Review of the Popbar Artisan Popsicle Shop in Concord

Sometimes you feel like having a sweet treat, but you don’t want the heaviness of an ice cream or gelato. Or you want to have your ice cream, but to eat it while taking a walk. When I want a quick, tasty treat that’s light and portable, I love to head to Pop Bar at the Veranda in Concord.

Pop Bar is an artisan popsicle store. (I know–if you wanted to sum up the Bay Area in a single phrase, you could do worse than ‘artisan popsicle store’). Pop Bar sells a wide variety of housemade popsicles, as well as gelato bars and drinks like smoothies and milkshakes. I haven’t tried their other creations–the main attraction here are the pops, and I’ve eaten them in all ways, shapes, and forms.

Visiting Popbar in Concord

When you arrive at Pop Bar, you’re greeted by a freezer display case with colorful popsicles held in special stands. There are two main types–traditional pops that are made without dairy and gelato bars that are made with frozen, dairy-based gelato. The traditional pops come in flavors like strawberry, mango, or passionfruit, and the gelato pops come in flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio.

All the pops are made in-house, and many are made with fresh fruit and other tasty and fresh ingredients. The quality is really good–there are no frozen corn syrup-and-food-coloring monstrosities here. They’re popsicles befitting of the Bay Area’s obsessive, slightly crazy food scene. 

Choose Your Toppings

You choose your pop and then customize it to your liking. How do you customize a popsicle? It’s easy–you can opt to have your pop dipped in a molten chocolate mixture and then dipped into various coatings. Think about those strawberry shortcake pops you had as a kid, with little pellets of frozen cake on the outside. It’s like that, except you can choose from a variety of topping options. 

You can also opt for a full dip or half dip in chocolate for your pop, and choose between dark, milk and white chocolate. My favorite combo is a raspberry or strawberry pop dipped in white chocolate with rainbow sprinkles (very mature, I know). It goes without saying that Pop Bar is a great place to take your kids, but having one of these popsicles will also make you feel like a kid at heart, no matter your age.

Each Pop Bar popsicle is served with a little paper protector that keeps the drips from hitting your hand, so you can enjoy it at whatever pace you want. The protectors have motivational popsicle-related slogans on them, fortune cookie style.

Take Your Popsicle for a Walk

My favorite thing to do is to get a popsicle and then take a leisurely stroll around the Veranda shopping center while enjoying it. Popsicles’ inherently portable format makes trolling and munching easy, and the Veranda is a nice environment to wander around. Just don’t take your dripping popsicle into Barnes and Noble or you’ll risk some seriously nasty looks. If you’re there with kids, you can also enjoy your pop while they play in the nearby, very awesome vertical playground.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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