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Alcohol Culture Drinks Nightlife Toasty

A Roundup of The Best Pop-Up Bars In New York City This Holiday Season

If Santacon isn’t for you but you still like to deck the halls with a good spirited beverage that’s #FestiveAF, then this is the article for you.

Holiday pop-up bars have become all the rage from coast to coast, but New York City seems to be the most festive. Below are just a few of the bars you should check out after Rockefeller Centre (because that place can be a madhouse).

The Holiday Cocktail Factory

As Willy Wonka said, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, LOCL Bar at NYLO Hotel has launched The Cocktail Factory. The space’s decor will be redesigned to reflect Roald Dahl’s whimsical style and guests can sip from a menu of colorful, seasonal drinks created by Muddling Memories’ Cody Goldstein.

The Violette, You’re Turning Violette  is a combination of tequila, pineapple and Creme de Violette. The Golden Goose is spiked with edible gold, glitter, and pop rocks, but my favorite though had to be The Goodie Goodie Gumballs (seen above) — tequila, St. Germain, cranberry served in a gumball machine.Guests can also have an adult version of the Fizzy Lifting drink in the Champagne Bubble Room or satisfy their sweet tooth at NYLO’s library, which will be converted to a sweets shop for the duration of the pop-up. In the spirit of giving, $1 from every cocktail will be donated to charity partner, Save the Children.

The Cocktail Factory at 2178 Broadway will be open through January 31, 2018.

Sippin Santa’s Surf Shack

Photo Credit: Paola Beretti

Sure, Santa Claus is pretty busy this time of year. But, in his off-time, the big guy loves shredding swells and sipping on tiki drinks. That’s the premise behind Boilermaker’s SOHO pop-up bar. Surf’s up.

The Son of a Nutcracker features a blend of rums, Campari, coconut, passion fruit and fresh lemon while the Little Drummer Boy is their housemade hot cocoa, spiced rum, Amarula cream liqueur, and marshmallows. Not one to ignore the Jewish community, they also have the Hanukka-vana which includes rye whiskey, dill aquavit, coconut, pineapple, and fresh lime. Since the bar is named after the classic beer and shot combination, you have to try one of their xx boilermakers, which are all named after classic holiday characters like Kris Kringle (the classic seen above), Jack Skellington, and Ralphie Parker (the Hawaiian take).

Sippin Santa’s Surf Shack at 13 1st Ave will be open through Jan. 1.

Sleyenda

A Christmas tree is lit in Brooklyn and is adorned with all the divas you can imagine — Mariah, Gaga, Britney, J.Lo, and Janet. And atop the tree is the queen herself, Beyonce. It, much like the rest of the decor at Brooklyn’s Leyenda, simply slays (or is it sleighs).

Either way, owners Ivy Mix and Julie Reiner have taken holiday pop-ups beyond Manhattan with their Latin​ ​holiday​ ​pop-up​ ​that​ ​pays homage​ ​to​ ​all​ ​the​ ​Queens​ ​out​ ​there.​ ​​Mexican​ ​Hot​ ​Chocolate​ ​is​ ​spiked​ ​with​ ​mezcal,​ ​a​ ​drink​ ​called​ ​The​ ​Sleigh Pilot (shown above) pairs​ ​Appleton​ ​and​ ​Wild​ ​Turkey​ ​Rare Bread Bourbon​ ​with lime, grapefruit, falernum, cinnamon, absinthe, and aromatic bitters served in an ornament​,​ ​and the classic​ ​coquito​ ​(Puerto​ ​Rico’s ​take on​ ​eggnog). The​ ​back​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bar​ ​was also​ ​turned​ ​into​ ​a​ ​private​ ​winter chalet. A​ ​fireplace​ ​will​ ​warm​ ​the​ ​hideaway,​ ​which​ ​is perfect​ ​for​ ​last​ ​minute​ ​holiday​ ​parties​ ​and​ ​gatherings​ ​with​ ​friends.

Sleyenda ​at​ ​221​ ​Smith​ ​Street​ ​will​ be open​ ​through​ ​December​ ​24th.

Miracle on 9th Street

Photo Credit: Melissa Hom for Miracle

The one that started it all — at least as far as we’re concerned. Miracle on 9th Street at MACE has become a holiday tradition for many (including myself). The Lower East Side bar, known for its unique craft cocktails, gives its creations a seasonal turn.

Try the Christmapolitan, which includes fig leaf-infused vodka, cranberry, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, coconut water, spices, whey — lactose clarification while the Die Hard-inspired Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r! features Plantation Barbados Rum, Yaguara Ouro Cachaça, Plantation OFTD Rum, purple yam-coconut orgeat and pineapple acid. Like sibling bar Boilermaker, Miracle also has a Channukah-inspired drink called the Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel, which is made of chocolate gelt-infused Reposado tequila, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, maple syrup, and black walnut bitters. There really isn’t a bad choice on their menu.

Miracle on 9th Street at 649 E 9th Street will be open through Jan. 1.

The Winter Room

Hanging out at a rooftop bar in Manhattan in December might sound crazy, but the eponymous named The Roof has turned its beautiful views of Midtown into a veritable winter wonderland — it’s also fairly close to all the classic NYC Christmas sites, so that helps.

In addition to its traditional cocktail and light bites menu, the bar also serves “Winter Warmers” like the Rooftop Toddy with spiced rum, hot apple cider, and a cinnamon stick; Central Park Sleigh Ride with Belvedere Vodka, hot chocolate, and vanilla; and The Snowday with Hennessy VSOP, fresh lemon juice, and honey. They also serve hot chocolate and hot apple cider, in case you’re hanging with kids or teetotalers.

The Winter Room at 124 West 57th Street is open through March 2018.

Rolf’s

Imagine a restaurant that thinks it should be Christmas all year around… just like that one aunt you have. Now imagine, it as a New York institution that serves great, traditional German food. Well, that’s Rolf’s.

The restaurant starts decorating in September and they stay up till spring. Their food stays the same, focusing on German classics like schnitzel and bratwurst, but they do serve festive drinks like mulled wine and spiced eggnog. They also have a really hardy schnapps menu, if you’re into that sort of thing. Good luck getting in though, as it’s one of the hottest restaurants to get into at this time of year for this very reason.

Rolf’s is located at 281 Third Avenue.

Categories
Celebrity Grub Culture Film/Television News

Roald Dahl’s Widow Reveals ‘Willy Wonka’ Lead Character Charlie Was Originally Black

Roald Dahl’s tale of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has captured the hearts of millions. The lead character, Charlie Bucket, goes from rags to riches almost instantly after passing Willy Wonka’s test and becoming his successor to the candy paradise. While the tale is as old as time, a new development in Charlie’s origins has just recently been uncovered.

An interview on BBC Radio 4 Today with Roald Dahl’s widow, Felicity, and biographer Donald Sturrock revealed that Charlie Bucket was “a little black boy” in Dahl’s original drafts. In the final novel and all of the movies, as seen above, Charlie is portrayed as a young white child. Apparently, Roald’s agent advised him against making the protagonist black, calling it a “bad idea” that would stir up questions as to why Charlie was black.

This revelation is eye-opening, especially considering that Roald Dahl was accused of being a racist in the past. The story of Charlie as an impoverished black child could have been a truly inspiring and groundbreaking one, especially considering the heightened awareness of African-American rights at the time. Dahl’s novel was published in 1964, around the height of the Civil Rights Movement. If Charlie was black in the original novel published then, perhaps his story would have served as added gravitas and an inspiration to many involved in that movement.

Altering Charlie into his original character would definitely be a sight to see, should it come to life. Felicity Dahl was open to the idea on the BBC interview, saying “it would be wonderful.”

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss Opinion

Gene Wilder’s Portrayal Of Willy Wonka Was One Of Cinema’s Most Enduring Roles

Yesterday the world received news that beloved actor Gene Wilder passed away at age 83 due to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. This came as a shock to many, because Wilder’s 3-year battle with the illness was kept secret from the public eye. Wilder’s nephew stated the news was kept on the DL because Wilder “simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.” If this isn’t an indication of Wilder’s captivating personality, I don’t know what is.

While Gene Wilder starred in several iconic films, it was his portrayal of a quirky confectionery owner in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory that left the deepest imprint on many. The movie itself, based off of Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, elicits a lot of mixed emotions – which is pretty on par with most of Dahl’s works – though Wilder brought an endearing eccentricity to his role that will never be forgotten.

As a kid, Willy Wonka meant huge bursts of color, living vicariously through the lucky children who basically got to overdose on sugar, and Oompa Loompas that would haunt your dreams. Willy himself just happened to be the man behind it all.

But in re-watching the movie as an adult in response to the news of Wilder’s death, it’s clear that Wonka is a pretty complex character. He is a soul with a troubled past whose aim is to better himself, all while trying his best to impart wisdom and enforce the rocky border between right and wrong. And there is no other actor who would be as dedicated and enthusiastic about enacting these varying items of minutiae than Gene Wilder.

Wilder was known to be constructive yet forceful with all of his roles. He wasn’t afraid to question the script or provide commentary on costume designs. As a matter of fact, he did both during the filming of Willy Wonka.

The actor had a huge impact on Wonka’s first entrance in the movie – he insisted the character should walk out to meet the masses while limping visibly with a cane. Then, Wonka was to drop the cane and perform a perfect somersault. Wilder went on record to say this simple action would be enough to deem the character unpredictable, and maybe even untrustworthy in the eye of the audience. He was right.

After receiving the original sketches for Willy Wonka’s costume, Wilder wrote a 300+ word letter directly to the costume designer, with constructive suggestions to improve its external facade. Upon reading this letter, you will realize each proposition is incredibly detail-oriented. This is just further proof of Wilder’s thoughtfulness.

However, Wilder’s passion goes beyond just the tangible. There has always been an undeniable aura about him; a charisma unparalleled by many of his colleagues in the industry. While I have seen a few of his other films, albeit several years ago, a moment that perfectly describes this phenomenon is Willy Wonka’s first song of the film, “Pure Imagination.”

Admittedly, I was multi-tasking when I watched the film this go-around, but as soon as Wilder began to sing this melody, I dropped everything. I was captivated. I don’t know if it was Wilder’s expressive eyes, or his immense vocal talent — or both — but he has a way of connecting with you on a level you didn’t even know was possible.

Of all the parts of this film, I personally think it was the performance of this musical number that beguiled all witnesses, regardless of age, because it gave an underlying feeling of hope. If you allow yourself to be creative and vulnerable, no matter the circumstances, your imagination can take you where you need to be. It doesn’t matter whether you are poor like Charlie, hoping to relive your youth like his grandfather, or even a total brat like Veruca Salt. In the end, despite any of your trials or personal short-comings, you are going to be okay.

Even though Willy Wonka was released in 1971, several years before my fellow millennials and I were born, it is impossible to forget Gene Wilder and his ability to make you laugh and comfort you without even being in the room.

Gene, I hope you are now in your own pure imagination, living there. You’ll be free, if you truly wish to be.

 

 

Photo credit: Warner Bros as seen on Slate.