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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

December 13, 2023

A guide to Charlotte’s most festive bars

Holiday takeovers are taking place all over Charlotte


By Ebony L. Morman 

The Royal Tot has transformed into a tiki Christmas bar called Sippin’ Santa. Kristen Wile/UP

While it may be easy to locate eclectic bars in Charlotte year-round, during the holiday season, that list becomes expansive with festive pop-up bars and experiences. These local restaurants and bars may be worth considering for a night out this December and well into the New Year.


Backstage Lounge at SouthBound, Brookhill

Experience themed cocktails and festive decor at the Miracle pop-up on a first come, first served basis through Dec. 30. There’s also a live DJ every Friday and Saturday. Check Instagram for the password, which is updated weekly. Open daily from 4 p.m.-12 a.m. Closed on Dec. 25.


Billy Sunday, Optimist Hall

Visitors can sip on holiday cocktails, such as sugar cookie martini, an apple pie old-fashioned, or a house-made coquito at the Tinseltown holiday pop-up through Dec. 31. First come, first served. Open Monday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m.-12 a.m., Saturday from 12 p.m.-12 a.m., and Sunday from 12-10 p.m.


El Thrifty, Optimist Hall

A Very Tiki Christmas is a combination of a winter wonderland with a tropical twist. Through December 31, guests can sip holiday cocktails, such as frosty’s flamingo with Astral tequila, rosemary-infused grapefruit juice, roasted rosemary simple syrup, and lime juice. The seashell spritz with Deep Eddy cranberry vodka, aperol, prosecco, and cranberry juice is also on the menu.


The Garrison, Pineville

The festive pop-up at the two-story restaurant includes new holiday drinks, such as I’m Santa Claus, Teddy, not Yoda, which is served with peppermint Schnapps, vanilla rum, and Godiva white chocolate liqueur. Drinks are served in holiday glassware and glassware is available for purchase. The pop-up ends on Dec. 30. Bar seating will be open for walk-in only. Make reservations online.


The Green Room @ Lincoln Street, Wilmore

The speakeasy inside Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails, displays a time capsule of festive nostalgia, complete with warm, spicy, smoked holiday-themed cocktails and seasonal music. Make a reservation online.


Humbug, Plaza Midwood

The Krampus-themed pop-up features chilled and warm cocktails, holiday shooters, light bar snacks, and a Krampus video game. $10 per person. Make a reservation online.


The Royal Tot, Belmont

The Sippin’ Santa tropical pop-up is back with season decorations and specialty cocktails, such as the holiday on ice served with vodka, dark roast cold brew, condensed milk, ancho chile liqueur, and cinnamon syrup and the north pole bowl with Martiniuqe and Jamaican rums, black tea, thrice-spiced honey, lime, and vanilla syrup. The Ugly Christmas Sweater party is on Dec. 12.


Spindle Bar, Optimist Hall

The bar is serving holiday cocktails, such as hot chocolate served with milk chocolate and your choice of spirit, hot apple cider with mulled cider, lemon, cinnamon, and a chosen spirit, hot toddy with bourbon, spiced honey and lemon, and more.


Supperland Speakeasy, Plaza Midwood

Visit the speakeasy for the Toast to the Holidays spirit experience, which includes four cocktails paired with Supperland dishes. Wear holiday sweaters and post on Instagram for a chance to win a gift card. Wednesday through Saturday. $150 per person. Make a reservation online.


Vinyl, South End

The annual holiday experience includes twinkling lights, holiday decor and new drinks, such as the cinnamon espresso martini, which is Santa’s secret recipe. The full menu will also be available and includes items, such as Scotch deviled eggs, fish and frites, Latin street corn, and more.

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