Update Dec. 5: Grinches Garage wasn’t able to obtain all the necessary city permits in time to open on Thursday — so the festivities are pushed back a few days. Exact opening date TBD.
A month ago, the garage at the corner of Tioga and Melvale in Port Richmond had a dirt floor and no electricity. This month, it opens as a holiday-themed pop-up bar — one of the only ones not downtown — with festive cocktails, colorful lights and a movie projector.
“We installed electricity, gas, flooring,” said Melissa Michalczyk, founder of State Street Events. “We started three weeks ago. It’s been like every day, 8-hour, 12-hour days.”
Around this time of year, Philly is flooded with pop-up boozy merriment. Tinsel will serve you a cocktail out of an ornament in the Gayborhood. 12 Days of Christmas will take you to a Rittenhouse roof for a drink. Miracle will introduce you to marshmallow orgeat on East Passyunk. Outside City Hall you can shop and skate while sipping spiked hot chocolate.
Most of the festivities are concentrated in Center City — and are constantly mobbed throughout the season, not to mention pricey.
The pop-up named for the fictional scrooge is something different: Grinches Garage will bring holiday spirit to a River Wards neighborhood often left out of the trendy cheer, at budget prices. Said Michalczyk: “I’m from the area and I’m trying to build up the community.”
All drinks at the Port Richmond warehouse will be $7 — including two seasonal beers on tap, wine and domestic bottles and some super jolly cocktails:
- The Grinch Cocktail: Midori and lemon lime soda
- The Ginger Ball: Fireball and ginger ale
- Eggnog White Russian
- Moscow Mule
While there won’t be food on site, you can walk over to the adjoining Bonk’s Bar for delicacies straight from Whoville — think Who hash or roast “beast”. And don’t be surprised if you see the green scrooge himself. Sporadically throughout the season, the warehouse bar will welcome a dude in a Grinch costume to hang out with customers.
Besides food and drink, it’s got games like ring toss, jenga and a giant tic-tac-toe board. All the while a projector will constantly screen holiday flicks.
Starting Dec. 5, the bar’s open Thursday from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Friday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. You’ve got until Jan. 19 to stop by, at which point the holiday operation will shut down to make room for something new.
Once the weather warms up, Michalczyk expects to open a beach-themed beer garden in the space — with sand covering the floor.
“You’ll literally be able to walk in sand as soon as it gets warm,” she said.
The Grinches Garage is attracting some major interest. There are nearly 1,500 people who’ve indicated interest in visiting for the bar’s opening night. Even if only a quarter turn out, that many people would more than crowd the space, which Michalczyk said fits 100 comfortably.
She’s also already booked six private parties for the space — two in the first weekend it’s open.
“I see that as the future,” Michalczyk said. “It’s so cool and industrial, it has a built-in bar. It just makes sense.”