By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 19, 2020 at 1:01 PM

Need a burst of holiday spirit? (Seems we all do this year).

You’ll find a big dose of it beginning Friday, Nov. 20 at  Camp Bar, 6600 W. North Ave., which has been transformed into Santa Camp, an immersive, over-the-top holiday pop-up that’s sure to infuse your world with a bit of old fashioned Christmas joy.

Last year, Santa Camp took place at Campsite 131, the cozy well-appointed bar and event space in the Historic Third Ward. But since cozy quarters in the age of COVID-19 don’t seem particularly festive, the pop-up bar has moved to Camp Bar in East Tosa where guests can celebrate in a safer, more socially distanced environment. That’s  thanks to the location’s larger overall floor plan, access to outdoor space and additional capacity for overflow both indoors and outdoors at the adjacent events venue Birch.

Hop over to the new digs and you’ll find a bigger, better socially-distanced Santa Camp complete with dancing Santas and sparkling holiday lights and kitschy decor that bleeds out onto Camp’s spacious heated double decker patio.

Inevitably, there will be plenty of Instagrammable moments. So, don’t be shy. Share your photos using #CampyHolidays (and tag @CampBar)  for your chance to win holiday prizes.

Celebratory sips

You’ll also find a menu of special holiday themed cocktails from the classic Old Fashioned Christmas (the Camp classic old fashioned with your choice of Korbel Brandy or Old Forester Bourbon); the Gin & Tidings with Hendrick’s Orbium shaken with cranberry, orange liqueur and lime and served with a rosemary sprig;  or The Angry Elf, a festive holiday mule featuring Tito’s vodka, cranberry juice and ginger beer.

Ultimately, there’s a cocktail for every holiday mood.

Feeling naughty? Then green is your color, and The Grinch is your drink. This cool minty concoction featuring creme de menthe, creme de cacao and ice cream is bound to please even the Grinchiest of the Grinches. But if you’re nice, there’s plenty of cheer in a mug of North Pole Nog, spiked with Korbel Brandy and rum.

Embrace the chill with a White Christmas (Korbel Brandy, Crème de Cacao, ice cream, whipped cream and nutmeg); or Reindeer Games (Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Crème de Cacao, ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate syrup).

And yes, there will be plenty of beer – from microbrews to domestics and imports – both on tap and in cans and bottles.

Every single one is served up with a side of safety, from contactless QR-code powered menus to operations guided by CDC guidelines. That includes socially distanced seating, regimented cleaning protocols (including electrostatic cleaning practices as an added safeguard) and masks required for both staff and guests.

 “We know this year has been hard for all,” says Hackbarth Hospitality director of operations Adriana Ramirez. “And we look forward to bringing some jolly and cheer to Wauwatosa.”

Santa Camp is open through Dec. 31 with hours Monday through Thursday from 4 to close, Friday from 3 to close and Saturday and Sunday from noon to close.

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.