Right now, there’s something comforting about the inherent transience of a pop-up. While the newness and strangeness of, well, everything might have us in a perpetual state of Monday-morning-after-a-long-weekend, new and different is what we expect from pop-ups. Whether you’re looking for a glimpse of normalcy, or you just want to try some chicken fried steak covered in gravy, check out the 24 pop-ups on this guide.
Miracle On 8th Street
You could go caroling, or put reindeer antlers on your dachshund, but if you really want a tutorial in spreading holiday cheer, look at Miracle. Since 2014, this pop-up has been taking over bar spaces all over the world, making them look about as festive as Santa’s workshop, and serving cocktails like the “Bad Santa″ with mulled red wine, port, and Christmas spices, and snacks like roasted cranberry flatbreads.
Miracle on 9th Street
Miracle is also serving Christmas poutine and “fruitcake flips” (brandy, rum, amaretto, fruitcake, cherry bitter, and a whole egg) in Greenwich Village at The Cabinet.
The Musket Room is typically a place to go when you’re in the mood for a tasting menu that includes dishes like kampachi crudo or fried quail, and it still is if you get a table in their outdoor garden. But now it’s also a place to go when you want a breakfast sandwich and donut, which they’re serving out of a 1962 harvester truck parked out front. As you might expect from this special occasion spot in Nolita, they’re not serving your usual morning snacks. The sandwich is made with miso maple pork sausage on fresh buttermilk biscuits, and the brioche donuts are stuffed with things like guava cream cheese. Check it out Friday through Sunday between 9am and 4pm.
Until the end of December, The Garret Nolita is hosting a Latin-inspired holiday pop-up called Feliz Coctelería. The whole indoor space and a few private, heated outdoor cabins are decorated with hanging wreaths and colorful string lights, which you can sit under while drinking a hot toddy with guajillo-infused bourbon out of a santa-shaped mug.
Sherry isn’t just the stuff you keep around in case you randomly decide to make french onion soup. It’s also great to drink, especially the dry kinds, a bunch of which you’ll find at Oxalis’ pop-up sherry bar in Prospect Heights. If you go on a weekend, then you’ll also be able to pick up fresh produce, baked goods, and housemade vinegars from their winter market.
Wine grapes are like Batman - their struggle during development makes them stronger in the end. For proof, drink a few that were made at high elevations, where temperature shifts build character like growing up in Wayne Manor with nobody around but Alfred. For the next couple weeks, you can try a bunch of them at Ruffian, which has branded its heated, covered outdoor patio “Base Camp.” Pair wines from places like Argentina and Spain with khachapuri or smoked beet bao with sourdough buns.
People have their Christmas movies. The one they watched every Christmas Eve growing up, and now make their roommates watch the day after Thanksgiving. Whatever your movie is, there’s a good chance it’s playing at The Forest, an evergreen-filled outdoor pop-up at The Standard Highline. At 7pm Sunday through Thursday for the month of December, they’re showing famous Christmas movies in their heater-equipped courtyard. You’ll have to pay for fondue and hot cocktails, but admission and popcorn are free.
With all due respect to watching the guy who yelled “yard sale” from the chairlift proceed to lose his skis and poles five minutes later, après-ski is the best part of any ski vacation. But there’s no rule saying that hot buttered rum and tequila-infused hot cocoa can only be consumed at the base of a mountain. For the next week, you can après-ski with hot cocktails, as well as alpine-inspired food and wine on Kindred’s heated outdoor patio Wednesday through Saturday from 4-11pm.
As they do every winter, The Standard East Village has filled their outdoor garden with heated yurts with enough faux-fur chairs for up to 10 people. If that all brings to mind the word “glamping,” then we’re sorry you had to go through that, and you should know that they also have uncovered tables throughout the evergreen-filled courtyard. Wherever you sit, you’ll be able to order things like fondue, gingerbread cookies, and hot toddies.
Rezdora’s narrow dining room in Flatiron is as welcoming as ever. It’s just not prosciutto and pork-filled anolini covered in parmigiano cream sauce that’s the draw right now. Instead, it’s a wreath and Christmas tree-adorned holiday market where you can pick up Italian specialty goods, like oils, truffles, and housemade sweets. Buy a curated gift box for a friend (or yourself), and then order that anolini at a table on their outdoor patio.
Chikarashi Isso at Hotel 50 Bowery
If you only know Chikarashi as a fast-casual spot with long lines at lunch, then their pop-up on the second-floor outdoor terrace at Hotel 50 Bowery might seem out of left field. After all, rather than $14 poke bowls, they’re serving a 13-course kappo-style yakitori omakase for $150 per person. But if you made it to Chikarashi Isso in the three or so months it was open before the shutdown, then you’ll know they can do an excellent high-end yakitori experience as well. The FiDi location hasn’t reopened yet, but you can still watch scallops and chicken oysters grilling in front of you before arriving on your plate topped with uni and white truffle. Seats at the U-shaped chef’s counter for either of the night’s seatings can be reserved here.
Bronx Night Market
Unless they’re to your friend’s one-person rendition of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” free tickets should usually be met with a fair bit of skepticism. Allow us to assure you that free tickets to Bronx Night Market are ones you can enthusiastically accept. They simply guarantee you a spot at their outdoor food fair between 12-7pm on December 19th or 20th. After reserving your ticket here, head to Fordham Plaza for things like jerk pork tacos, arepas, kebabs, and plump bao buns.
Frenchette @ Rockefeller Center
Whether it’s thanks to Kevin McCallister, or the 50,000 lights on the 11-ton Christmas tree, the fact is few places in NYC let you know what time of year it is (the most wonderful time) quite like Rock Center. After snapping some pictures of the tree, and window shopping at FAO Schwarz, head to the South Plaza, and pick up crepes and hot chocolate from Frenchette’s holiday food truck.
The Lodge Deck
From ice skating and iceless curling, to shopping and tree-gazing, there are a lot of holiday-themed activities available in Winter Village at Bryant Park. And in the midst of them all, there’s The Lodge Deck, a pop-up where you can get wild boar sausages, flamed marshmallows, and hot cocktails after panicking when Santa asks if you’ve been naughty or nice.
The Migrant Kitchen
The Migrant Kitchen is serving dishes with Latin American and Middle Eastern influences out of a pop-up in Williamsburg. Not only can you order things like smoked street corn with sumac and labneh, or a roasted lamb torta with mujadara and Oaxaca queso, but for every $12 you spend, The Migrant Kitchen will donate a healthy meal to a New Yorker in need. Head to the pop-up between 12-10pm Tuesday through Sunday, or place an order for delivery.
Blueberry cured hamachi and mandoo stuffed with warm chocolate ganache probably don’t come to mind when you picture a karaoke bar. But those, along with other sweet and savory Korean-influenced dishes, are currently being made by two former chefs from The Modern at Karaoke Star in Koreatown. There’s no indoor seating (or karaoke), but outdoor seating is available for the next week, and reservations are available by messaging one of the chef’s on his Instagram.
There’s a new Mexican street food pop-up right outside of Cevicheria El Rey on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights that specializes in tacos Arabes and cemitas. Served with cochinita pibil (roasted pork) on a giant tortilla that almost resembles a pita, the food at Tlaxcal Kitchen traces back to the city of Puebla, where 19th-century Arab immigrants intertwined kebabs and shawarma into central Mexican cuisine. Check out their Instagram information for more information on hours and specials.
Under The Volcano
This fall, the chef from Tlaxcal Kitchen is cooking tacos at Under the Volcano, a mezcal bar on East 36th Street. Along with cochinita pibil and birria, you’ll also find dishes like salsa borracha prepared with mezcal, and sheep barbacoa made with agave leaves.
When you think of an ideal spot for a block party, Midtown probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. And while you still won’t see any lawn chairs or kiddie pools, Midtown Social is doing their part by supplying hot dogs, chopped cheese sandwiches, potato salad, and Italian ice. Sit at one of their outdoor tables Monday through Friday from 11am-7pm, or bring your food a block away to Bryant Park.
San Antonio's Wood Fired Pizza
2.38% - it’s about the chances Vegas gives either the Giants or Jets of winning this year’s Super Bowl, and it’s the fraction of time each week when you can get San Antonio’s Wood Fired Pizza. From 5-9pm on Friday nights, they park their oven in front of 132 Eagle Street in Greenpoint, and serve bubbly, charred pies for takeout and BYOB outdoor tables.
Karasu always seems to be somewhere you don’t expect. Usually, that means running a Japanese speakeasy and izakaya in a back room of Walter’s in Fort Greene. And currently, it means operating a pop-up at 128 Meserole Street in East Williamsburg. Wednesday through Sunday until Halloween, they’re serving skewers and small plates, karaage fried chicken, and excellent cocktails at indoor and outdoor tables beginning at 5pm.
Brooklyn’s Paulie Gee’s is hosting a new pop-up with Edith’s, a Jewish deli that’s serving pizza bagels, latke BEC sandwiches, challah knots, and more from this popular Greenpoint pizza place. You can try their baked goods, plus things like smoked fish and cream cheese for takeout or on Paulie Gee’s outdoor patio every Thursday through Sunday through October.
Gotham Burger Social Club is serving its fantastic burgers at various places around NYC. You can choose whether you want a single or double-patty burger, both of which come loaded with caramelized onions and a cascading waterfall of melted cheddar cheese. Check their Instagram to find out where they’ll be popping up next.
City Winery Pop Up
City Winery, which just opened a massive new location in the Hudson Valley, is operating a pop-up wine garden at Rockefeller Center. Every day from 1-7pm on the plaza between 50th and 51st, you can get City Winery’s house wine on tap, as well snacks like charcuterie, various cheeses, and burrata.