A Bricktown ‘Miracle”
By Steve Lackmeyer
Oklahoma City is joining cities worldwide, including London, Athens, Vancouver and Los Angeles, to host a Christmas pop-up bar that all started with a mother's suggestion to a lounge owner in New York City.
The successful start of “Miracle on 9th Street” by Greg Boehm and Joann Spiegel followed a call by Boehm's mother during construction of his lounge, Mace. “Hold off on construction in December,” she advised. “Do a fun, over-the-top Christmas bar for a month and continue construction in January.”
It was an idea that drew long lines and immediate media buzz — enough to spur the founders to franchise the idea in more than 30 cities this Christmas season. Drew and Anna Mains, owners of Rockford's in Uptown, are among those spreading the holiday cheer at the former Captain Norm's Dockside Bar, which they are reopening as “Plundr,” a year-around cocktail bar opening in 2017.
It's a space that Caleb Hackler knows well — he oversaw the bar at Captain Norm's for five years and is working with the Mains on Plundr and their other venture, Union@SoSA, in Midtown. He said “Miracle in Bricktown” will open 5 p.m. Friday and will reflect the most popular aspects of the original “Miracle.”
“It's a pop-up bar that is set up every year and it's highly successful,” Hackler said. “They started franchising the idea with all you need for a ready-made bar — glassware, craft cocktail drink mixes, mixers, mixing pins that are printed with the Miracle name. And along with that comes Facebook support and special Spotify channels for us to play.”
The bar, which will be open seven days a week (weather permitting), will feature Christmas karaoke, carolers and live holiday music.
“This place is so great for live music, how great would it be to have a bell choir?” Hackler asked. “Think about how at Margaritaville they sing ‘It's Five ‘o'Clock Somewhere' every hour. Well maybe we will be singing a Christmas tune, a line or two, every hour on the hour.”
Other plans include Christmas tacky crafts and tacky cookie decorating — all on a patio overlooking the Bricktown Canal lit up in festive holiday colors.
Hackler said the Mains see “Miracle in Bricktown” as an opportunity to remind visitors about the popularity of the former Captain Norm's space at 103 E California Ave. in the canal level of the Jim Brewer Building. The bar often drew crowds but was only open from late spring through late summer.
Plundr, meanwhile, will be open all year with expanded inside lounge space. The pop-up bar will have seating only in areas that are close to heaters to keep guests warm.
“It's Drew and Anna's vision to tease to Oklahoma City how they're going to elevate the craft cocktail game,” Hackler said. “We're not going to be just serving Cokes and vodkas. All the drinks coming with the pop-up bar come with homemade syrups, different garnishes, and it's a better cocktail.”
Cocktails at Miracle in Bricktown crafted at the original New York City pop-up will include the Muletide (Aquavit, Oloroso sherry, ginger, lime, pumpkin) and the Christmopolitan (vodka, elderflower, fig, spiced cranberry sauce, lime).
“That leads into what Plundr will be,” Hackler said. “While it won't change the outdoor bar and fun being on the canal, it will take the Pina Colada to the next level. It will take the Mai Tai and other drinks to the next level.”
"Miracle in Bricktown" opens 5 p.m. Friday, coinciding with the start of "Downtown in December." The holiday tradition begins with the Bricktown Tree Lighting Festival from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday with Mayor Mick Cornett and Santa Claus flipping the switch at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. In its 15th year, the ceremony includes a live band, food trucks, face painting and visits with Santa. The start of free holiday Water Taxi rides also starts 5 p.m. Friday.
"Miracle in Bricktown" will open 1 p.m. on weekends and 4 p.m. on weekdays. The bar is tentatively set to stay open until midnight and possibly 2 a.m. on weekends, weather permitting.