It’s holiday pop-up season, and celebrants can never get enough holly, bells and elves.
But festive décor is no longer limited to malls and retail stores. Restaurants are also sprinkling holiday cheer in their communities.
Jingle Bar at Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen
Last year, the holiday theme was limited to the Delaware Avenue restaurant’s rear patio, which has an outdoor bar.
However, the holiday pop-up was so well-loved that the entire restaurant is participating this year. “The team went all out this time,” said co-owner Lee Mikles.
The drink menu includes The Glittery Grinch (white wine, Patron Citronge, fresh fruit, white cranberry juice and ginger ale) and Rudolph’s Nightcap (1792 Bourbon, maple syrup, Angostura bitters and cinnamon).
The hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The seasonal pop-up at 220 W. Ninth St.— Pochi’s old space in downtown Wilmington—is owned by Mike Day, who also has The Farmer & the Cow on Market Street.
Delaware uber-designer Dallas Shaw decorated the pop-up as a fashionable abode for Santa’s head reindeer.
This year, Blitzen has a full kitchen to turn out noshes. “Small bites—nothing crazy,” Day explained.
Enjoy Blitzen while you can. Eventually, Day would like to put a permanent concept in the space.
The hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight until Dec. 23. After that date, many people spend time with family, Day said.
The Naughty List at Maker’s Alley
Through December, Maker’s Alley in downtown Wilmington and its signature Airstream kitchen will dress up for the holidays. Along with lights, the outdoor eatery will salute the holiday’s loveable anti-heroes, including the Grinch and Buddy the Elf.
The cocktail list will include Mule-tide, a cranberry and smoked rosemary mule, and Sweater Weather, a whiskey-lemon drink with house-infused maple-cinnamon syrup. for this year’s holiday pop-up.
Maker’s is open Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. to midnight.
A holiday tradition since 2019, The Sleigh Bar at Klondike Kate’s in Newark sports a Santa-worthy sleigh, which provides a photo opp for countless selfies.
Although the Main Street restaurant boasts enough glitter and tinsel to outfit a flock of showgirls, Santa will be the star on No. 29, Dec.6, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
As for the menu, try the Candy Cane Caprese—grape tomatoes and marinated mozzarella balls—or holiday eggrolls with turkey, gravy, stuffing and cranberry relish.
The downtown Newark restaurant has transformed the second-floor lounge into a themed pop-up each month.
For instance, in October, there were pink drinks and rosy décor to note Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
So, expect a winter wonderland in December.
Meanwhile, Santa is coming for brunch on Dec. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
LIT Holiday Bar at Delaware Park Casino & Racing
The holiday bar is open on the second floor from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and a DJ will spin tunes on select dates.
The Reindeer Room at Volunteer Brewing Co.
Starting Dec.1, the festive Reindeer Room will occupy the Middletown brewery’s second floor during regular. Expect specialty cocktails and brews.
Downstairs, Volunteer features a pop-up coffee shop in December on Friday and Monday mornings. The local mobile truck Rhythm & Brews will sell coffee and pastries.
Last year, Above the Dunes on the boardwalk block of Rehoboth Avenue was part of a national holiday promotion.
This year, the restaurant with the killer view is flying solo by transforming the dining room into the North Pole for a holiday pop-up.
The restaurant is participating in the Santa Bar Crawl on Dec. 2, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and it will throw the Tito’s Ugly Sweater Contest on Dec. 9, from 7 p.m. until close.
Above the Dunes will offer a complementary food and drink menu throughout the holiday season, including Coffee Eggnog with Monkey Shoulder, St. Georges Coffee Liqueur, house-made eggnog and cinnamon.
Yuletide Cantina holiday pop-up at Big Chill Surf Cantina
Delaware’s newest holiday-themed pop-up bar doesn’t stray too far from its beachy vibe;
Big Chill Surf Cantina is hosting a Baja, Mexico, celebration.
The Route 1 restaurant in Rehoboth sports décor inside and out and from floor to ceiling. Holiday libations include the Sugar Cookie Martini, Cranberry Mule and White Christmas Margarita. (The taproom does not serve food.)
There is holiday trivia on Wednesdays, and artisans come on Thursdays. Dress in your Kris Kringle finery for the SantaCon party on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m.
Buddy the Elf Takeover at Crooked Hammock Brewery
The Middletown and Lewes locations of this laid-back brewpub have been taken over by Buddy the Elf, Will Ferrell’s character in the movie “Elf,” for their holiday pop-ups.
The décor includes paper snowflakes, chains and snowballs. Even the ceiling is adorned with holiday finery, and the restaurant’s guests can add to the decorations with the on-site craft supplies.
Buddy’s spaghetti breakfast is now a beer, a sweet and sour ale with maple syrup, blueberries, Pop-Tarts, and, yes, spaghetti. Proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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