"I'll have a punch in the boob," said one customer who sidled up to the bar -- totally straight-faced.
He was referring to the name of a cocktail, Punch in the Boob from Drunk Uncle Glen, a cranberry, vodka and ginger beer mixer served in a fishbowl. That drink is just one of the ways Mary’s Christmas Palace hits you over the head with holiday cheer.
Since October, Betty Danger’s Country Club in northeast Minneapolis has been decked out in tinsel, chains of tube socks and twinkle lights for a recent annual tradition that turns the place into Mary’s Christmas Palace.
It’s not the only bar in the Twin Cities to give itself over to the force of fa-la-la. Lawless Distilling hosts Miracle, a popular Christmas-themed pop-up with seasonal cocktails served in an array of vintage-style holiday glassware.
A new spot this year is Jingle Bar, a weekend-only bar that takes over the 100-year-old log cabin on the campus of Greenwood’s Old Log Theatre.
Each of them unearth and display a lifetime’s worth of the kind of knickknacks that get stashed in plastic tubs in the basement the other 11 months of the year: ceramic mugs in the shape of Santa’s pants, stockings with glittery names in cursive of people you’ve never met, and in a spooky turn, an animatronic doll in a red dress, with eyes that have appear to have seen a nightmare before Christmas.
When the office potluck just isn’t enough to get you into the holiday spirit, these three Christmas bars should do the trick.
Mary’s Christmas Palace
The bar and restaurant with the full-sized Ferris wheel at its front porch has never been known for subtlety, but the extreme decor of the Christmas Palace takes holiday dress-up to another level entirely. Cocktails are strong and festive: the Gingerbread White Russian and the egg nog-like Snowball to the Face both pack a significant punch. There’s also an apple pie-flavored Old Fashioned, and Santa’s Bootleg. If you can snag a reservation or a seat at the (very crowded) bar, order from the themed food menu, too: a plate of Thanksgiving Leftovers, Swedish meatballs, and a plate of cookies for Santa to DIY decorate.
Betty Danger’s Country Club, 2501 Marshall St. NE, Mpls., 612-315-4997, bettydangers.com/mary
Daily through Dec. 31.
Miracle at Lawless
Lawless Distilling’s Minneapolis cocktail room devotes itself every few months to a different theme. For the holiday season, it’s Miracle, a nationwide pop-up bar that embeds in more than 100 bars this time of year. Multicolored twinkle lights and thousands of hanging ornaments adorn the main lounge, while a garage-like backroom is done up in white lights to match the otherwise bare walls. (Compared to Mary’s Christmas Palace, one could call it understated.) Miracle makes the menu, and Lawless modifies it to match their housemade spirits. The Jingle Balls Nog incorporates Lawless whiskey, hazelnut liqueur, butter, almond milk and cream for an ice-cold eggnog, and the Yippie Ki Yay ... is a tiki-style drink with pimento-infused rum, cocoa nib liqueur and purple sweet potato. Soak it up with a bacon and egg-custard sandwich from Sando, the food truck parked outside.
Lawless Distilling, 2619 S. 28th Av., Mpls., 612-276-1000, lawlessdistillingcompany.com
Daily through Dec. 31.
This antique, one-room cabin is normally used only for private parties. This year, the Old Log Theatre is experimenting with hosting a pop-up holiday bar in its namesake structure. The petite and packed room has a fire blazing and dozens of stockings hanging on the hearth, guests cluster around the high-tops playing cards; it’s Minnesota hygge done right. The short menu includes a hot buttered rum and a spiked hot chocolate, and the Mistletoe Kiss is a surprisingly savory cocktail of vodka with rosemary cinnamon simple syrup. There’s no food in the cabin, but it’s a short walk to the theater’s restaurant, Cast & Cru.
Old Log Theatre, 5185 Meadville St., Greenwood, 952-474-5951, oldlog.com
Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 28.