Bar-hopping your way around Music City is always a good time, but around the holidays it gets even better as multiple Nashville bars have continued the new tradition of hosting holiday pop-ups with appropriately over-the-top decor and specialty themed drinks. You could hit one a night for a week and still not exhaust the opportunities, or just load up your phone with Uber Bucks and make a long evening of it! Here are some of the merriest of venues in Nashville this season:
Last year, the boutique Bobby Hotel introduced a holiday installation at its already popular rooftop bar, and it quickly became the hit of the season! They ended up extending its run far past the new year, and fans are tickled about the return of the Winter Nordic Village. In addition to the rentable private geodesic dome “igloos” that were the site of many an intimate holiday party last year, they’ve added a couple of cabins for a more rustic vibe. Guests can reserve their spots for three-hour seatings with a food and drink minimum and enjoy a festive evening out without having to worry about the elements. (The igloos also get a prime view of Nashville’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display.)
This popular SoBro adult arcade and bar is also bringing back an old favorite for another year with their activation of Reindeer Games. The two stories of HQ will twinkle under thousands of Christmas lights, and the walls are covered with tinsel, ornaments, wreaths and even more lights. A giant Santa greets guests at the door and points them to the bar where they can enjoy a host of holiday-themed cocktails. Dedicated Instagram stations will offer photo opportunities for next year’s holiday card or tonight’s late night drunk post.
The Parlour Bar in the Dream Nashville hotel is usually a jovial meeting spot, but during the holidays it’s even sweeter. The hotel staff has converted Parlour Bar into a full-on Gingerbread Bar, complete with an edible cookie wall. If nibbling on the furnishings isn’t your thing, Dream also offers seasonal pastries, small plates for sharing and a seasonal menu of specialty cocktails.
The innovative downtown hotel alternative, Bode, heads to the islands for their Christmas vacation as they feature a tiki-inspired pop-up called Sippin’ Santa. In addition to a Christmas/island mashup of decor, the bar will showcase a menu of tiki holiday drinks created by one of the masters of the genre, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Guests can sip on libations like the Kris Kringle Colada or the Jingle Bowl, a boozy rum punch sized for sharing.
Von Elrod’s is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink or two before or after a visit to the GLOW Nashville experience across the street at First Tennessee Park. But whether you have a ticket to walk among the lights at the ballpark or not, Von Elrod’s is worthy of a visit to experience their convivial holiday beer garden which they have turned into an Alpine Forest complete with lit trees and a huge (fake) bear. Sip on a Mocha Mint Spiked Hot Chocolate and snack on a sweet S’more Pretzel or hearty seasonal sausages.
Hidden Bar in the basement of the Noelle hotel has been around long enough that it’s hardly hidden anymore, especially during the holidays when they convert the cozy bar into a Candy Wonderland. You’ll certainly be able to trace the path of guests coming and going through what appears to be a broom closet, so just follow them to the life-sized gingerbread house that is the site of the bar serving outrageous holiday cocktails.
Bar Sovereign could also claim the moniker “hidden bar,” since most folks have no idea that there’s a really fun venue in that little industrial strip center along 5th Avenue South. Look for a tiny gold sign with the name of the bar, and you’ll know you’re in the right place when you open the door to see a riot of decorations hanging from every square foot of the already eclectic bar. They’re kickin’ it 70’s-style as part of their Disco Holidays pop-up, with a mirror ball hanging from the ceiling and a small LED dance floor a la Saturday Night Fever for guests to shake their groove things. Like other pop-ups in town, Bar Sovereign has created a special holiday cocktail list, but their recipes are a little more refined than most.
Cozy East Nashville neighborhood hang Walden has grabbed onto A Christmas Story for thematic elements of this year’s holiday installation with movie-inspired cocktails like “Ohh Fudge!” and “Deranged Easter Bunny.” Walden never takes itself too seriously, so they’ll also be serving jello shooters including “Soap Poisoning” and “Egg Nog.” Other nice touches include a fireplace lounge, dancing Santas and peppermint Christmas trees.