Christmas-themed bars are spreading good cheer and booze during the holidays. You may have noticed them in your town or on your Instagram feed. You may even have an annual tradition of visiting one. However you feel about them, one thing is for sure: Christmas-themed bars are everywhere.
These unabashedly kitschy holiday pop-ups spread holiday cheer and plenty of booze in the form of yuletide-themed cocktails. Adorned with an explosion of tinsel, ribbon, and countless other Christmas touches, these bars manage to draw massive crowds dedicated to celebrating in the spirit of the holidays. Even the guy behind the trend, Greg Boehm, is shocked by their success.
Boehm — who is also the founder and CEO of barware giant Cocktail Kingdom and owner of several cocktail bars around New York City — founded Miracle Pop-Up in 2014. At the advice of his mother, he halted construction on a future cocktail bar on New York’s Lower East Side for the month of December, choosing instead to deck the halls and transform the construction site into his first Christmas bar. The crowds descended, and Boehm never looked back.
Must-read article: TripAdvisor & Michelin Team Up To Help Diners Find Better Restaurants
Now with hundreds of locations in 37 states and several countries outside the US, one thing is clear: Nostalgia sells. “The diversity of our customers is huge,” Boehm explained. From high school reunions to first dates and company holiday parties, everyone wants in on the action.
In Atlanta, Georgia, there are at least 12 Christmas-themed bars (though not all of them are Miracle popups) this year, a trend Eater Atlanta editor Beth McKibben has watched grow steadily over the past few years. “It’s borderline ridiculous,” she said. But McKibben has a theory to explain their success.
“With the heavy news cycle we’re all in right now,” McKibben theorized, “it’s a place for people to relax for a minute and just be joyous.” And in a city like Atlanta, where many residents are transplants from far away, there’s an element of wistfulness and seeking holiday comforts that permeates the city. “A lot of people are away from their families,” she explained, “I do think these bars spark nostalgia in people and give them a little bit of comfort.”