The oh-so-popular nationwide holiday pop-up bar Miracle is still taking place this upcoming winter, despite the novel coronavirus pandemic. For Austin, this means that downtown bar the Roosevelt Room is turning its next-door venue the Eleanor into Miracle on 5th Street and Central East Austin neighborhood bar Nickel City is converting into Miracle’s tiki-leaning counterpart Sippin’ Santa.
The bars will offer socially distanced on-site seated service and takeout cocktails. Expect kitschy holiday decor, too. Nickel is also working on potentially tenting its outdoor patio. Miracle and Sippin’ Santa will run from the beginning of November through the end of December. Further details will be announced later.
Miracle features a set menu of holiday-ish cocktails and shots created by celebrity mixologist Joann Spiegel. This includes Christmopolitan and Snowball Old Fashioned. This year, newer drinks this year include a gin and vermouth concoction with a pine/cardamom/sage cordial; and a flip with fruitcake plus brandy, rum, amaretto, and cherry bitters. Forthcoming new Sippin’ Santa cocktails include one with pumpkin-spiced coconut cream and a bunch of rums; as well as a rhum agricole with cherry liqueur and a caramelized pineapple-garam masala syrup. It’s also safe to expect Eleanor and Nickel to offer their own drinks as well.
“It has undoubtedly been a tough year for everyone,” says Miracle founder and owner Greg Boehm in a press release, “and our industry has been hit hard, so some holiday cheer is in order.”
To participate in Miracle, each bar pays a fee, but they get to keep all of the profits made from the pop-up. Ten percent of the sales from its festive glassware will go towards the James Beard Foundation’s Open for Good campaign, aimed towards helping independent restaurants during the pandemic.
Currently, Texas bars are technically not allowed to be open for on-site service if they make more than half of their sales from alcohol, according to a statewide mandate issued in late June to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has made room for certain allowances, authorizing bars to reopen for dine-in services with restaurant permits. To do that, bars can exclude to-go sales when calculating their sales. Or, the businesses can ramp up food sales by partnering with a food truck, expanding on-site kitchens, and/or selling prepackaged foods. Currently, restaurants are allowed to open for dine-in services with 75 percent indoor and 100 percent outdoor capacities, while following social distancing requirements. Both Roosevelt Room and Nickel City have reopened for on-site services, while still offering takeout drinks.
This is the overall seventh year of the holiday pop-up, and Roosevelt’s fourth year hosting and Nickel’s third year. Boehm started Miracle as a pop-up in New York bar Mace in 2014, followed by Sippin’ Santa in 2015, of which noted tiki bartender Jeff “Beachbum” Berry developed the cocktail menu in 2018.