Bombay Sapphire, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, lemon and honey.
Food options (which you must order with booze) include chicken skewers, veggie skewkers, Christmas chili, Enrico Biscotti and house-made potato chips.
Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare Cider House at Bakery Square, 172 Bakery Square Blvd., East Liberty
Need to buy gifts for relatives 21 and older? Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare Cider House & Meadery have a one-stop, holiday-themed bottle shop now open at Bakery Square.
The 1,000-square-foot storefront, between Anthropologie and Free People, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday through Nov. 25. From Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Eve, it will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Shoppers can pick up their Wigle and Threadbare favorites, including bottles of ready-to-drink rye and bourbon Old Fashioned. There are in-store discounts on select products, such as Cinnamon Whiskey and Sweet Peach Cider.
To celebrate the release of its new Gingerbread Cider on Nov. 27, Threadbare will host a virtual gingerbread competition. Before 6 p.m. on Black Friday, post a picture of your creation on Facebook or Instagram and tag the company (bonus points if you include a Threadbare bottle in the shot). Head cider maker Brian Bolzan and Threadbare’s pastry experts will judge the photos and announce three winners on Dec. 2. First place receives a $20 gift card and two bottles of gingerbread cider, second place gets two bottles of gingerbread cider and third place will take home a bottle of the new beverage.
Good Cheer at Ruggers Pub, 40 S. 22nd Street, South Side
Pittsburgh Brewing Co. and Ruggers Pub are teaming up to bring you Good Cheer, a Iron City and IC Light Holiday Takeover Bar. The festivities start Nov. 21 at the rugby-themed watering hole and run through the end of the year. Hours are 3 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday.
The yuletide tavern will feature affordable offerings (no item is over $6) and staff members will be collecting non-perishable goods and monetary donations for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
“2020 has been a wild ride for everyone and we look at this as the perfect opportunity to close out the year on the highest possible note,” says Alex Gordon, Ruggers Pub manager. “We’ve been raising Irons for 20 years at Ruggers and we couldn’t be more excited to work with a brand that has become synonymous with our bar, our Rugby team and our city.”
Rick Sebak’s Rockin’ Christmas Cabana at Hidden Harbor/The Independent Brewing Company, 1708 Shady Ave., Squirrel Hill
Every Wednesday until Christmas, Rick Sebak, Pittsburgh’s beloved writer, producer and all-around jolly guy, will play eclectic holiday tunes from his record collection. The shared back patio at Squirrel Hill’s Hidden Harbor and The Independent Brewing Company will boast tents, heaters and festive flamingos, along with special drink menus. Guests must make a reservation to order seasonal drafts, hot beverages and new holiday-themed tiki cocktails featuring flavors like rosemary, cranberry and brown butter. Snacks and sandwiches as well as scratch-made chicken pot pie. All items, including cocktails, are available for takeout.
For those who can’t join in person, the full menu of food and drinks (including made-to-order Hidden Harbor cocktails) is available for takeout and Sebak’s set also will stream via Rick Sebak’s DJ set will also stream via Twitch.
Miracle on 6th, 136 Sixth Street, Downtown
Pittsburgh mixologist Spencer Warren and his merry band of elves are delivering the goods again this year, complete with private igloos and a sidewalk shop for to-go cocktails.
“It’s definitely something we all need right so there was never a question of whether or not we were opening, just a question of where,” Warren says.
Miracle on 6th will open in the former Pork & Beans location on Nov. 27 and will run through New Year’s Eve. Hours are 4 to 11 p.m. each day. Reservations are mandatory and can soon be made online via Instagram with Miracle and The Warren Neighborhood Bar.
The space will be decked, floor to ceiling, with the holiday bric-a-brac Warren has amassed over the years (he won’t be accepting decoration donations this holiday season though). In 2019, the decorations were split between two locations. The new site is larger and can accommodate guests comfortably while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Three igloos will be set up on the street in front of Miracle. Due to Covid regulations, all patrons must purchase food — charcuterie, poutine, sandwiches and salads supplied by The Warren Neighborhood Bar — with their beverages.
In a rush? You can grab signature drinks to go in the outdoor shop, along with glassware, T-shirts, bar accessories and more.
Last year, the pop-up raised $30,000 for 412 Food Rescue and The Alexis Joy Foundation. It’ll try to top that figure in 2020.
Warren promises visitors will get a hearty dose of cheer at Miracle on 6th.
“We love to see the look on people’s faces when they first see the space,” he says. “We say it every year but this one is going to be epic!”