After more than a year of limited gatherings, folks are thirsty for events — and the drinks that go with them. As holidays approach and event season picks up, mobile bars are becoming a popular way to shake cocktails and cool vibes into a party. The five mobile pop-up bars in this month's Where to Drink list — from a rolling honky-tonk on wheels to a vintage bus with gold taps — come from experienced beverage professionals who are ready to roll in Fort Worth and surrounding areas.
Bubble Bus Co.
Husband-and-wife duo Clay and Lina Sexuar launched their mobile bar business in late 2019, transforming a 1978 Volkswagen bus into a chic bar with wooden oak tile and gold-handled taps. During the restaurant and bar shutdown in 2020, the bus became popular for making pop-up visits to Fort Worth-area neighborhoods to pour complimentary bubbly as a “Happiness on Tap” initiative. Today the bus can be rented for any occasion, from weddings to backyard barbecues. The duo can provide the beverages, including beer, wine, liquor, or even coffee and mocktails, as well as staging props including fire pits and seating areas. An average two-hour service might run around $795 and includes about 100 drinks, but that price might increase or decrease depending on the number of drinks served.
Pop Up Bar
After years of bartending at The Usual, Pam Moncrief gained such a local following for her craft cocktail skills that she was being asked to provide her services at private events. In 2018 she launched Pop Up Bar, providing not only bartending services but event consultations, custom cocktail menus, and even photography. While Moncrief’s business took a hiatus during much of 2020, she’s back and busy with bookings. Prices start at $300 for one bartender, but for an additional fee, Moncrief and her team can provide everything from spirits, glassware, and custom napkins to bar furniture, cocktail tables, and more.
Twister Mixers Bartending
This brand new Fort Worth-based pop-up bar service comes from Emily Knoll and Jennifer Cortes, who boast extensive experience in bartending and in the events and hospitality industry. The duo provides it all, from the drinkware and the alcohol to the post-event cleanup. They’ll travel within 50 miles of Fort Worth with their mobile bar trailer for no additional fee and will soon add the option of multiple bar stations to suit events of any size. Need specialty cocktail recommendations? “Emily likes to get fancy with her holiday drinks and loves a sugar cookie martini — a shaken shot including Rumchata, Fireball, and Bailey’s topped with whipped cream,” says Cortes. “I tend to stick to the classics that warm me up. I love a good mix of Skrewball peanut butter whiskey and eggnog, or a classic White Russian.” Packages start at $600 for beer and wine service only and $800 for beer, wine, and well drinks with classic garnishes. Look for private mixology classes to be added next year.
Hello Trouble Hall
Attendees of the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival might have bellied up to this honky-tonk on wheels, which originates from Austin and travels all over Texas for events and private parties. Inside feels like a real-life dancehall, with classic country album covers, autographed prints, guitars, and bar lights adorning the wooden walls. Owner Chris Marsh says he created the traveling trailer in 2016 after selling his bar in Austin. The memorabilia is from his private collection, and he rotates items to keep every event fresh. (His prized possession is a Johnny Cash print obtained from Cash’s own estate.) Rental prices vary per event and distance traveled but start at $2,000 for four hours. The customer provides the alcohol, but Marsh provides the bartending service along with ice, cups, mixers, “and all the classic country you can handle,” he says.
Ernesto Ocampo started his frozen drink machine rental business 18 years ago, and while he still provides margarita machines, he says the pandemic forced him to rethink his business model. At the onset of the shutdown in 2020, he started selling gift cards that came with a gift with purchase — margaritas by the gallon. Word spread and he became in demand for neighborhood pop-ups. Now he partners with taco truck Chula’s Kitchen to make event or residential-area appearances, in addition to providing his bartending services for private parties. Margarita and frozen drink flavors range from mango and watermelon to strawberry daiquiri and blue Hawaiian, but the spirits used aren’t limited to tequila — Ocampo can mix and Jack and Coke or gin and tonic, too. He can also provide a festive presence with music from booming speakers, if desired. Prices vary per event type.