Tinseltown is a Different Kind of Holiday Pop-Up Bar

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on December 12, 2023.

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Prior to 2023, Tinseltown was known as The Tipsy Elf and was located in Hough's in Greenfield. Starting this year, the popup was renamed and can be found at Mixtape in Garfield.

Tinseltown is a ticketed pop-up bar experience with mulled wine, cocktails, holiday games, and more.

As we are always on the lookout for the best Christmas popup bars in Pittsburgh, you know we had to check this one out. As it so happens, we were invited to this event by the folks at Hidden Pittsburgh for a media night and couldn't pass up on the opportunity.

As ticketed pop-up bars are a different kind of bar experience, we thought we'd share a bit about what the pop-up was like and then dive into the ticketing aspect of it more to share what you get for the entry fee.

Tinseltown Offers Drinks and a Comfortable Vibe

Tinseltown at Mixtape

As with most pop-up bars, there are two main points always worth discussing- the ambiance and the drinks. These two can be all over the place at popups, but thankfully, Tinseltown did both of these quite well.

First, there is the ambiance. Tinseltown features two distinct rooms for visitors to enjoy. The first one you see is designed to be an outdoor winter wonderland (but, thankfully, indoors) complete with snow-covered trees and a mountain of Christmas presents to name a few. The second takes you into what we would call a cozy cottage that is perfectly decked out for the holidays with trees, Christmas decor, and more.

Tinseltown at Mixtape

Although the decorations here were quite nice, we have to admit that the former location in Hough's brought this one together just a bit more. The reason for this is because the space at Mixtape is one large area, so the dividing line between the two broad themes is blurred (at Hough's, on the other hand, they were two separate rooms- making the illusion a bit better).

We should reiterate that you shouldn't go into this one thinking it is going to be over-the-top like other popups. But the comfortable ambiance here does work and is something other popup bars could possibly learn from- decent decorations with controlled crowds is hard to come by.

Tinseltown at Mixtape

Then, there are the drinks. Upon arrival, we were given a welcome drink, Santa's Butter Beer, which felt almost as much of a shot as much as a drink. This one contained vanilla vodka, butterscotch liqueur, and ginger ale plus a whipped cream topping for good measure. It gave all of the hallmarks of a good butter beer, but was just a bit different that we have to admit surprisingly worked even if it may be a bit much for some.

On the cocktail front, most of the creations were riffs off of classics, like the Mistletoe Margarita (with Chai syrup and rosemary), Old Fashioned Yule Log (with cinnamon syrup), and Wonder Wassail (mulled cider). Others were straight on classics like a Manhattan and Espresso Martini that were mixed quite well and sold at attractive price points. As such, it was nice to see a spread of cocktail prices here for the budget friendly to those wanting something a bit more out-there at a price to match.

From there, there are a few other things to keep in mind about Tinseltown as this really is a different kind of pop-up experience!

So What Makes Tinseltown Different?

Tinseltown at Mixtape

Unlike other Christmas bars in Pittsburgh, Tinseltown presents itself more like an event. This is a timed, ticketed experience (advanced purchase required) that is designed to cap the crowds and give guests a relaxing time as compared to other, shall we say, more crowded establishments. During our visit, for example, no guest appeared to struggle to find a seat or get table space, which made for an enjoyable time and some wonderful photo opportunities without others in the way.

Each ticket includes a 90-minute timeslot, a welcome drink, access to a few holiday games, an elf emcee interacting with the crowd, and of course the ability to purchase extra beverages at an additional charge.

Is this one expensive for what you get? We could see arguments both ways. Personally, a welcome drink and a well-thought-out ambiance can be worth the entry fee for some people. Admittedly, for us at least, we do wish that welcome drink was one of the cocktails which were objectively much better than the wine (albeit on the small end). As such, you're likely going to spend $30 per person at a minimum if you want to try at least one cocktail here, which is why we could entertain arguments on the value both ways.

All that being said, we have to admit we had a pretty good time at Tinseltown- the mulled wine notwithstanding. Sometimes simply being able to break away from holiday chaos for a few minutes of relaxation is all we need- paid entry or not.

Tinseltown is located at Mixtape at 4907 Penn Avenue in Garfield runs from late November to December 30th in 2023. We were invited in to check this event out by the organizers; however, paid for the additional cocktails ourselves. As always, all opinions are our own.

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