Three Holiday Pop-Ups to Visit at Boston-Area Bars This Month

Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and winter vibes with decorations and themed cocktails galore.

A cocktail garnished with copious mint and an umbrella is served in a mug shaped like Santa's pants and boots. A Christmas tree is visible in the background.

Miracle’s Yippie Ki Yay cocktail. / Photo by Melissa Hom

Welcome to Three to Try. At the end of the week, we share three restaurant or dish recommendations for the weekend—sometimes new, sometimes old, always delicious. 

December is here, and even though there’s a nearly-60-degree day in the forecast for this weekend, winter is on the horizon—and so are the holidays. It might be a little while before we see actual snow, but in the meantime, we can get into the holiday spirit with these Christmas- and Hanukkah-themed pop-ups at local bars. Here are three annual favorites that are back again and worth checking out in the coming days.

Miracle at Marlowe and Mystic Station

Born in New York City in 2014, this Christmas cocktail pop-up has expanded to bars throughout the world, filling them with kitschy décor and a themed cocktail list from late November through late December. A couple of Boston-area spots are participating again this year—the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge and Mystic Station in Malden. (Farther from the city, you can also find it at Central Tavern in Milford.)

To drink, there are hot cocktails like mulled wine and hot buttered rum, plus plenty of cheekily named drinks like Grandma Got Run Over by a T-Rex and naughty and nice shots. (Mystic Station is also featuring a good selection of mocktails.) And there’s plenty of food, too: The Marlowe is offering some light bites at the pop-up—or consider springing for the overnight package that includes a stay at the hotel and a $50 credit for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Bambara, plus cocktails at Miracle as a nightcap. Mystic Station’s extensive comfort-food menu includes lots of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more, plus a very winter-y peppermint-stick brownie sundae.

Neither location is taking reservations for regular visits, but contact each directly to inquire about private event bookings. Swing by Miracle at Marlowe through December 24 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday) and Mystic Station through the end of the year on Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight (1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday).

Kimpton Marlowe Hotel, 25 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge, 617-868-8000,; Mystic Station, 139 Pleasant St., Malden, 781-480-3166,

Sippin’ Santa at Shore Leave

Dating back to 2015, this pop-up—which takes up residence at bars across the country in November and December—is the “tropical sibling to Miracle,” the aforementioned Christmas bar pop-up. Sippin’ Santa partnered with tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry a few years back to bring even more magic to its offerings, and these days, you can find it in more than 40 bars during the holiday season, including Boston’s own Shore Leave, which is participating for its third year.

Shore Leave is all decked out in holiday cheer through the end of the year, featuring cocktails like the Kris Kringle Colada (dark Jamaican rum, amaro, allspice liqueur, lime, pineapple, and coconut) and the pop-up’s namesake Sippin’ Santa (aged demerara rum, amaro, lemon, orange, and gingerbread mix). The bar’s usual food menu is on offer, too, including bar bites like okonomiyaki tater tots, a karaage fried chicken sandwich, and gochujang wings, plus nigiri and sushi rolls.

Reserve online, or just show up—walk-ins are welcome. Shore Leave is open for drinks from 5 p.m. until midnight daily (1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday), and last call for food is at 10:45 p.m. Might we suggest trying to snag a reservation for No Relation, the tiny sushi counter hidden inside Shore Leave, for before or after your visit?

11 William E. Mullins Way, Boston, 617-530-1775,

Three cocktails sit on a table surrounded by gelt and a dreidle, in front of Hanukkah-themed wallpaper.

Maccabee Bar cocktails. / Photo by Carlie Febo

Maccabee Bar at Noir and Backbar

Put the fifth annual Maccabee Bar pop-up on your calendar for next week (and on). This year, the Hanukkah-themed bar, created by Boston’s own Naomi Levy (of Eastern Standard and beyond), will be popping up at two locations: Noir in Cambridge and Backbar in Somerville. (It’s actually expanding to New York, too, so tell your West Village friends to look for it at Ollie.)

Levy is bringing holiday décor to each venue, alongside a lineup of Hanukkah-themed cocktails such as the Latke Sour (apple brandy, potato, lemon, and Havana & Hyde Bitters) and the Whiskey Shamash (bourbon, fig, lemon, and mint). Latkes and other snacks will be available, as well as jelly doughnuts from Lionheart Confections.

Find Maccabee Bar at Noir from December 5 to 30 and Backbar from December 7 to 26; find details about operating days and hours on each spot’s own website (linked below). Backbar is operating on a walk-in basis—no reservations—and Noir is accepting limited reservation requests via email.

Noir (at the Charles Hotel), One Bennett St., Cambridge, 617-661-8010,; Backbar, 7 Sanborn Ct., Somerville, 617-249-3522,