It wasn’t long ago that the main “pop-ups” of the holiday season were jack-in-the-boxes and pop-up books. Now, there’s a more adult way to get your pop-up on, and it’s taking over Illinois this season. At these four bars in Chicago and beyond, you’ll find the perfect place to raise a glass at a Christmas pop-up bar with your friends and loved ones and party like you’re elves who just finished making their last present of the season.

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The next time someone asks you what’s poppin’ this Christmas, the answer won’t just be the chestnuts roasting over the open fire or the crackle of logs. You can report back from the premier pop-ups in the state and pride yourself on a holiday done right.

Meanwhile, check out the websites for these bars at the following links: Frosty’s, Home Alone Christmas Pop Up, Santa’s Cantina, and Eight Crazy Nights. 

What bars do you love that transform during the Christmas season? Leave us a comment with your favorite picks! Looking for more Christmas lights? Check out these great spots to see Christmas lights in Illinois.

Need some warm gear for the holiday season? We love the gear at North Face.

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Christmas Pop Up Bar

What is a Christmas pop-up bar?

A Christmas pop-up bar is a temporary establishment that opens specifically for the holiday season. These bars are typically characterized by their festive decorations, which often include Christmas lights, trees, tinsel, and themed ornaments. They may also feature holiday-inspired menus, offering seasonal drinks like mulled wine, eggnog, hot cider, and festive foods.

The ambiance in a Christmas pop-up bar is usually very cheerful and holiday-centric, with music and sometimes live entertainment that aligns with the Christmas theme. These pop-up bars can be temporary venues or themed takeovers of existing bars or restaurants. They provide a unique, immersive experience for guests looking to celebrate the holiday season in a fun and festive environment. The pop-up nature means they are only open for a limited time, typically from late November through December, capitalizing on the holiday spirit and the desire for seasonal activities and gatherings.

Where are the best Christmas pop-up bars in Illinois?

There are several notable Christmas pop-up bars in Illinois, particularly in Chicago, offering unique and festive experiences:

  • Santa Baby Christmas Bar: Located at Bamboo Club in Wrigleyville, this over-the-top Christmas experience features extensive decor, boozy holiday drinks, and weekly events like holiday trivia and themed paint and sips​.
  • 8 Crazy Nights at The Graystone Tavern: Chicago’s first Hanukkah-themed pop-up in Lakeview with dreidel ornaments, lighted menorah decor, a photo booth, and blue and white lights​.
  • Ms. and Ms. Claus at Dorothy: A holiday-themed bar takeover in the West Town neighborhood with festive decor and a curated menu of seasonal cocktails​.
  • Winter Wonderland at JoJo’s Shake Bar: In River North, offering over-the-top holiday shakes and Santa-approved cocktails, with special themed events like mixology classes and gingerbread house decorating​​
  • Tinseltown at Pink Squirrel: A Logan Square cocktail spot transformed into a festive environment with wall-to-wall decorations and a full menu of festive treats​.
  • A Very Dandy Holiday at The Dandy Crown: This West Town bar features themed drinks, festive glassware, and immersive decor​.
  • Mistletoe at Mordecai: An upscale cocktail bar in Wrigleyville with picture-perfect decorations and a holiday-inspired drink menu​.
  • Rudolph’s Rooftop: Located on the 22nd floor of the LondonHouse Chicago, this seasonal pop-up offers holiday menu items, cocktails, heated igloos, and stunning views of the city​.
  • Lakefront Lodge at Harry Caray’s Tavern: On Navy Pier, it offers the cozy comforts of a winter cabin, with a private curling rink, outdoor fire pits, and a specialty drink menu​.
  • Frosty's: This is a seasonal Christmas pop-up bar that is known for its lively atmosphere and festive decorations. It typically features multiple bars, dance floors, and a range of holiday-themed activities and drinks. The decor often includes life-size Nutcrackers, festive Santas and elves, and non-stop holiday music, making it an ultimate seasonal experience.


These Christmas pop up. bars in Chicago offer a diverse range of holiday experiences, from traditional Christmas themes to Hanukkah celebrations.

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