BERWYN – “It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of the most beloved holiday movies, and FitzGerald’s SideBar is turning into “Nick’s,” a holiday pop-up bar for folks to revel in nostalgia from the film, enjoy special cocktails inspired by the movie and listen to jazz music for four Wednesday nights in December.
Fans of the movie may recall “Nick’s” is the bar that exists in the world where main character George Bailey does not.
The “It’s a Wonderful Life”-themed events will be filled with replications from the movie, like an old-time register that “gives out wings” when rung, cocktails named after characters, a singing of “Auld Lang Syne” and raffles at the end of the night.
Revelers will be able to watch the holiday classic on the big screen beginning at 7:30 p.m. and then listen to Christmas-themed music performed by local jazz musicians. On the last night, Dec. 27, the entire FitzGerald’s Nightclub will be treated to a showing of the movie and the special cocktail menu.
Marcus Reidy, a founder of The Roosevelt Room, the bar consulting company that is presenting the pop-up bar, said he has been a lifelong fan of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and he thought the SideBar would be the perfect location for the themed bar.
“It’s a natural fit because the SideBar has a classic, vintage feel that’s not a sports bar or a dive bar but just a nice neighborhood bar,” he said. “I love the bar scene from the movie and thought it would be a fun idea to recreate it. We’re offering mulled wine and flaming rum punch, which are the drinks that Clarence orders in the scene at Nick’s bar. We’ll have the ‘juke joint’ atmosphere of Nick’s bar with holiday cheer and hospitality.”
In addition to the two cocktails from the movie, the pop-up bar will feature its own creative cocktails that were inspired by the movie, like Zuzu’s Petals, a floral gin-based drink. Reidy said he has a few other surprises tucked up his sleeve that he’s waiting to reveal until the first night of the event, which is Dec. 6.
All four nights of the pop-up bar are sold out, in part because the tickets, which are free, were limited to just 80 people each night.
Reidy wasn’t sure how the idea would be received by the public, but he said he is thrilled it’s become so popular.
“I didn’t think people would be so gung-ho about it, but it’s wonderful that they are,” he said. “People are yearning for the comfort that the movie provides. Everyone likes to go out during the holidays so they can tap into that nostalgia while having a good time. The idea is to provide a quality product for the people and to keep it small so they have a good experience.”
Bill FitzGerald, the nightclub’s owner, said he is very excited about his establishment hosting the pop-up bar.
“We’ve had a lot of big things happen here over the years, but this is unique. To see the response has been amazing,” he said. “It’s fun to present this at the holidays, and I think it’s intriguing to people. Pop-up bars are becoming popular, so it will be interesting to see how people will react.”