The weather outside was mildly frightful as I stepped into Sippin’ Santa, the pop-up currently installed at Kona’s Street Market, Yerba Buena Neighborhood’s charming bar on 3rd Street, right near Market. The atmosphere inside the bar, however, was nothing short of delightful: my eyes drank in the cheerful scene: a sea of patrons, some seated at tables and others standing, talking gaily, wearing colorful leis (found at the bar) and bedecked in festive sweaters, sipping ice-cold libations from fun, curly straws that extended into cute holiday mugs with tiki-twists. Among the merry mug line-up were a shark with a santa cap, a pink-cheeked Santa in a boater’s hat with a dulcet mermaid’s tail, little baby reindeer shot glasses, and a surfing santa in flip-flop and swim trunks, sporting sunshades as he looks out, one can imagine, at the tubular curls in which he’s about to hang-ten.
The mugs were surely endearing, but how were the drinks inside of them? I motored up to the bar to find out for myself.
A Splash of…Yum!
With the advice from an amiable barkeep, I decided upon the Sippin’ Santa. I was told it’s a well-loved choice, with its tropical taste combining perfectly with a robust holiday spice. I found my way to a table near the door and took a sip. Then another one.
The drink was delicious. Containing aged Demerara rum, amaro, lemon, orange, and an inspired dash of gingerbread mix, the beverage was robust with flavor and instantly refreshing. I sat by a body-confident inflatable Santa that bobbed in the waves as he surfed enjoying his tropical surroundings. I enjoyed every aspect of the proceedings from my seat, me and my Santa pals.
People continued to smile and laugh with each other under a canopy of multi-colored Christmas lights that twinkled their green, pink, red, and blue bulbs in festoons from the ceiling. The walls, bedecked with sheets of jolly holiday wrapping paper, lent the place a cozy and lighthearted feel. Upbeat, seasonal tunes accented the blithe spirit of the bar and its patrons who pause here and there to take group-photos and selfies with the good-natured decor.
I identified with these people looking to keep a souvenir of their experience at Sippin’ Santa— a photo would be nice, but one of these mugs…now, that would be some straight bliss right there.
A Christmas Mug Miracle!
Turns out, as I learned from the back of the menu, I could make a mug my very own. If I wished I could purchase one for about $25 as a reminder all year round.
Well, I do wish. And let’s just say, it’s coming very true.
My Surfin’ Santa mug is sitting right here, next to me. And I got one for my sister, too.
Festive times call for festive measures, baby! Let’s do this.
Sippin’ Santa is open through December 31. Its hours of operation are from 5:00 pm til’ 12:00 am, Monday through Saturday, and it is located at 32 3rd Street in San Francisco. The bar will not be taking reservations until January. Happy Holidays!