Christmas in ... October?
With the opening of a yuletide-themed pop-up bar at Psycho Suzi’s, the zany northeast Minneapolis tiki lounge gets into the holiday spirit early this year. Three months early, in fact.
Mary’s Christmas Palace, which opened Oct. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, indulges in the kitschy side of Christmases past. Imagine mismatched vintage ornaments, glowing Nativity scenes, nonstop blinking lights, miles of tube-sock garland and even a metaphorical tipsy uncle to embarrass the whole family. There’s a food and drink menu to match, with plenty of winking double entendres and puns galore.
Think of it as your raunchiest office holiday party, which, let’s face it, you’re not having this year.
“Restaurant comedians are a rare breed,” said Psycho Suzi’s general manager Donny Nelson. “We think that’s who we are.”
The transformation from tropical tiki to nippy North Pole takes about three days, but “we never stop adding to it,” Nelson said. “People will bring stuff in, like, ‘I found this old blow mold.’ ”
It’s a delight for staffers as much as it is for guests.
“The small details are what I like,” said Cassie Scheele, general manager at sister restaurant Betty Danger’s Country Club, as she strung ornaments onto a net of lights. “They create the Christmas chaos.”
Mary’s Christmas Palace is back for its third installment; previously it ran at Betty Danger’s, which is taking the season off while its building is for sale.
With the safety measures needed to ensure Mary’s is coronavirus-compliant, it wasn’t a guarantee the event would come back this year in a new location.
Vinyl sheets ring the walk-up bar and light ropes show the one-way path. Peaked roofs of felt hang over booths to create semiprivate spaces evocative of gingerbread houses. Garage doors to the vast deck are open, and fire pits are roaring for guests who prefer their festivities outdoors and extra frosty.
Or with a riverside view of the changing autumn leaves.
Why wait till the end of December to put a festive cap on an otherwise glum 2020, anyway?
“Starting early is kind of the hilarity,” Nelson said. “We figured everyone needed a little cheer.”