Nashville’s bars are beginning to look a lot like Christmas as several are transforming into special holiday pop-ups. Covering every available surface with over-the-top decorations and creating inventive holiday cocktail menus, they are taking the festiveness of the season to a new level. Put on your favorite ugly Christmas sweater and visit one of these bars during the holiday season or create your own pub crawl by hitting up several of them. (Santa suit optional.)
They’ve never shied away from a good time at Headquarters Beercade, the huge bar/arcade downtown on 2nd Avenue S. With more than 20 retro video games and lots of pinball machines set for free play, it’s a great place to relive some misspent youth while leaving the quarters in your pocket for drinks. For the month of December, Headquarters has been transformed into Reindeer Games, an immersive holiday pop-up bar featuring over-the-top decorations, interactive installations, holiday-inspired cocktails and more. Visitors will marvel at decorations including walls adorned with thousands of ornaments, 2,000 feet of twinkle lights illuminating the ceiling, 1,500 feet of garland draped on archways, a life-size Santa’s sleigh and a giant, four-person snow globe installation. There are also displays inspired by favorite Christmas films including “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” and more. “Our goal with Headquarters Beercade has always been to create a lighthearted and spirited atmosphere where people can have a great time,” said Brian Galati partner and owner of Headquarters Beercade. “This season, we decided to take it to the next level with Reindeer Games and offer a one-of-a-kind holiday experience in Nashville for locals and visitors to enjoy all month long.” Snack on Reindeer Games’ menu of festive dishes including Santa’s Sliders with roast turkey breast and housemade cranberry sauce, Charlie Brown’s Christmas Queso served with red and green tortilla chips and Rudolph’s Reindeer Snacks with fried cinnamon sugar apples drizzled with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. The specialty cocktail menu features creative takes on classic Christmas drinks and holiday flavors including:
- Jack’d Skellington: cranberry infused gin, lime served with a gingerbread cookie
- Naughty List: rye whiskey, maple syrup, oloroso sherry, almond milk topped with white cotton candy and coconut snow
- Pumpkin Spice Hot Toddy: bourbon, honey, lemon and pumpkin spice, served warm
- Red Ryder Rosé: spiced rosé, pear brandy served warm with cinnamon and candied almonds
- White Christmas: vodka, mint and chocolate liqueurs, coconut cream served with grasshopper cookie rim
- Santa’s Snack: spiked chocolate milk with Nutella and candy cane infused vodka served with six chocolate chip cookies
In addition to over-the-top decor and special menus, Reindeer Games will offer 30 days of events and discounts throughout the month including Brew ‘n’ View holiday movie nights every Tuesday, Christmas-themed Savage Bingo every Wednesday, visits from Santa every Thursday and Ugly Sweater parties every Friday. Leading up to Christmas, Reindeer Games will also host special one-off events including a Jingle Ball charity gala, Bad Santa costume party and Karaoke on Christmas Eve. For more information and the complete schedule of events click here.
The luxurious Noelle has partnered with Miracle, the beloved Christmas-themed pop-up bar launched in 2014 in New York City, to create Miracle at Hidden Bar spreading holiday cheer until December 31. Now in its fifth year, Miracle has expanded to 90 locations internationally. Guests to Noelle can expect appropriately gaudy holiday decorations, a killer playlist and festive cocktails by mixologist Scott Baird served in cheerful glassware. Holiday cocktail highlights include:
- Snowball Old-Fashioned: gingerbread bourbon, Wormwood bitters, lemon zest
- Christmas Carol Barrel: aged rum, Aquavit, Amaro, pumpkin pie, Demerara syrup, lime, vanilla, Angostura bitters)
- A Partridge In A Pear Tree: Reposado Tequila, pear brandy, Mezcal, spiced Demerara syrup, lime, egg white, club soda, Angostura Bitters and cinnamon
Finally, cozy neighborhood Walden has reinvented themselves as Winter Waldenland for the holidays, completely transforming their space into winter wonderland with a fireplace lounge and dancing Santas all over the place. They’ll be serving up holiday-themed cocktails, like the classic Eggnog and other festive drinks such as their Snowflake Martini. In addition, the bar will host multiple events throughout the month, including a daily advent calendar giveaway with prizes like rocks glasses and countertop barrels, sponsored by Four Roses Bourbon, and a Pet Supply Drive which will end with a Paws & Pints Happy Hour in partnership with Blackstone Brewing on December 13. Drop in for a cup of holiday cheer!
Bar Sovereign is tough to find, tucked into a little row of commercial buildings on 5th avenue south of Bridgestone Arena. Look for a single small gold sign to mark the entrance, but once you get through the door, you’ll discover a world a fun holiday delights. They’re throwing back to the 70’s with a “Disco Holidaze” theme featuring an LED dance floor à la “Saturday Night Fever,” decorations from the floor to the ceiling and a Rudolph disco mirror ball. In addition to holiday food items, the drinks menu is full of holiday and 70’s era-inspired cocktails. Expect a Christmas Harvey Wallbanger named “Slay Belle Slay” and a mulled rye old fashioned called the “Merry Gentleman.”