Don your ugly sweater for intensely festive decor and hot drinks at Deck the Halls. (Courtesy of arl.os)

Deck the Halls pop-up bar is your basic boozy Christmas fantasy/nightmare

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Yuletide cocktails with a certain festive flare are on offer, and in some cases on fire, at the annual pop-up bar Deck the Halls.

All the holiday tropes are in check at the TenderNob space, which looks a bit like a still life montage of every scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.


Deck the Halls is a dizzying vortex of peppermint swirls, wintry Disney dreamscapes, evergreens embellished with chromatic toppers, and string lights galore. A Santa suit-red neon sign reads "Sleigh All Day," and it's all set to a soundtrack like "A Very Freedia Christmazz." In other words, this is an Instagramer's dream—or your very own nightmare before Christmas if you happen to be a total Grinch.

It's also a drinker's fantasy, with a Kris Kringle's bag full of cocktails—devised by bar industry vets including Ken Luciano (Wildhawk, Tropical Thunder) and Jason Raffin (Comstock Saloon)—all with cheeky names: Yellow Snow (Hennessy Cognac, orgeat, orange liqueur, lemon) and Rudolph's Root Beer Flip (Smooth Ambler bourbon, root beer agave, sherry, whole egg, angostura bitters) are just two of 15 specialty drinks on the list.

We also tasted the Coquito, a Bacardi Cuatro rum and coconut nog situation poured into a halved coconut and garnished with a paper umbrella; the Lil Cocoa, a dangerously strong adult cocoa spiked with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal; and The Nutcracker, made of Dewar's Scotch, sweet vermouth, fernet, and pecan orgeat and served in traditional glassware.


But these are the tame refreshments of little old ladies compared to some of the other boozy offerings here. We spotted some spirited 30-somethings drinking Let It Snows—Tito's vodka with citrus, cardamom tincture, and seltzer poured into inverted screw-top bulbs meant to mimic snow globes. Meanwhile, cocktails were being set aflame at the other end of the bar.

Deck the Halls also has a charitable bent in the spirit of the holidays. Bring a donation of an unopened toy for the Toys for Tots bin. In return for your generosity, you'll receive a complementary order of tater tots. (Other finger-friendly snack foods are also available.)

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Deck the Halls will be open through Dec. 28 2019; 1217 Sutter St. (TenderNob), deckthehallsbar.com.


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