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Boston’s Outdoor GAME OF THRONES Pop-up Bar is Colder Than Winterfell, But Fantastic Fun

The weather in New England this winter has been nothing short of an abomination. We broke a century-old record for consecutive days below freezing temperatures, even beating the Arctic Circle in sheer chilliness. Then we got hit by a blizzard meteorologists legitimately referred to as a “bomb cyclone,” which was immediately followed by arctic air that resulted in historic low temperatures. It’s been so miserable here the ocean froze in Cape Cod. We’ve basically been living like wildlings, which is why it’s only fitting this month Boston got its very own outdoor Game of Thrones pop-up bar, the kind of drinking experience designed for a true Northerner.

This week, Precinct Kitchen + Bar, located at the Loews Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay, opened its first ever pop-up, called “Winter is Coming.” The space, set up on the bar’s outdoor patio through the rest of the month, is designed to transport patrons to the icy north of Winterfell, with banners featuring a giant weirwood tree and The Wall, along with two thrones covered in (fake) fur rugs in front of a House Stark banner (although some decorations pay homage to House Lannister and the Mother of Dragons as well). There’s also haystacks and fur-lined tables where you can sit and have a drink with the show’s soundtrack booming behind you.

They’ve also put together a special themed menu, with options like “Mussels by Arya” and “Chicken Littlefingers,” though I opted for the terrific “A Burger Has No Name” and the “Direwolf Charcuterie Platter,” a dish that worthy of being served to King Robert when he visited Ned.

Salted meat and bread, plus Precinct Kitchen + Bar honors Guest Right

But I bet it’s the special drink menu that will prove most popular with patrons, because if you’re going to brave the cold of Boston in January you might as well warm up with the “Blood of the Dragon” (Putnam rye, cranberry, chai, and clove), or the very winter appropriate “Beyond the Wall” (bourbon, maple, ginger), which somehow tasted like actual New England.

The two best drinks were the “Smoke of the Dragon’s Breath” (Gosling’s rum, Mezcal, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and bitters), which is made with actual smoke, giving it both a great look and taste. But if wrapping yourself in one of their available fur coats or blankets isn’t enough to keep you warm, go with “The Red Wedding,” their spiced mulled wine. It won’t kill you, and it will warm you up, including your hands if you order yours in a commemorative cup you can take home. It’s the best option if you plan on spending your entire time there outside.

This “Red Wedding” won’t break your heart–it will warm it.

And you should, as being outside is the fun part. While guests have the option of eating and drinking inside or splitting their time between the two, being outdoors at “Winter is Coming” is sort of like drinking at the best photo booth you’ve ever seen. Every single person I saw out there asked someone to take their picture in front of the huge banners, or wrapped in furs sitting on the thrones. (Although there was something strange about seeing one blonde-haired man in that setting, as though a Lannister had become Lord of Winterfell.) It also feels like a bar as opposed to an exhibit, which is appropriate since it is inspired by the simpler life of the North in Westeros, and will appeal to the type of Boston crowd who will be excited to drink outside in January.

But during a winter that has been this miserable, why make your first pop-up an outdoor winter one at all? “The patio is extremely popular during summer and warmer months of the year, so we wanted to be able to let our guests experience what they love about the patio beyond May to October,” said General Manager Robert Rivers. “We choose the theme and décor because we knew there is a loyal following and fan base behind it.”

Enjoy a “Needle” or “Cersei’s Posion” while praying to the old gods.

Considering the patio was busy with people wearing furs at five o’clock during its opening Tuesday night, when the temperature was around 28 degrees (which currently qualifies as a heatwave in Boston), it seems the plan worked. One young couple, Jeff and Becca from Lexington (about half an hour away from Boston), said they love the show so much they absolutely had to come. But would they have been as willing the previous weekend when the temps were in the single digits? Becca said this was about as cold as she could handle (and in fairness, the normal awful winds of Boston weren’t helping, even though the patio is below sidewalk level).

“I would have come without her,” said Jeff.

He wasn’t alone. One table of coworkers whose office is across the street from Precint, and whose dedication to the show ranged from longtime fans to one who had just binged the entire series in seven weeks, said their reason for being outside was simple: “We love Game of Thrones.”

But while it would be easy to say this is a drinking experience only hardened denizens of the North/lunatics would enjoy, that wasn’t the case at all. One couple bundled up in furs enjoying their drinks outside, Rodney Billiet and Caitlin Herrick, were in town on vacation from Melbourne, where they said Australia is currently so hot the streets are melting. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a natural counter response would be to visit an outdoor bar in Boston in January, so what brought them out?

“I love Game of Thrones and I love a beer,” said Rodney. He might be from Down Under, but that’s the best definition of a true Northerner I’ve ever heard, especially since he added, “I’m House Stark all the way.”

Winter has more than come to Boston this year, but at the “Winter is Coming” Game of Thrones popup bare that’s the fun of it.

“Winter is Coming” runs through the end of January, seven days a week from 4-11 p.m. at the Precinct Kitchen + Bar patio at 154 Berkeley Street in Boston, MA.

Do you love Game of Thrones enough to drink outside in the bitter cold of winter? Is their any temperature too cold for you? Tell us in the comments below.

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