Last Updated on November 24, 2020 by Jeremy
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A Christmas pop-up named Jingle Bar will be found at the Original Oyster House downtown this year. At this time we are not sure if it is the same Jingle Bar as in previous years or a new concept altogether so it is worth noting that the below review is from a previous iteration as of now.
Pop-up bars are becoming a trend now for seemingly every major holiday, and the 2019 holiday season is bringing six unique Christmas bars to Pittsburgh.
One of these bars is Jingle Bar, a pop-up located just east of Market Square. We visited this one during its 2018 run and share our thoughts on if it is worth your time for a festive libation!
*Note: As we visited during a previous season, some of the below may have changed.
Jingle Bar is A Large Christmas Bar Downtown
Within moments of walking into Jingle Bar you'll know you're in a festive space.
Most of the the bar is covered with decorations ranging from wrapping paper on the walls to conventional Christmas items just about everywhere else. And, unlike other pop-up bars in Pittsburgh, the space is quite large!
As you approach the bar, you'll then begin to hear the festive Christmas music that is played which, if it is anything like our visit, features gems from artists such as Weird Al or Jimmy Buffett- our kind of Christmas music indeed.
During our visit the bar was fairly busy, but also not too packed such that we were able to order drinks (with great service) and grab a high-top table without a wait.
While this was on a Saturday night during prime drinking hours, it was also on opening weekend likely before word got out about the new space- so we expect this to not always be the case despite the bar being fairly large.
Unfortunately for Jingle Bar, while the space and ambiance is wonderful, the cocktails left us underwhelmed.
Disappointing Cocktails at Jingle Bar
The bar itself features a number of libations including a fairly robust cocktail menu with 10 unique options to choose from, with all cocktails ranging from $10-$12. During our first visit we were able to try two- Santa Side Piece and the Silent Night.
The Santa Side Piece is a cider-based cocktail that is spiked with Hennessy, Cointreau, lemon, orange, and served hot. While you can get some of the citrus flavor, the drink more or less fell flat as it did not taste like it contained any alcohol. To add insult to injury, it was also served in a plain paper cup.
The Silent Night cocktail was a moderate improvement and contained Tanqueray gin, honey grappa, lemon, and violette. While more balanced, the cocktail was heavy on the lemon which overpowered the subtle flavor of the honey grappa to a degree.
We were fairly disappointed with the cocktails we tried here, but the ambiance of the bar is much more uplifting and could be a good option for those wanting a domestic beer or more conventional libation in a festive environment.
Overall, Jingle Bar in downtown Pittsburgh feels a bit like a rushed cocktail bar created in order to capitalize on the holiday pop-up trend.
While they did a good job on the ambiance and being located in a fabulous space, the miss on the cocktails we tried is something we have a hard time ignoring- Christmas or otherwise.
The Jingle Bar was located at 268 Forbes Avenue, just next to Millie's Ice Cream near Market Square. The above review was from our visit in 2018. In 2020 a pop-up named Jingle Bar is coming to the Original Oyster House but we are unsure if it is the same as past pop-ups or not beyond the name.