Auld Lang Syne is another holiday pop-up bar to make its way to downtown Pittsburgh. Managed by the team behind the Halloween pop-up, Zombie Den, the bar calls the Original Oyster House in Market Square home for the 2018 holiday season.
Throw in a number of Its a Wonderful Life references, a celebration of the upcoming new year, and numerous libations and you have the makings of a holiday celebration!
Auld Lang Syne's Drinks are a Marked Improvement
One of our major complaints about the Zombie Den was that the cocktails were a bit hit-or-miss, and we are happy to report that those at Auld Lang Syne are improved from the previous iteration a fair bit.
However, it is also worth noting that many of the same base concepts are still present as well. Noche de Los Muertos (tequila, mango habanero whiskey, and apple spice) became Noche de Navidad (a hot drink with tequila, mango habanero whiskey, and hot chocolate). They're Coming to Get You, Barbara (a rum-heavy drink with fruit juices) became Tiki Tovah (a frozen, rum-heavy drink with fruit juices and a Manischewitz float).
Read down the cocktail list here and you'll see a number of similarities between the two bar concepts which is a bit of a cheap way of doing things in terms of novelty (to us at least), but we also cannot be as upset as the holiday iterations are better than their Halloween counterparts to a degree.
Much like the Halloween bar, the Noche de Navidad jumped out at us as being among the better cocktails of the ones we tried which was a boozy hot chocolate that had some really nice nuance from the mango habanero whiskey (but the hot chocolate perhaps overshadowed the tequila almost entirely).
A new drink for this iteration was the Clarence's Eggnog, a cognac, creme de menthe, and creme de cacao forward eggnog that offered some really nice flavors for those who like their ‘nog on the sweeter side.
Decorations Are a Bit Sparse for a Holiday Bar
One of the first things you'll notice when entering Auld Lang Syne is that the decorations are a bit sparse by holiday bar standards (which generally opt for decorations on every square inch of the space).
The main bar room is decorated to look like a cozy winter cabin on one side and a New Years party spot on the other (complete with streamers and a 2019 Instagram-esque photo stop).
The second seating area is a bit more sparse in decorations and features the likes of Krampus and a holiday inspired hammerhead shark adorning the wall.
Overall, if extreme decorations are what you seek, Auld Lang Syne is not the place for you. But if a more reserved spot for holiday cheer is your style, this is a respectable option to consider.
Auld Lang Syne is located at the Original Oyster House at 20 Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh.