The people of New Orleans must be on the nice list this year because Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack has made its way to The Big Easy! The tiki-inspired Christmas pop-up bar originated at New York City’s Boilermaker three years ago and has expanded to include pop-up locations at Chicago’s Lost Lake and our own Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29. With the remnants of New Orleans’ fall heat finally fading away, I decided to test out the Christmas-themed tiki concoctions as a farewell to summertime and hello to holiday cheer.
Venue: Located in New Orleans’ French Quarter and only a short walk from bustling Bourbon Street, the gastropub is known for its inventive and island-inspired cocktails and cuisine, both revolving around the restaurant’s tiki theme. If you time your visit right, you might even catch the tunes of a New Orleans second line passing in front of the popular spot.
Décor: Latitude 29 has got the tiki-vibe covered! Entering the restaurant on any given day will transport you to a Polynesian paradise with bamboo beams, nautical relics, and a playlist of tunes that will make you feel like you are on a tropical vacation. For the purpose of Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack, the restaurant has been strung with colorful Christmas lights and tinsel, and shiny ornaments hang from the ceiling and walls. Of course, it wouldn’t be a tiki Christmas without some beachy Christmas music like “Mele Kelikimaka” playing in the background.
Cocktails: The menu, which is a compilation of drinks created by tiki cocktail experts from each host bar, comprises nine original cocktails, each served in specialty holiday glassware. The Don and Victor — created by Brad Smith of Latitude 29 — is a hot rum concoction with a spiced batter served in a mug imitating Santa’s head. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Holiday Lei, from Boilermaker’s Samuel Gauthier, featuring sparkling wine, cranberry, and gin. These island cocktails will keep your mind off of the dropping temperatures by keeping you nice and warm inside and out.
Verdict: What’s not to love about getting your Christmas cheer on by sipping tiki cocktails inside the warmth of a festive bar? This pop-up has everything necessary to catapult you right into a holiday state of mind. Grab some friends, a holiday sweater, and a Hawaiian lei, and head over to this unique pop-up. After all, Santa Claus is watching, and he would definitely approve!