The best holiday pop-up bars in metro Phoenix to visit in December

When it comes to boozy holiday pop-ups, Miracle Bar is the original. Started in New York City in 2014, the concept now partners with bars all around the globe to transform the spaces for the month of December with Christmas decorations and special festive cocktails. 

A year after Miracle Bar started, an offshoot sprang up. Called Sippin’ Santa, this tiki holiday pop-up is better suited to those who would rather sip a pina colada than eggnog and who’d choose a palm tree over pine any day. 

In 2020, a Scottsdale Mexican restaurant began it’s own Arizona tradition with the launch of a homespun Navidad pop-up.

More: Celebrate with cocktails and Christmas lights at these metro Phoenix bars

No matter what your holiday style is, these three metro Phoenix pop-ups have you covered in December.

Miracle Bar at Floor 13

High above downtown Phoenix, a little rooftop bar glows with twinkle lights. This month, the Floor 13 Rooftop Bar at the Hilton Garden Inn has transformed into a red and green experience. 

Cocktail menu highlights include the Christmapolitan made with vodka, elderflower, vermouth, cranberry and rosemary; the On Dasher made with gin, vanilla liqueur, marshmallow, cardamom, black pepper and cream and the Bad Santa, a hot drink made with Jamaican rum, falernum, spiced butter, oat milk and nutmeg.

Food options include Santa Sliders made with turkey, cranberry, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green beans, a shareable hummus plate and a roasted cranberry, goat cheese and caramelized onion flatbread.

One important thing to note this year is that Miracle Bar at Floor 13 now has minimum spend requirements. Reservations are required, and according to the website, minimums for a 90-minute experience are as follows:

  • 2 guests – $50 food and beverage minimum
  • 3 guests – $150 food and beverage minimum
  • 4 guests – $200 food and beverage minimum
  • 5 guests – $250 food and beverage minimum

Details: 15 E. Monroe St., Phoenix. 602-343-0006, floor13rooftopbar.com/miracle-bar.

Meet Miracle Bar: If you love the holidays, head to this downtown Phoenix bar 

Sippin’ Santa at Bitter & Twisted

For a tiki-themed experience in downtown Phoenix, head to Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour. For December, the swanky spot has traded classy decor for inflatable flamingos.

In contrast to Miracle Bar, Sippin’ Santa will take no reservations this year and will seat guests on a first come, first served basis. Visits are limited to two hours and customers can add their name to a wait list online before arrival. 

Some menu highlights of Sippin’ Santa are the White Russian Christmas, made with vodka, cold brew coffee, condensed milk, cinnamon syrup and ancho chile liqueur; the Azul Navidad made with tequila, mezcal, lime, cream of coconut, blue Curacao, hazelnut liqueur and pineapple rum and the Mistletoe-to-tow, a shareable drink for two featuring bourbon, walnut, rum, citrus and maple.

Two pages of Bitter & Twisted’s famously long cocktail menu are also still available along with a selection of food and Sippin’ Santa merchandise. 

Details: 1 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix. 602-340-1924, bitterandtwistedaz.com.

Get your sparkle on: Since 1988, this Scottsdale bar has served martinis, art and glitz

Feliz Navidad Cantina at Salt and Lime Modern Mexican Grill

A life-size sleigh welcomes customers to Salt and Lime Modern Mexican Grill, a restaurant located in Scottsdale on Shea Boulevard, just east of Route 101, that has transformed into Feliz Navidad Cantina for the month.

An arch of white icicle lights leads to a restaurant where every inch screams holidays. Ornaments ranging from baseball to basketball size hang from the ceiling, walls sport flashing lights and servers wear in Santa hats.

The food menu includes Salt and Lime’s regular tacos and burritos along with a few Christmas-themed tweaks. Enchiladas come “Christmas style” with red and green sauce, churros are spiked with pumpkin and tacos are served on red tortillas. 

The restaurant’s usual margarita list is available, but the cocktail options also include some holiday specials like a white chocolate-flavored martini with a peppermint rim, a red poinsettia martini and a green Grinch margarita. 

The other pop-ups might have more classic Christmas flavor, but the visual feast at Feliz Navidad Cantina is hard to beat.

Details: 9397 E. Shea Blvd. Ste. 115, Scottsdale. 480-661-5463, saltandlimeaz.com.

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Reach the reporter at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @tirionmorris, on Facebook at Tirion Rose and on Instagram at tirionrose. 

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