Updated December 8, 2022. Believe it or not, the holidays are here, and so it’s now time for aptly themed restaurants, bars, and events. These pop-ups are springing up all over the region to fill our souls with joy, food, and spirits (of the boozy kind) — but only for a limited time. Whether you have just a tiny bit of holiday spirit or are craving an immersive, I-want-it-all experience, there’s something for everyone.
Here are some of the holiday-themed bars and pop-ups you can check out this month in NoVA and beyond.
Clarendon’s live music venue is decked out for the season, with over-the-top tinsel and ornaments covering nearly every surface and a full menu of themed food and drinks – including a choice of four different cereal-flavored shooters. Stop by on Fridays and Saturdays for live music, Tuesdays for karaoke, or Wednesdays to try the “Mrs. Claus fried chicken.” 2854 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Ashburn’s Sense of Thai will be chock-full of holiday cheer that not even the “grouchiest grinch” can deny. Miracle is an international pop-up cocktail bar that brings holiday décor and undeniably jolly drinks. Sip on mulled wine or hot buttered rum to warm up from the cold, or go for a classic with a twist, like the “snowball old-fashioned” with notes of gingerbread. When you’re done, take home one of Miracle’s novelty gifts – after all, who wouldn’t want to unwrap a t-rex-shaped mug on Christmas morning? 20413 Exchange St., Ashburn
Through January 1, Nationals Park has transformed into a magical evening experience, complete with the world’s largest light maze, an illuminated ice skating trail, holiday village and vendor market, kids play area, and, of course, Santa. Visitors who are over age 21 can visit the Tipsy Tree Lounge for a drink, grab a cocktail – or mocktail – in a lightbulb-shaped cup, or indulge in spiked hot chocolate and wine.
To add even more holiday magic to the experience, consider staying the night at the “Merry Monument” holiday suite at nearby Hotel Washington (515 15th St. NW), where you can surround yourself with everything that makes the holidays so joyful and cozy, like kid- and adult-friendly hot chocolate or eggnog, Christmas cookies, and a curated selection of classic holiday books and DVDs. 1500 S Capitol St. NE, Washington, DC
The Sushi Bar in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood closed for good in December 2021, but a pop-up concept has been going strong in the old space ever since. After a summertime Tiki theme and a spooky vibe for Halloween, the space will be home to “Joy on the Avenue” through the holiday season. Enjoy the jolly decorations and try out festive craft cocktails like a s’mores martini with a marshmallow garnish roasted right at the table. 2312 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
Rather than traditional green and red seasonal décor, this Navy Yard bar took inspiration from an unexpected source: Taylor Swift. Designed with the singer’s new album in mind, the décor features glittery silver and blue crystals dripping from the ceiling, making for a stunning photo backdrop. Cocktails follow along with the theme, with names like “Snow on the Beach” and “Champagne Problems” to pay homage to the pop star. 1346 Fourth St. SE, Washington, DC
Ever want to enjoy an evening in a giant snow globe? Well, you can this holiday season at Cantina Bambina, located at DC’s waterfront District Wharf. The bar will have holiday-themed snacks like “Christmas Crack” and jalapeño pimento cheese, as well as hot drinks like Mexican Hot Cocoa and fun, festive cocktails. 960 Wharf St. SW, Washington, DC
Feature image courtesy Maxwell Park DC.
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