Point Park Globe

New seasonal bars pop up downtown

Pop-up bars donate to charities

Written By Jake Berlin, For The Globe

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Students will have multiple places to get in the holiday spirit by drinking some holiday spirits, while also helping charitable causes.

Two new holiday pop-up bars, Auld Lang Syne and Jingle Bar, will be taking over restaurant spaces in and near Market Square by the end of next week.

Auld Lang Syne, named for the traditional holiday song, will occupy real estate on the far dining room side of the Oyster House. Located at 20 Market Square, this venue recently housed the Zombie Den – a Halloween pop-up bar from the makers of the ScareHouse haunted attraction in Etna.

Last year, the Oyster House played host to Miracle, a nationwide chain of holiday bars which will be utilizing space on Liberty Avenue for this year’s
iteration.

Jen Grippo, owner at the Oyster House, said Auld Lang Syne will be offering crafted cocktails, beer, wine and light bites. Additionally, Michael McCoy and Brian Laing, veteran drink specialists who curated the Zombie Den’s cocktail list, will be returning to arrange an expert list of sipping options for the holiday season.

One of the holiday pop-up bar staples is charity work, and a portion of sales at Auld Lang Syne will benefit the Women’s Center and Shelter. The exact hours haven’t been finalized, but Grippo said she hopes to stay open “from 4 p.m. until midnight or later.” And while she was unable to offer any previews of the drink menu, Grippo said patrons are encouraged to come explore for themselves when the bar opens on Black
Friday.

“It will be a wonderful experience,” Grippo said. “You can come out and see what [our] version of a holiday bar will be like.”

Bob Wolfinger’s version of a holiday bar is one which is being touted as a nonstop party.

As owner of Pizzuvio at 268 Forbes Avenue, Wolfinger said that his pizza kitchen – which is currently closed for some menu changes and concept redesigns – will transform into Jingle Bar on Light Up Night.

“Holiday pop-up bars have been extremely popular across the nation,” Wolfinger said. “We thought, ‘Why not join in on the excitement?’ And you can come in and enjoy the moment.”

Jingle Bar is expected to seat 60 to 70 people and will be open every night until New Year’s Eve, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. The bar will be open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m. or later, while Friday and Saturday it will open at 4 p.m. There will also be a DJ on the weekends from 9 p.m. to midnight, and random giveaways such as Penguins tickets throughout the night.

There will be 10 holiday-themed cocktails available, which customers can browse at JingleBarPGH.com. Roughly 10 different beers will also be available, as well as wine.

One of Wolfinger’s proudest aspects of the Jingle Bar is their commitment to the Alzheimer’s
Association.

“They’re going to be our charity, and it’s an honor,” Wolfinger said. “Lucas Piatt, our landlord, lost his mother to Alzheimer’s. He’s very passionate about it and so are we.”

The Jingle Bar has ordered 1,000 Christmas cards with an Alzheimer’s sticker inside. Patrons can sign one for $5 and decorate the inside of the bar to show support. $2 from each of one cocktail’s sales will be donated to the Association, and over 150 Alzheimer’s ornaments have been ordered as well.

Kaitlin Cliber, Bar Manager at the Oaks Theater in Oakmont, loves the idea of charitable pop-up bars spreading throughout Pittsburgh.

“We need more of them,” Cliber said. “It’s exciting. People want an experience. If they just want a can of beer, they can drink it at home. They want to linger for awhile and go to several places within walking distance. Pop-up bars create a pleasant atmosphere that’s like an oasis. It’s something they can’t get anywhere else. And it’s a different cultural environment that you can’t get in the suburbs.”

“When you come in, you forget what’s happening in the outside world,” Wolfinger said. “Our staff will all be dressed in crazy Christmas stuff. With everything that’s going on right now…it’s just a good time that makes you feel good.”

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