By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 02, 2023 at 2:02 PM

You’re likely familiar with the annual Miracle pop-ups, thanks to venues like Tin Widow, 703 S. 2nd St., which will host the annual nationally-recognized retro-kitsch charitable Christmas pop-up for the fourth year running in 2023.

But have you heard of Sippin’ Santa? Created in 2015, this tropical-themed holiday pop-up was born as a companion to the Miracle pop-ups, but with a fresh, fun spin. Replace Santa’s sleigh with a surfboard; trade out the decorated pine trees for palms and hang some tropical hibiscus garland alongside the tinsel and you get the drift.

Even better, Milwaukee will have a chase to experience this escapist holiday for the very first time at Pufferfish, the tropically themed bar located on the rooftop of Hotel Metro, 411 E. Mason St.

“Sam and the team over at Tin Widow have created the holiday blueprint with Miracle on 2nd St.” says PufferFish owner, JC Cunningham. “We are really excited to partner with them and turn our little rooftop escape into a winter wonderland.”

What that means is: Milwaukee will officially have two amazing bars hosting nationally recognized pop-ups this holiday season. And that’s pretty remarkable. While there are over 150 Miracle pop-up locations across the nation and about 50 Sippin’ Santas, Milwaukee is one of only a handful of markets that has the privilege of hosting both.

Sippin' Santa glasswareX

What to expect

First, Both the Miracle and Sippin’ Sippin’ Santa pop-ups will be featuring specialty drink menus complete with creative and whimsical glassware and garnishes. 

Secondly, both the Tin Widow and Pufferfish will be transformed into magical holiday escapes: one kitschy and nostalgic and the other very much resembling a tropical holiday vacation.

“Every year brings new excitement and new challenges,” says Sam Berman, owner of Tin Widow. “This year's decorations are going to be completely off the charts, and we have a few tricks up our sleeves with how they’ll be displayed this season.”

Meanwhile, the PufferFish team has been working tirelessly to finish the renovations on their secondary bar space, affectionately known as the FishTank. 

“Both bars at Pufferfish will be rocking drinks, and the heaters will be rolling outside to create a really cozy atmosphere,” notes Cunningham.

In addition to the Sippin’ Santa pop-up at Pufferfish, guests can also experience a very special holiday getaway at Hotel Metro.  Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 30, the presidential room at the hotel will be converted into The Santa Suite. This limited-time experience will offer holiday decorations, mini drinks from PufferFish, Christmas cookie turndown service and much more. To book your holiday getaway, visit

When can you go?

Both holiday pop-ups will kick off on Friday, November 24 with Pufferfish going full bore through Dec. 30. Tin Widow’s festivities will wrap up on New Year’s Eve.

During the pop-ups, Tin Widow will be open Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. 

PufferFish will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. 

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.