This isn’t going to be one of my classic, I’m hating for no absolutely no reason blogs. I didn’t want to sit down this morning and type up some vitriolic hit piece on the pop-up bar but I have no choice at this point. A pop-up bar, if you’re not aware, is a bar that becomes transformed into something that it usually isn’t, often times for a 30 day period.
The theme of the pop-up bar can vary wildly, for instance here in Chicago over the past six months I’ve seen newspapers do write ups on a Stranger Things bar, a The Room style pop up (which hasn’t been opened yet), a Saved By The Bell themed restaurant, and, being that it is almost Christmas, you guessed it- an It’s A Wonderful Life bar. Pop-up bars are all the rage right now. They’re the new brunch. The latest and greatest fad out there. I’ve wanted to gain entrance into one of these spots for a long time.
Now I have absolutely no problem with any of those tv shows or movies being chosen as the theme for a pop-up bar. I quite enjoy the idea of gimmicky cocktails with clever names and fun finger foods that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to eat.
The exclusivity of these places has become a huge point of contention for me, though. Just last Friday I was invited to a Christmas themed pop-up called “Frosty’s” and I spent most of my day listening to Christmas jams such as “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by NSYNC and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” by The Drifters. I was fucking pumped, man.
There isn’t a holiday that can compare to Christmas in my book. I love it unconditionally and I promise you it’s not because of the presents. These days I get a pair of socks and a pre-picked sweater from LL Bean that I saw in the catalog over Thanksgiving break.
I love Christmas because the entire month is filled with joy and cheer. It’s magical and childlike in it’s wonderment. I get to drink egg nog. Snow is falling (usually) onto picturesque lawns filled with lit up reindeer, and generally speaking, everyone is in a good mood. But my mood has been slightly soured by the pop-up bar and its holier than thou attitude towards customers with cold, hard cash.
I didn’t even get to the front door of “Frosty’s” last weekend before I was told via text that bouncers were not letting anyone in, even if they did have a reservation like me. They were at capacity, and people were waiting in obnoxiously long lines just to drink mulled wine while Home Alone played silently on a large projector screen near the back of the bar.
Unfortunately, it’s the same way with most of these pop-ups. The Saved By The Bell restaurant? You had to call two or three weeks in advance just to see if you could get on a waiting list for that place, and the only reason you could do that is because they stayed open for a few months rather than just 30 days.
The “It’s A Wonderful Life” bar is only open on Wednesday’s during the month of December and guess what? It’s been “sold out” since the beginning of November, but even if you do have a ticket entrance isn’t guaranteed.
I can’t gain entrance into a pop-up bar to save my life, and you know what? Fuck ‘em. I don’t need to see what the hype is all about. I’m sure everyone is having the time of their life inside, but I’m going to take the low road here and be a petty little bitch about it.
If I can’t get in then I have to automatically assume that these pop-ups suck. If anyone is to blame, it’s the bar owners who have selfishly made these places impossible to get into. You’ve forced my hand.
Maybe next weekend I’ll turn my living room and basement into a pop-up bar and guess what? Everyones fucking invited. No ridiculous cover charge or snooty bouncers telling you that the place is at capacity. Just me, a metric fuck-ton of eggnog, and some cheap, Canadian whiskey to mix it with. Rot in hell, pop-up bars. I don’t need you (unless one of you bar owners sees this and wants to let me in a side door)..