Holiday pop-up bar raises over $30,000 for local organizations

Photo: Anna Tran

The holiday pop-up bar created by the folks behind Maxine’s Tap Room and Leverett Lounge during Lights of the Ozarks this year has concluded a 40-day run on the square, but not before writing some pretty big checks to local non-profit organizations.

Hannah Withers, co-owner of the establishment called Holidaze that transformed the space at 18 E. Center into a temporary Christmastime wonderland, this week announced the bar raised over $30,000 for KUAF, Magdalene Serenity House, and the NWA Center for Equality.

“We had no idea what a hit this was going to be,” she said. “We had moments where we definitely could have used a bigger space, but the level of cheer we felt in that space was different than anything we’ve ever done. We had a lot of people thank us for helping them get in the spirit.”

The establishment ran a host of individual fundraisers, including a ‘nog off’ egg nog making competition, a record night, an Elvis cover band, a drag show, and other events.

In all, the bar raised $8,100 for KUAF, $10,700 for Magdalene Serenity House, and $12,300 to NWA Equality.

Photo: Richard Gathright

“We are pretty proud of the money we raised for some non-profits we believe in, and to provide work during the holidays to some friends who needed it,” Withers said. “And we had a had a really good time doing it.”

The bar also hosted a “Save the Buffalo River” letter writing event, a handful of fundraisers for local candidates for office, among other events.

Withers credited the community who were willing to donate time, effort, and their spare holiday decorations to the cause for the success of the charity pop-up bar.

“We should also thank a billion people who loaned us refrigerators, helped us get internet, were on call to come in and help,” she said. “We had a Christmas village.”

Holidaze opened up the night before Lights of The Ozarks kicked off, and ran through New Year’s Eve. The bar employed 7 people during their run, including bartenders and support staff.

The experiment went so well, in fact, that Withers said she hopes to recreate the magic again next year.

“The tricky thing is, the building we were in is for sale, so it may not be available to us. It may come down to us finding a space near the square with the amenities that we need.

“But yes. We would love to do it again next year,” she said.