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Buckle up for a wild Christmas ride.
Santa Baby

Sensational Holiday and Christmas Pop-Ups Around Chicago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at these bars and restaurants

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Buckle up for a wild Christmas ride.
| Santa Baby

As Thanksgiving is now in the rear view mirror, it’s officially time to break out the twinkly lights, set up Christmas trees, and bust out the ugliest red-and-green sweater around. Many of Chicago’s bars are doing the same, as more spots than ever are decking the halls with over-the-top holiday decor, special drinks in Santa mugs, festive flicks, donation opportunities, and much more. Here are 20 jolly pop-up Christmas and holiday bars across Chicagoland this holiday season.

As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Sippin’ Santa at Cortland's Garage Arlington Heights

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Suburbanites have their own Christmas pop-up bar at Cortland’s Garage in Arlington Heights. Sippin’ Santa is an outpost of the New York-based pop-up bar network from tiki legend Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, offering signature cocktails, plenty of decorations, and more through New Year’s Eve.

A Christmas Story at Hey Nonny’s

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This Arlington Heights bistro is also getting into suburban holiday fun with a tribute to seasonal film favorite A Christmas Story, complete with a flagpole, leg lamp, and Red Ryder BB gun. Thematic menu items include Chinese Christmas Egg Rolls, Doggone Turkey (rolled with stuffing), Randy Hates Meatloaf, and a Christmas Story tart (cranberry, citrus, hazelnut crust). Wash it all down with bar concoctions such as the Triple Dog Dare (bourbon, RumChata, eggnog) and Drink Your Ovaltine (vanilla vodka, crème de menthe, cocoa). Reservations and more details are available online.

Deck the Halls at Pit & Tap

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Newish Texas-style barbecue spot Pit & Tap in suburban Wilmette is celebrating the season with an over-the-top Deck the Halls pop-up draped in tons of twinkly lights, ornaments, and tinsel. Patrons can crank up the merriment with Christmas cocktails like white peppermint martinis and spiked hot chocolate through Sunday, January 9.

A restaurant exterior entirely covered by Christmas lights. Pit & Tap

The Sixth

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Cocktail bar the Sixth has developed a reputation for creative pop-ups, and this year’s holiday entry takes a novel approach to two winter holidays: Oy to the World, a Hanukkah-meets-Christmas extravaganza. A line down the center of the bar splits the space in two sections, with one half decorated in blue and white with plenty of chanukiahs and Jewish puns, and the other decked out in colorful ornaments and tinsel. The same applies to food and drink, with options including Gin & Tanukkah (gin, blue curacao, cranberry bitters, elderflower soda) and loaded latkes ( apple sauce, horseradish cream, caviar) versus Fuck Milk and Cookies (rye, cognac, apertivo liqueur, spiced pear liqueur) and glazed ham (pineapple glaze, maraschino cherries). Reservations are available via Resy.

Santa Baby at Deuces and the Diamond Club

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One of the largest over-the-top Christmas bars, Santa Baby, is back again this year at Deuces and the Diamond Club in Wrigleyville. The popular pop-up offers multiple themed spaces and an extensive menu of kooky yuletide creations, including group-size drinks like Christmas Vacation (rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice) and Yule Mule (vodka, ginger beer, cranberry juice, lime). There are also tons of hot and boozy options, plus Christmas spins on classic cocktails and booze-free milkshakes smothered in cookies and candy. The pop-up runs through early January, and reservations are available online.

A spread of Christmas-themed milkshakes, drinks, and candies on a table surrounded by tinsel decoration. Santa Baby Bar

Elf’d Up at Stretch Bar & Grill

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Fans of the popular Will Ferrell Christmas movie Elf can flock to this pop-up for a third year. Elf’d Up’s decor pays homage to the fictional syrup-eating adult elf with more than 1,000 elves, an upside-down Christmas tree, wall quotes, and condiment carriers on every table with the “four main food groups” — candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. Naturally, the bar is touting holiday cocktails such Naughty Coffee (bourbon cream liqueur, Irish whiskey, maple syrup, caramel coffee) and the tooth-rotting Buddy’s Breakfast Pasta, a plate of spaghetti doctored up with maple syrup, chocolate fudge, and mini-marshmallows. Patrons can also munch on complimentary elf-shaped cookies nightly at 10 p.m. More details are available online.

The Christmas Club

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Another of Wrigleyville’s most popular pop-ups, Christmas Club at Country Club, is back for another year. The two-floor Christmas party includes three bars offering six naughty and nice shots, house eggnog in souvenir mugs, and snacks such as snowballs, a cheesecake sampler served in waffle cones, and “Baby Cheesus” battered cheese curds. More details are available online.

Let It Snow at Le Sud

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This Roscoe Village restaurant’s Let It Snow pop-up is a family-friendly affair with festive food and drink in its main dining room, salon, and enclosed sidewalk cafe, all decorated for the holiday. Grown-up offerings include bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys for weekend brunch, plus rosemary roasted lamb rack (fingerling potato, leek fondue, madeira jus) and an eponymous “Let It Snow” cocktail (bourbon, cocoa, vanilla whipped cream, salted bourbon brown sugar) for weekday dinner. Young diners can expect familiar hits like macaroni and cheese alongside hot cocolate and apple cider, with 23 percent of sales from the children’s menu going to Audubon Elementary School. Reservations and more details are available online.

Krampus at DMen Tap

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Krampus-themed D&D, a kids’ Krampus day, and a craft fair are just the beginning of DMen Tap’s European anti-Santa Krampus pop-up, back for another year in Avondale. A special brew from Revolution Brewing made just for the pop-up called “Fist of Krampus” will be available as well as raclette sandwiches and mulled wine (plus at-home and gift kits). Goat kebabs, a chance to tattle on friends at Krampus’s naughty wall, and more are on offer through Thursday, December 23.

A Very Harry Christmas at Replay Lincoln Park

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The pop-up afficionados at Replay Lincoln Park are bringing back a prior hit on Friday, December 10 with Hogwarts-themed A Very Harry Christmas. Details remain under wraps for the time being, but revelers can expect intricate decor for top-notch selfies and magical drinks fit for a Yule Ball. The pop-up runs through Saturday, January 1 and more details are available online.

Pilot Project Brewing

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Brewery hub Pilot Project is launching into the Christmas season with a weekly holiday movie series with beer and popcorn at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays inside its 100-seat heated patio tent. Upcoming flicks include Full Court Miracle (December 7), Home Alone (December 14), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (December 21), and Happiest Season (December 28). Reservations are available via Tock.

World’s Tiniest Tree Lot at Parson's Chicken & Fish

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Parson’s outpost in Logan Square will from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 11 host a wee fundraising pop-up, the World’s Tiniest Tree Lot. A joint effort with hard seltzer brand Half Past, the event touts complimentary mini Christmas trees, photos with Santa, and mini ornament decorating to benefit mutual aid nonprofit Love Fridge.

Holiday Cheers Bar at Good Measure

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Cocktail hotspot Good Measure has plenty in store to make the Christmas season special at its Holiday Cheers Bar pop-up, including celebratory drinks, a weekly holiday movie series, and treats for those who get into the spirit of giving. Decorated from floor to ceiling, the bar is putting out boozy delights like a Festivus Hot Toddy, Persimmon Mule, and Yuletide Martini. Diners and drinkers can also take in seasonal films like Home Alone at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in December, with popcorn and appropriate toppings. Staff are accepting new toys and new and gently used winter coats for community group People Over Profit in Humboldt Park, and giving out drink tokens in exchange for donations.

The Christmas Inn: Holidays on Hubbard Street

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River North nightclub Hubbard Inn aims to delight celebrants with three floors of Christmas cheer, from a classical Christmas wonderland to a 1960s-inspired “kitchmas” to a spooky yuletide “Christmas apocalypse.” Patrons can explore each level of holiday madness while sipping hot and cold drinks such as egg nog and apple whiskey sours and partake in a range of activities like gingerbread house and ornament decorating and holiday trivia night with prizes. The pop-up runs through Thursday, December 30. Reservations and more details are available online.

Winter Wonderland at JoJo's Shake Bar

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Decadent milkshake purveyor Jojo’s Shake Bar has popped up with a heated Winter Wonderland tent in River North to thrill patrons of all ages with a huge display of oversized presents, a massive tree, and other festive decorations. Over-the-top treats include a Santa’s Milk and Cookies Flight and a cookie-studded peppermint Winter Wonderland shake, with special adult selections like Santa’s Sangria and Jingle Juice. Celebrations run through Monday, January 17, and reservations are available via OpenTable.

Santa’s Bar

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The party experts behind Bandit and Radio Room has transformed its flexible Blank’s Bar space in River North into Santa’s Bar, a Christmas destination dolled up in lights and glittery ornaments. Revelers can bask in the holiday glow with special cocktails like Santa Baby (silver tequila, amaretto, hot chocolate, marshmallow) in a $6 keepsake mug and the Polar Express (vodka, Kahlúa, Rumplemintz, crushed candy cane rim).

Secret Sand-ta at Time Out Market Chicago

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Secret Sand-ta — the new Christmasy incarnation of tropical-themed speakeasy-style bar Secret Sound from Paul McGee and Shelby Allison (Lost Lake) — is slinging rummy and fruity takes on winter classics at Fulton Market food hall Time Out Market Chicago. Head to the market’s second floor for a Banana Xmas Tree (Jamaican rum, spiced butter banana liqueur), Silent Night Zombie Night (amaro, spices, lime juice, grapefruit, star anise), and more.

Fairmont Lodge at Fairmont Chicago

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This hotel in Millennium Park has unveiled its holiday pop-up Fairmont Lodge, decking the halls with tons of light-covered trees and indoor fire pits. It also is offering chances to give back: a portion of sales from the Lodge’s egg nog cocktail will go to the Service Club of Chicago, and some proceeds from its All I Want for Christmas is You” LGBTQ singles event on Thursday, December 16 will go to Howard Brown.

Happy’s at Chicago Athletic Association

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The Chicago Athletic Association hotel has brought back Happy’s, its popular pop-up bar on the ground floor on Michigan Avenue. Expect top-notch holiday cocktails, decked-out decor, and belly-warming bites like dry-aged beef chili. Take in the sounds of the season at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 18 with performances of Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Tim Stine Jazz Quartet. Happy’s is open through Thursday, December 23.

A white mug with red lettering reads “There’s Booze in Here” beside a few small Santa figurines. Chicago Athletic Association

Eat Local Holiday Pop-Up Market at Revival Food Hall

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Revival Food Hall in the Loop has plenty of goodies and gifts in store for Chicagoans as they prepare for Christmas. The Eat Local Holiday Pop-Up Market, slated for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 10 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, will feature a menagerie of treats from local chefs and businesses like Stephanie Izard, Edward Kim, All Together Now, and more than 30 other Chicago-area vendors. Free registration and a full list of participants are available online.

Sippin’ Santa at Cortland's Garage Arlington Heights

Suburbanites have their own Christmas pop-up bar at Cortland’s Garage in Arlington Heights. Sippin’ Santa is an outpost of the New York-based pop-up bar network from tiki legend Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, offering signature cocktails, plenty of decorations, and more through New Year’s Eve.

A Christmas Story at Hey Nonny’s

This Arlington Heights bistro is also getting into suburban holiday fun with a tribute to seasonal film favorite A Christmas Story, complete with a flagpole, leg lamp, and Red Ryder BB gun. Thematic menu items include Chinese Christmas Egg Rolls, Doggone Turkey (rolled with stuffing), Randy Hates Meatloaf, and a Christmas Story tart (cranberry, citrus, hazelnut crust). Wash it all down with bar concoctions such as the Triple Dog Dare (bourbon, RumChata, eggnog) and Drink Your Ovaltine (vanilla vodka, crème de menthe, cocoa). Reservations and more details are available online.

Deck the Halls at Pit & Tap

Newish Texas-style barbecue spot Pit & Tap in suburban Wilmette is celebrating the season with an over-the-top Deck the Halls pop-up draped in tons of twinkly lights, ornaments, and tinsel. Patrons can crank up the merriment with Christmas cocktails like white peppermint martinis and spiked hot chocolate through Sunday, January 9.

A restaurant exterior entirely covered by Christmas lights. Pit & Tap

The Sixth

Cocktail bar the Sixth has developed a reputation for creative pop-ups, and this year’s holiday entry takes a novel approach to two winter holidays: Oy to the World, a Hanukkah-meets-Christmas extravaganza. A line down the center of the bar splits the space in two sections, with one half decorated in blue and white with plenty of chanukiahs and Jewish puns, and the other decked out in colorful ornaments and tinsel. The same applies to food and drink, with options including Gin & Tanukkah (gin, blue curacao, cranberry bitters, elderflower soda) and loaded latkes ( apple sauce, horseradish cream, caviar) versus Fuck Milk and Cookies (rye, cognac, apertivo liqueur, spiced pear liqueur) and glazed ham (pineapple glaze, maraschino cherries). Reservations are available via Resy.

Santa Baby at Deuces and the Diamond Club

One of the largest over-the-top Christmas bars, Santa Baby, is back again this year at Deuces and the Diamond Club in Wrigleyville. The popular pop-up offers multiple themed spaces and an extensive menu of kooky yuletide creations, including group-size drinks like Christmas Vacation (rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice) and Yule Mule (vodka, ginger beer, cranberry juice, lime). There are also tons of hot and boozy options, plus Christmas spins on classic cocktails and booze-free milkshakes smothered in cookies and candy. The pop-up runs through early January, and reservations are available online.

A spread of Christmas-themed milkshakes, drinks, and candies on a table surrounded by tinsel decoration. Santa Baby Bar

Elf’d Up at Stretch Bar & Grill

Fans of the popular Will Ferrell Christmas movie Elf can flock to this pop-up for a third year. Elf’d Up’s decor pays homage to the fictional syrup-eating adult elf with more than 1,000 elves, an upside-down Christmas tree, wall quotes, and condiment carriers on every table with the “four main food groups” — candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. Naturally, the bar is touting holiday cocktails such Naughty Coffee (bourbon cream liqueur, Irish whiskey, maple syrup, caramel coffee) and the tooth-rotting Buddy’s Breakfast Pasta, a plate of spaghetti doctored up with maple syrup, chocolate fudge, and mini-marshmallows. Patrons can also munch on complimentary elf-shaped cookies nightly at 10 p.m. More details are available online.

The Christmas Club

Another of Wrigleyville’s most popular pop-ups, Christmas Club at Country Club, is back for another year. The two-floor Christmas party includes three bars offering six naughty and nice shots, house eggnog in souvenir mugs, and snacks such as snowballs, a cheesecake sampler served in waffle cones, and “Baby Cheesus” battered cheese curds. More details are available online.

Let It Snow at Le Sud

This Roscoe Village restaurant’s Let It Snow pop-up is a family-friendly affair with festive food and drink in its main dining room, salon, and enclosed sidewalk cafe, all decorated for the holiday. Grown-up offerings include bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys for weekend brunch, plus rosemary roasted lamb rack (fingerling potato, leek fondue, madeira jus) and an eponymous “Let It Snow” cocktail (bourbon, cocoa, vanilla whipped cream, salted bourbon brown sugar) for weekday dinner. Young diners can expect familiar hits like macaroni and cheese alongside hot cocolate and apple cider, with 23 percent of sales from the children’s menu going to Audubon Elementary School. Reservations and more details are available online.

Krampus at DMen Tap

Krampus-themed D&D, a kids’ Krampus day, and a craft fair are just the beginning of DMen Tap’s European anti-Santa Krampus pop-up, back for another year in Avondale. A special brew from Revolution Brewing made just for the pop-up called “Fist of Krampus” will be available as well as raclette sandwiches and mulled wine (plus at-home and gift kits). Goat kebabs, a chance to tattle on friends at Krampus’s naughty wall, and more are on offer through Thursday, December 23.

A Very Harry Christmas at Replay Lincoln Park

The pop-up afficionados at Replay Lincoln Park are bringing back a prior hit on Friday, December 10 with Hogwarts-themed A Very Harry Christmas. Details remain under wraps for the time being, but revelers can expect intricate decor for top-notch selfies and magical drinks fit for a Yule Ball. The pop-up runs through Saturday, January 1 and more details are available online.

Pilot Project Brewing

Brewery hub Pilot Project is launching into the Christmas season with a weekly holiday movie series with beer and popcorn at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays inside its 100-seat heated patio tent. Upcoming flicks include Full Court Miracle (December 7), Home Alone (December 14), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (December 21), and Happiest Season (December 28). Reservations are available via Tock.

World’s Tiniest Tree Lot at Parson's Chicken & Fish

Parson’s outpost in Logan Square will from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 11 host a wee fundraising pop-up, the World’s Tiniest Tree Lot. A joint effort with hard seltzer brand Half Past, the event touts complimentary mini Christmas trees, photos with Santa, and mini ornament decorating to benefit mutual aid nonprofit Love Fridge.

Holiday Cheers Bar at Good Measure

Cocktail hotspot Good Measure has plenty in store to make the Christmas season special at its Holiday Cheers Bar pop-up, including celebratory drinks, a weekly holiday movie series, and treats for those who get into the spirit of giving. Decorated from floor to ceiling, the bar is putting out boozy delights like a Festivus Hot Toddy, Persimmon Mule, and Yuletide Martini. Diners and drinkers can also take in seasonal films like Home Alone at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in December, with popcorn and appropriate toppings. Staff are accepting new toys and new and gently used winter coats for community group People Over Profit in Humboldt Park, and giving out drink tokens in exchange for donations.

The Christmas Inn: Holidays on Hubbard Street

River North nightclub Hubbard Inn aims to delight celebrants with three floors of Christmas cheer, from a classical Christmas wonderland to a 1960s-inspired “kitchmas” to a spooky yuletide “Christmas apocalypse.” Patrons can explore each level of holiday madness while sipping hot and cold drinks such as egg nog and apple whiskey sours and partake in a range of activities like gingerbread house and ornament decorating and holiday trivia night with prizes. The pop-up runs through Thursday, December 30. Reservations and more details are available online.

Winter Wonderland at JoJo's Shake Bar

Decadent milkshake purveyor Jojo’s Shake Bar has popped up with a heated Winter Wonderland tent in River North to thrill patrons of all ages with a huge display of oversized presents, a massive tree, and other festive decorations. Over-the-top treats include a Santa’s Milk and Cookies Flight and a cookie-studded peppermint Winter Wonderland shake, with special adult selections like Santa’s Sangria and Jingle Juice. Celebrations run through Monday, January 17, and reservations are available via OpenTable.

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Santa’s Bar

The party experts behind Bandit and Radio Room has transformed its flexible Blank’s Bar space in River North into Santa’s Bar, a Christmas destination dolled up in lights and glittery ornaments. Revelers can bask in the holiday glow with special cocktails like Santa Baby (silver tequila, amaretto, hot chocolate, marshmallow) in a $6 keepsake mug and the Polar Express (vodka, Kahlúa, Rumplemintz, crushed candy cane rim).

Secret Sand-ta at Time Out Market Chicago

Secret Sand-ta — the new Christmasy incarnation of tropical-themed speakeasy-style bar Secret Sound from Paul McGee and Shelby Allison (Lost Lake) — is slinging rummy and fruity takes on winter classics at Fulton Market food hall Time Out Market Chicago. Head to the market’s second floor for a Banana Xmas Tree (Jamaican rum, spiced butter banana liqueur), Silent Night Zombie Night (amaro, spices, lime juice, grapefruit, star anise), and more.

Fairmont Lodge at Fairmont Chicago

This hotel in Millennium Park has unveiled its holiday pop-up Fairmont Lodge, decking the halls with tons of light-covered trees and indoor fire pits. It also is offering chances to give back: a portion of sales from the Lodge’s egg nog cocktail will go to the Service Club of Chicago, and some proceeds from its All I Want for Christmas is You” LGBTQ singles event on Thursday, December 16 will go to Howard Brown.

Happy’s at Chicago Athletic Association

The Chicago Athletic Association hotel has brought back Happy’s, its popular pop-up bar on the ground floor on Michigan Avenue. Expect top-notch holiday cocktails, decked-out decor, and belly-warming bites like dry-aged beef chili. Take in the sounds of the season at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 18 with performances of Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Tim Stine Jazz Quartet. Happy’s is open through Thursday, December 23.

A white mug with red lettering reads “There’s Booze in Here” beside a few small Santa figurines. Chicago Athletic Association

Eat Local Holiday Pop-Up Market at Revival Food Hall

Revival Food Hall in the Loop has plenty of goodies and gifts in store for Chicagoans as they prepare for Christmas. The Eat Local Holiday Pop-Up Market, slated for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 10 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, will feature a menagerie of treats from local chefs and businesses like Stephanie Izard, Edward Kim, All Together Now, and more than 30 other Chicago-area vendors. Free registration and a full list of participants are available online.

Related Maps