Need a little “Ho-Ho-Ho” in your life? Big Citizen’s Eric Simpkins and Darren Carr, the team behind the Lawrence and Bon Ton, are bringing the New York City-based holiday pop-up Miracle to Atlanta for the second year. Held November 24 through December 24, Miracle is a cocktail bar with over-the-top holiday decorations, holiday-themed drinks, and small plates.
“There are certain holidays like Halloween and Christmas when there’s not much for adults without children,” Simpkins says. “Miracle was created for adults to enjoy the holidays.”
In 2016, the original Atlanta location Miracle on Monroe had two- to four-hour waits nightly. To mitigate this and allow more people to experience “that little jolt of the holiday spirit,” Big Citizen is opening a second, larger Miracle location (fittingly dubbed “Miracle Two”) in the former American Food & Beverage at the Shops Buckhead Atlanta, while Miracle on Monroe returns to the Tapa Tapa space (931 Monroe Drive).
“It’s such a spectacle, and the city really had an emotional reaction,” Simpkins says. “People were telling us they bought a Christmas tree for the first time in five years. It meant something.”
Simpkins says Miracle on Monroe is more intimate and will have more of a DIY aesthetic. “It’ll feel like Christmas exploded in your neighborhood spot,” he says. Miracle Two will feel more like a show with Christmas art installations hanging from the ceiling. There will be 30 seats at the bar and a retail area where guests can purchase Miracle glassware and ornaments.
Both locations will serve the same cocktails, designed by the New York Miracle team. They are created in batches for expediency and include the Muletide (aquavit, sherry, ginger syrup, lime juice, and pumpkin pie soda), Santa-quila (reposado tequila, cacao nibs, sherry, maple syrup, and black walnut), the Jingle Ball Nog (brown butter fat-washed cognac, sherry, almond milk, cream, sugar, egg, and nutmeg). Naughty and Nice shots (cinnamon bourbon and gingerbread-spiced rye, respectively) will also be available. Brendan Town, Miracle on Monroe’s lead bartender last year, will lead the Buckhead location, while Nick Chaivarlis, former head bartender at the Lawrence, will be the head bartender at Miracle on Monroe.
The beer and wine offered will differ by location, but the food will be almost exactly the same. Tapa Tapa executive chef Oscar Mendivil is creating the menu, focused on Spanish tapas tweaked in a holiday direction (think lamb chops called reindeer chops). A decorate-your-own Christmas cookie plate will also be available.
Both Miracle locations will host themed events. There will be guest bartenders, movies, bingo, trivia, karaoke, “creative photo opportunities,” and more. From November 24 through December 1, Miracle Two is donating a portion of its proceeds to New American Pathways, an organization that supports refugee families. It will also host an event November 28 from 5 to 10 p.m. to support the GA Gives campaign in its effort to raise $30,000 for #GivingTuesday. Simpkins is working on an event for children at Miracle on Monroe, too.
Simpkins shares five things he learned from last year’s Miracle on Monroe:
Bad Santa: “We’ll probably have some surprise Christmas characters show up at random times. Last year on Christmas Eve, Santa showed up and the place lost its mind for 15 minutes.”
Thieving elves: “We had so much glassware, tree ornaments, and Santa mugs stolen last year. We learned that we have to have a retail opportunity.”
Wait your turn: “We saw that people will stay on the waitlist for a long time to have a little extra fun at Christmas. Now we have the waitlist app so we can text you when your table is ready.”
Oh snow! “People really like drawing penises in fake snow. I spent close to $1,000 in fake snow just for the windows. I knew I needed to find a better way to frost the windows.”
Mariah mania: “You have to have a high tolerance for Mariah Carey to work at the bar. It became a game to see which table would start singing her famous Christmas song out loud. Once one started, another would, then you’d have these breakouts of the whole room singing.”