Dallas' obsession with kitschy pop-ups at its favorite bars has not dimmed, and The Ill Minster Pub is ready to serve up the next nightlife craze: The natty London-themed bar in Uptown Dallas is launching a pop-up that embraces pop-culture juggernaut Star Wars.
Dubbed "Ill Minster Cantina," the limited-run pop-up will take over the entire bar and will commence on February 15.
Ill Minster is a pop-up veteran, having executed two successful versions in 2019, beginning in March with its Game of Thrones pop-up, then again in October with a pop-up dedicated to the 1993 film Nightmare Before Christmas.
Co-owner Patrick Gorman, who helps choose the themes and execute them via menus and decor, says that Star Wars seemed like an obvious choice.
"It has such a big following, and we're all fans, and the timing seemed right with the recent release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," he says.
The theme also lent itself to copious creative opportunities, including some over-the-top memorabilia and decorative touches. They shut down the bar for a week to redo the space.
"The main attraction is probably the space ship," Gorman says. "We have a Millenium Falcon model hanging from the ceiling that is at least 6 feet across. When we ordered it, we didn't know the dimensions, and it was way bigger than we thought. It's pretty wild."
The inside of the bar has been fitted with metal tubing and ducts that are meant to evoke the inside of the Death Star. And of their 11 TVs, 10 will screen various films from the Star Wars series. "We'll leave one for sports," he says.
- a life-sized replica of Chewbacca
- a 6'5"-foot-tall Darth Vader, flanked by two storm troopers
- "fairy lights" that make the ceiling look like a night sky
In addition, there's a menu of themed drinks. Consider the Leia, which has Patron coffee liqueur, vodka, and rumchata in a tall white glass, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with mini-cinnamon-bun cereal that summons Princess Leia's pinwheeled hair; and the Baby Yoda, with vodka and eerie green melon liqueur, adorned with limes that are cut to resemble Yoda ears.
Gorman says that the bar will be littered with mementos.
"We have little touches so that everywhere you turn, you'll spot something, and maybe miss some of it the first time around," he says.
Themed pop-ups have emerged as an innovative way for bars to get through what might otherwise be slow months. Dallas-based This & That Hospitality, which owns a number of local bars such as High Fives, Tiny Victories, and Dibs on Victory, has enjoyed success with similar pop-culture-themed pop-ups at its Henderson Avenue bar The Whippersnapper, with its most recent venture being a recreation of TV show The Office.
Gorman says that it becomes a festive party. "Customers come dressed in costume and everyone wants to take photos," he says.