Since 2018, award-winning bartender Naomi Levy has hosted Maccabee Bar, Boston's first and only Hanukkah-themed pop-up at Variety Bar, in Somerville’s Bow Market.
“I love the holiday season, but I felt like I was a tourist,” Levy, who is Jewish, told The Boston Globe. So she thought: “What if I do a Hanukkah-themed bar? Not just a Hanukkah drink on the menu or a token menorah in the corner, but a fully Hanukkah-themed event? It’s a way for me to take my upbringing and Jewish culture and share it with people in a really fun way.”
Levy is in good company. According to a 2015 study by Brandeis University, greater Boston is home to the fourth-largest Jewish community in the country with 248,000 Jews.
All are welcome at Macabee Bar, and this year they are doing things a bit differently including beefed-up safety protocols: Bow Market has invested in "custom built dividers and a tricked-out HVAC system that brings in outside air and turns the air over 4 times every hour."
Levy also requires weekly COVID testing for her staff. The website reminds potential guests to "be a mensch – if you’re not feeling well, stay home!"
If you fall into the mench-at-home category you can still enjoy some of the fun surprises of Macabee Bar. They are offering take-home kits filled with snacks like hummus and flatbread from chef Louis DiBiccari’s Humaari, as well as the traditional Hanukkah sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), from Lionheart Confections...
...and two single-serve bottled Maccabee Bar Cocktails.Each $49.99 kit also includes dreidels and gelt, and crafts and activities like Hanukkah-themed Mad Libs! Pre-order here and pick up your kit on Thursdays and Sundays.
There is also indoor drinking and dining, with themed cocktails (try the in-housevitz, made with Manischewitz; the Negroni-esque Kosher Nostra, flavored with tzimmes simple syrup; or the Zohan, a tequila drink spiked with harissa.)
.., as well as traditional Jewish delicacies including latkes, matzoh ball soup, and pita sandwiches.
Maccabee Bar pops up through Jan. 3; take-home boxes are available Dec. 6-20.