Tis the most wonderful time of year in Philadelphia – during one of the most challenging years in modern history. Craft Concepts Group and owner Teddy Sourias will debut America’s first socially-distanced Christmas open-air restaurant and eatery this coming weekend taking over a portion of 12th Street in Midtown Village. Tinsel in July will debut on Friday, July 17, 2020 at 3:00pm in front of Finn McCools (118 S. 12th), Tinsel (116 S. 12th), the former Midtown and Penn Six (114 S. 12th) and Go Popcorn (a neighbor of CCG’s at 114 S. 12th) with socially-distanced cafe seating, frozen and ice cold Christmas cocktails, boozy Grinch pops, a brand new eatery, holiday decor and festive tunes. Patrons can enjoy food and drink while surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights, sparkling bows, red festive santa hats, whimsical elves, shiny bells, illuminated candles, colorful ribbons, over sized candy, decked-out gifts boxes, Christmas trees, and holiday palm trees. Full table service for parties of four to six will be available by reservation only outside Finn McCools and Tinsel. Seating for parties of two that want to enjoy their Luku Ma treats will be available in front of 114 S. 12th Street. Tinsel, Finn McCools and Luku Ma will offer food and drink for pick-up and to go as well. Hours will run from 3:00pm to 10:00pm Monday to Friday, and Noon to 10:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. For reservations for the festive Finn McCools seating with table service and a full dinner menu, call (215) 923-3090. All guests must wear a mask when not seated. All tables are socially distanced at least six feet apart. Staff will follow all local, state and national health and safety recommendations including disposal menus, the use of a menu QR code, wiping down of all surfaces, wearing masks and other protocols in place for the safety of not just the patrons but the staff as well. For more about Tinsel in July, please visit TinselPhilly on Instagram.
“Tinsel in July was designed to bring light, hope and joy to Philadelphia residents during these darker times,” said Sourias. “We wanted to remind everyone that better days are ahead and we all need to continue to work hard, mask up and see some light at the end of the tunnel. While our bars are closed, outdoor seating is the only safe and healthy option right now in Philadelphia. We wanted to add a joyful and positive spin to what outdoor dining means. We recently opened up our other restaurants and brought back our staff. This project entirely driven by their ideas and initiative – and it was a great way for them to stay positive, stay strong and find some personal joy and light right now.”
Sourias added, “Originally we were going to operate for twelve days in honor of the twelve days of Christmas, but instead we are now going to be open all summer long until Labor Day – or until the interest dies down. While we open this weekend, there’s no need to rush – Tinsel in July will be the gift that keeps on giving for you to see when you are ready and comfortable anytime in the next six to seven weeks. We are also pleased to announce we will feed hospital workers with a portion of sales from our popular Canned Goods cocktail. Merry Christmas (in July) and we hope to see your smize behind your masks this summer.”
Tinsel originated in 2017 as Philadelphia’s original and only Christmas pop-up bar. The new concept opened inside a 100+ year jewelry store. The baton was passed from the sparkle of diamonds to now the twinkle of thousands of holiday lights. Tinsel brought new life into the street level space that is was vacant for many years. Simpson’s Jewelry was a family run, full service, jewelry store which was established in 1895.
Tinsel continued to operate as a pop-up bar adding on Nightmare Before Tinsel, a Philadelphia Halloween pop-up bar in 2019. Plans were underway for a brand-new spring pop-up in the space when the global pandemic COVID19 shut down those plans as interior design was underway. During this time, design was underway for the recently acquired space in the former home of Midtown and Penn Six. Those plans also came to an immediate hault when COVID19 shut down the city.
In spring of 2020, Craft Concepts Group reopened Finn McCools, Tradesman’s and BRU with take-out, delivery and outdoor seating. Since bars are not allowed to be open, Tinsel, Kontol, U-Bahn and Uptown Beer Garden have all be shuttered for the health and safety of staff and patrons. CCG’s employees thought of the idea to take outdoor seating to a fun new level – and to bring an uplifting project to 12th Street with the debut of Tinsel in July.
For Tinsel in July, Craft Concepts Group has turned the stretch between Finn McCools Ale House (118 S. 12th), Tinsel (116 S. 12th) and the former Midtown Restaurant (114 S. 12th) into Philadelphia’s “Tinsel Town.” Even neighbor Go Popcorn has joined the festive fun at 112 S. 12th with decorations and coming-soon holiday popcorns (stay tuned for dates).
While all CCG venues will work hand in hand with each other, they each have their own uniquely themed designs designed by interior designer Anne White of AGW Interiors (Tinsel, Blume, Tradesman’s, Leda and the Swan, others).
FInn McCools, the oldest venue of Craft Concepts Group, has a more transitional Christmas theme with beautiful wreaths, vintage sleds from White’s own childhood, and Santa inspired garden gnomes. Tinsel property is inspired by a Dr. Seuss Christmas with a winter cottage facade. Santa’s Elf’s can be found playing around on the cottage’s fence. The seating area is lined with 7′-0″ tall Christmas palm trees and 8 north poles decorated with ribbon, garland, and bells. White Christmas trees are scattered throughout. Luka Ma, the new sweet tooth venue serving desserts, has a bright and colorful design. It is decorated with oversized Christmas lights and over 25 oversized Christmas candies throughout. Santa’s Elf’s have switched gears from wrapping presents to making delicious desserts for all to enjoy. Background music will be a collection of familiar and quirky holiday tunes curated by well-known DJ Robert Drake.
“Tinsel in July was an exciting and challenging project as I have never designed such a unique outdoor dining space,” said White. “Come on over and let this special environment bring you some Christmas Joy! The staff and team here worked really hard to bring this together – and we hope you are able to enjoy some of the sparkle on 12th Street this summer.”
For food, patrons can enjoy a full dinner menu of Philadelphia and bar favorites outside of Finn McCools, including the well-known Philly Cheesesteak Eggrolls. Outside of the 114 S. 12th Street property, look for the grand debut of Luka Ma – featuring traditional Greek Loukoumades – little fluffy sweet honey balls, deep fried to golden perfection, and topped with your choice of eight different toppings. These are inspired by the authentic Greek holiday desserts inspired by Sourias’ own childhood with his big Greek family. This new sweet shop will also feature dessert empanadas, fried oreos and other tasty Christmas (and Christmas in July) inspired treats.
For cocktails, look for a selection of naughty and nice Christmas creations – including frozen mint “hot” chocolate, plus Grinch boozy pops. Ice cold craft beer, standard cocktails and other beverages will also be available. The popular Tinsel cocktail called Canned Good will return with a portion of the proceeds going to feed hospital workers as the country enters the second wave of the global pandemic. Several select drinks will arrive at tables safely in a Santa’s boot, a snow globe and other souvenir vessels.
Cocktails to go and food to go from Finn McCools, Tinsel and Luku Ma are available to go as well. Look for a new system to debut soon where patrons can place their order online and pick-up at a the Luka Ma window.
For guest seating, parties of four and six can reserve socially distanced cafe seating outside Finn McCools and Tinsel in the heart of the decorations. For seating in front of Luka Ma, look for tables of two for smaller groups looking to enjoy sweets and cocktails. For the grinches in the group, non-decorated full service dining on the Samson Street side of Finn McCools is available featuring oversized shaded umbrellas.
Reservations are required for all full service dinner tables to ensure time limits, social distancing and to avoid any lines and ques.For reservations for these full service dinner tables call Finn’s at (215) 923-3090. Seating at Luka Ma is first come, first serve.
For health and safety, Santa requires all guests must wear masks unless they are at a table, with absolutely no exceptions, otherwise they will make Santa’s naughty list and be asked to leave.Additional safety protocols include staff temperature checks, the mandatory wearing of masks, socially distanced tables, new cleaning procedures, and other new systems.
Tinsel in July was originally slated to debut for 12 days in July but CCG announces this will be open to the end of August or as interest remains – so that people don’t need to rush down. Sourias wants everyone to enjoy this hopeful and joyful project during this very stressful time.
“Don’t leave home for Tinsel in July without your mask,” said Sourias. “Masks are 100% required and the new normal for Tinsel in July and all of our properties. Also, remember, we are hear all summer long, so make your plans for July and August – and come when you are ready. We hope to lift up your spirits and have you leave with a big smize.”
For more about Tinsel in July and Luka Ma, visit TinselPhilly on Instagram.