“What’s a holiday pop-up?”, a friend said to me recently. I answered, “Basically, several bars/restaurants have rebranded themselves to look like Santa Claus threw up all over the place.” As I sit here writing this, I’m debating whether or not I should go out and get more photos from these places, but going on a bar crawl (if even just to gather content), just a day before I go to basically do the same thing in Savannah, GA doesn’t seem like a good idea. So, I’ll sit here by my Christmas tree, retinol burned face and put together this comprehensive guide to all things holiday fun this season in Atlanta.
Ponce City Market
There’s no shortage of holiday cheer at PCM this season. Beginning with a Santa & The Grinch. They take up residence on the second floor of the market, in a wonderfully styled lair, complete with a life-size replica of the Grinch’s sleigh. Check out their website for visiting hours, or kids can just drop by to put their letters in their respective mailboxes. Avoid the crowds if you don’t have kids (you can still check out the lair and take a selfie on the sleigh) and visit during the away hours. You can check out Citizen Supply‘s holiday tiki bar and take care of your holiday shopping. They offer an array of goods sold from small brands locally and from around the world. Vendors range from leather makers to plant curators. Oh, and the tiki bar is smack dab in the middle of the store.
Biltong Bar, located on the first floor has transformed to The Blitzen Room this season, offering holiday themed craft cocktails (including Chartreuse Hot Chocolate and Frozen Egg Nog) in a festive bar, with a side of biltong (beef jerky). Out front, there’s a Christmas tree farm, and the rooftop now has a 3,500-square foot ice skating rink, lined with igloos. Yes, igloos. Igloo Reservations require a $150 rental fee and can seat up to six guests. Reservations include admission to The Roof, 2 hours reserved in a private igloo, dedicated server, skate rentals with 50 min of skate time, and unlimited games and rides at Skyline Park (when available). Food and beverage are available to purchase inside the igloo.
Host your own Holiday Bar Crawl
Looking for somewhere to wear your tacky Christmas sweater outside of your lame office party? Our favorite Atlanta bars are capitalizing on our holiday cheer this year (can you blame them?), with December pop-ups featuring themed food and drink. Bright twinkling lights, wrapping paper from floor to ceiling, Christmas music blaring.
The concept was born in 2014 when upon the advice of his mother, owner Greg Boehm decided to halt construction of what was to be his new East Village cocktail bar called Mace and transformed the unfinished space into a pop-up bar serving holiday-themed drinks among over-the-top Christmas decorations. As crowds swarmed the NYC location, Boehm’s friends throughout the bar industry asked how they could recreate the holiday magic on their own turf and expansion became inevitable. The following year, Miracle expanded to 4 locations and in 2016, it went worldwide with pop-ups in Greece, Montreal and Paris. Currently, Boehm and manager Joann Spiegel are pleased to expand the concept to all corners of the US, plus pop-ups in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Central America.
Many have chosen to forego the cost involved with becoming an official “Miracle partner” by taking matters into their own hands, and are doing it quite well. Oh, hey, Little Spirit! Little Spirit is located on N. Highland Ave NE, in Inman Park. It’s steps away from Parish (aka Miracle on Highland), so check out both for a double dose of cheer without having to call another Lyft. You’ll find more throughout the city, but these are a few that I know first hand are worth the stop.
Botanical Gardens – Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
This time of year, Atlanta Botanical Garden filled with synchronized holiday lights and music. Breathtaking displays, and you guessed it… satellite bars with festive drinks like spiked apple cider (we obviously have a theme going on here). There are also s’more roasting pits throughout the garden, many photo ops, a larger than life display of model trains, perfect for kids and adults alike (Mike loves it), and even a lounge with a DJ. Tickets are $34.95 each for non-member adults, if you purchase tickets in advance (you must choose your date). The experience happens between 5-11pm through January 11th, and peak nights sell out quickly. If you choose one thing to do from this list, let this be it.
TFTI – The Ultimate Photo Experience
Only around for a limited time, this pop-up photo experience is for Instagram lovers, photographers, bloggers, and even kids. Located in Lenox Square Mall, the space features a number of rooms designed with specific themes, including a rope swing in a room full of clouds, a kissing booth, a wall of roses, and an upside down living room, decorated for Christmas. Let your creative juices flow. Purchase tickets online by choosing a specific date and time. Priced at $25 for adults and $20 for kids. Open 7 days a week, during the mall holiday hours. Here are highlights from my recent media night visit.
Fire & Ice at Park Tavern
Park Tavern, located just on the edge of Piedmont Park with a view of the Midtown skyline, transforms into an icy wonderland this season. Their patio space is filled with holiday decor, cozy fire pits for s’mores roasting, private cabanas, and an 85 foot long ice skating rink, all covered to keep you nice and toasty. The cost is $20 on weekends ($15 weekdays) for the skate rental and access to the rink. Of course, you can dine on Park Tavern favorites, sushi, seasonal cocktails, and house-made brews, per usual. Weekend nights are fleeting, so head out for a cup full of cheer on a Wednesday and receive 1/2 off bottles of wine and 1/2 off fresh sushi, dips, and sangria from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Disclaimer & CALL TO ACTION
I didn’t want to include anything that I haven’t personally experienced, so know that this this just a taste of what Atlanta has to offer this season. Now get dressed up, spike your ‘nog, and head out for some holiday cheer. Because no one likes a Cotton-Headed Ninnymuggins.