Who says that December is the most wonderful time of the year? In Philly, the holiday spirit is coming early and will be calling the popular pop-up bar Tinsel home for the summer.
Craft Concepts Group and owner Teddy Sourias wanted to debut the country’s first-ever socially distanced Christmas open-air restaurant and eatery, and everyone of age is welcome out to enjoy the safe and exciting fun at Tinsel in July.
“Tinsel in July was designed to bring light, hope and joy to Philadelphia residents during these darker times,” said Sourias in a statement. “We wanted to remind everyone that better days are ahead and we all need to continue to work hard, mask up and see some light at the end of the tunnel. While our bars are closed, outdoor seating is the only safe and healthy option right now in Philadelphia. We wanted to add a joyful and positive spin to what outdoor dining means. We recently opened up our other restaurants and brought back our staff. This project entirely driven by their ideas and initiative – and it was a great way for them to stay positive, stay strong and find some personal joy and light right now.”
Tinsel first hit the scene in the City of Brotherly Love three years ago and annually has provided a holiday-clad pop-up experience inside of an old jewelry store ultimately transforming the space to be festive and unrecognizable. Tinsel then premiered its first Halloween-themed addition last October with The Nightmare Before Tinsel, and there were even plans for a new spring-time pop-up bar as well before COVID-19 hit. Those plans ultimately had to be put on hold, but it gave time to create a “winter wonderland” right in the heart of the city in the heat of the summer.
According to the release, Tinsel in July will debut this Friday, July 17, at 3 p.m. in front of Finn McCools, Tinsel, the former Midtown and Penn Six and Go Popcorn with socially-distanced cafe seating, frozen and ice cold Christmas cocktails, boozy Grinch pops, a brand new eatery, holiday decor and festive tunes. Patrons can enjoy food and drinks while surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights, sparkling bows, red festive Santa hats, whimsical elves, shiny bells, illuminated candles, colorful ribbons, oversized candy, decked-out gifts boxes, Christmas trees and even holiday palm trees. Philadelphians can make reservations for parties of up to six people and can indulge in the full dinner menu, themed drinks and other surprises while there.
“Originally we were going to operate for twelve days in honor of the twelve days of Christmas, but instead we are now going to be open all summer long until Labor Day — or until the interest dies down. While we open this weekend, there’s no need to rush — Tinsel in July will be the gift that keeps on giving for you to see when you are ready and comfortable anytime in the next six to seven weeks. We are also pleased to announce we will feed hospital workers with a portion of sales from our popular Canned Goods cocktail. Merry Christmas (in July) and we hope to see your smize behind your masks this summer,” added Sourias in the release.
Food-wise, while at Tinsel in July, diners can enjoy the full menu offerings from Craft Concepts hotspot Finn McCools (including their famous cheesesteak eggrolls) and also food from a brand new spot, Luka Ma. The new eatery features dessert empanadas, fried Oreos and Greek Loukoumades (sweet honey balls, deep-fried and topped with your choice of eight different toppings) and all were inspired by Sourias’ own childhood with his Greek family.
On the spirited side, Philadelphians can also enjoy a selection of themed cocktails including frozen mint “hot” chocolate, Grinch boozy pops, plus craft beer, standard cocktails and other beverages as well. The popular Tinsel cocktail called the Canned Good will also be making a comeback with the proceeds going to feed hospital workers. Patrons will also find some select drinks arriving in a Santa’s boot, a snow globe and other souvenir vessels.
All guests must follow health and safety guidelines and must wear a mask when not seated at their table while at Tinsel in July.
“Don’t leave home for Tinsel in July without your mask,” said Sourias in the release. “Masks are 100% required and the new normal for Tinsel in July and all of our properties. Also, remember, we are here all summer long, so make your plans for July and August — and come when you are ready. We hope to lift up your spirits and have you leave with a big smize.”
According to the release, Cocktails to go and food to go from Finn McCools, Tinsel and Luku Ma are available as well, and look for a new system to debut soon where patrons can place their order online and pick-up at a the Luka Ma window. Reservations are required for all full service dinner tables to ensure time limits, social distancing and to avoid any lines and queues. For reservations for full-service dinner tables, call Finn’s at 215-923-3090, while seating at Luka Ma is first come, first serve.