We found a hidden holiday speakeasy among Atlanta’s abundance of festive pop-up bars

You might not find this Pullman Yards watering hole on your own

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Among Atlanta's abundance of holiday bars, we found a hidden, old-school holiday speakeasy
Inside Secret Santa ATL

Photograph by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

It seems like just about every hospitality brand has some kind of holiday pop-up these days—from Christmas-themed cocktails and ice skating at Ponce City Market’s rooftop to the over-the-top decor at Storico Vino, the Select, and more. They’re polished and curated, but when everyone knows about them, it can also mean less of that spontaneous, under-the-radar vibe we loved when themed pop-ups first came on the scene a few years ago. Enter Secret Santa ATL (also known as “Loose Lips”), a speakeasy hidden in a warehouse deep within Pullman Yards in Kirkwood.

The brainchild of beverage director Marian Chism, the concept started as an off-handed comment she made to property owner Adam Rosenfelt. “I jokingly said, ‘You know, I could throw a speakeasy up in the tunnels and people would come.’” Instead of brushing it off, she zeroed in on an interior, graffiti-strewn warehouse space most recently used as a staging area for the cast of the Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience, which ran at Pullman before Stranger Things: The Experience began this fall.

Among Atlanta's abundance of holiday bars, we found a hidden, old-school holiday speakeasy
Inside Secret Santa ATL

Photograph by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Among Atlanta's abundance of holiday bars, we found a hidden, old-school holiday speakeasy
Inside Secret Santa ATL

Photograph by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Chism brought in a bar, repurposed some unused furniture from the venue’s concert green rooms, covered surfaces with festive wallpaper, hung a few Christmas trees upside down from the ceiling, and strung some twinkling lights. The effect is festive, yet gritty, with a bit of an “old hippie vibe,” she says.

The cocktails match the theme. Chism, who won a mixology award at the 2021 Bardstown Bourbon tasting competition, created a menu of eight specialty cocktails including 8 Maids, No Milk (a clarified spiked eggnog), Fire & Ice (spicy habañero margarita with a strawberry floater), and the Woodstock Mule (made with a vodka-kombucha cordial and ginger beer). Most are served in quirky vessels, such as a flute shaped like a woman’s body and a mushroom-shaped glass.

Among Atlanta's abundance of holiday bars, we found a hidden, old-school holiday speakeasy
Cocktails at Secret Santa ATL

Photograph by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Among Atlanta's abundance of holiday bars, we found a hidden, old-school holiday speakeasy
Inside Secret Santa ATL

Photograph by Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Depending on the night, you might hear tunes from Divoli S’vere or Souf the Spiritually Stoned DJ, ranging from house music to hip-hop to R&B.

Secret Santa ATL hosted a soft opening in early December and has been steadily filling the clandestine space that holds up to 70 guests ever since during their weekly opening hours from 8 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Saturday. The plan is to keep the bar going past Christmas, possibly until early February, shifting away from the full-on holiday theme and switching up some of the drink offerings after the new year.

In true speakeasy fashion, entry requires a codeword, released each night via @secret_santaatl, the pop-up’s private Instagram account (you’ll need to request to follow). The codeword comes with instructions on how to locate the Nutcracker flag-draped door, but once you’re on the Pullman Yards property, share the secret codeword with any of the roving security guards and they may offer to show you the way.

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