In the name of research, Londonist visits Miracle At Henrieta, and gets stuck into a few mugs of Jingle Balls Nog.
What's the vibe at this joint then? It's Chriiiiiiiistmas! The sort of tinsel-choked, Dean Martin-infused, glow-up plastic Santa Claus kind of Christmas that transports you to a vintage yule so unashamedly gaudy, the people who do the Blackpool illuminations would say it's 'a bit much'. Actually, let us rephrase that: It's Kiiiiiiiitschmas!
Oh, is this that famous pop-up bar thing people always bang on about? That's the one! It's a spin-off NYC's Miracle on Ninth Street bar, and has been enchanting/intoxicating Londoners since 2018.
Are the drinks Christmassy too? And how! The menu (styled like a Christmas card, obvs) bids you to sample your way through a cornucopia of OTT eggnogs, mulled wine fizzes, cranberry sauce cosmos and 'Naughty' and 'Nice' shots. It makes a sloe gin fizz or a Snowball look positively drab.
But they DO snowballs, right? You'd have thought. The closest they do is a Snowball Old Fashioned, although it's not got Advocaat or lemonade in it. Anyway, when we visited at the start of November, they didn't have it.
Hang on, you visited in early November? I know! The things we do for you! Selfless to the last. We also get half our Christmas press releases in September, but that's another story.
What's the best drink? Very much a split decision between the table! Everyone wanted to try that Snowball Old Fashioned which, alas, was no-show. But winners on the night were the Holiday Spiked Chai (a kind of espresso martini on steroids served in a ceramic barrel with fa la la written on it); the Elfing Around (a bubbly aperitif tinged with a mulled wine reduction, and which elves almost certainly drink at weddings); and the Jingle Balls Nog — the kind of over-boozed soup that your drunken uncle would cobble together as his eighth drink on Christmas Eve.
And they cost how much? £13 or £14 (shots are £5). Which, for the quality of the drinks, is not at all bad.
How tempting is it to steal the drinkware? Oh, very. Quite probably why the bar actually sells their novelty mugs and glasses, so you can take them home without ending up in drinkware prison.
Where is this place again? Stashed away up the stairs at the Henrietta Hotel in Covent Garden. Just follow the trails of fake snow up the steps.
So it's a London-New York kinda thing then? Well, we thought so. Until we realised there are apparently almost 100 of these bars the world over. There's probably one at the end of your road.
Anyway, I'd like to go to the London one please. A wise choice. It's very popular, mind, so you'll need to book, and sessions are limited to 1 hour 45 mins (frankly any more than this, and you'd wind up like the Bishop of Southwark.)
Miracle at Henrietta, Covent Garden
All photos Laura Reynolds/Joanna Rutherford/Will Noble/Londonist