Hamp and Harry’s photo by Brian Benefield
[This is the latest installment of “Cobb Cuisine, Culture and Community” by Brian Benefield]
I am unsure when the holiday pop-up trend started, but it has undoubtedly snowballed into a full-blown blizzard in and around Cobb County in the last few years. Restaurants and bars go all out with a totally immersive experience, and some have a classic holiday movie theme that will get you in the spirit ya filthy animal.
Marietta Melt Yard is channeling their inner Kevin McAllister from Home Alone, and with over ten thousand lights and hidden booby traps everywhere, you can eat junk and watch rubbish till’ your heart’s content. There are many specialty cocktails to choose from named after characters in the film, and yes, you can order your very own cheese pizza all for yourself. I met the owner, Matt DeBusschere, a while back when Melt Yard was opening, and I have no doubt that this mesmerizing experience will make you feel as if you’re fending off the wet bandits while enjoying a good time with family and friends.
Walking into Hamp and Harry’s feels like being in a giant snow globe with tons of lights, oversized ornaments, and so much holiday-themed decor that even the Grinch may crack a smile. Their theme, of course, is Whoville, inspired by How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Order a Who Honker in a Grinch mug and compliment it with one of many tasty appetizers that pair well with the elixirs. They have recently expanded the space to add another large dining area next door and another bar/lounge area upstairs with live music on certain evenings throughout the season and beyond.
Are you serious, Clark? Yes, we are serious about how much fun you will have at The Third Door’s Church Street Christmas Vacation themed pop-up. They have transformed this speakeasy into my favorite holiday movie, complete with iconic interactive scenes to take a picture with Clark next to the Christmas tree once the themed cocktails start taking hold of ya. We attended the 4th annual “Not a Hot Toddy” bartending competition recently, and our favorite guy, Tyler Caudill from Hamp and Harry’s took home the top spot with his spin on an Old Fashioned. He opted for tequila with strong chocolate notes and a spicy jalapeno kick. I hope to see you there and save the neck for me, Clark.
My wife and I love to shop locally when picking out gifts for the holiday, and it doesn’t get more local than the upcoming Sessions Stand and Brasserie pop-up market on December 9th from 10 to 2. This beloved spot just moved into its new, bigger space a few months ago, and you feel like you’ve stepped into a French bistro, with the oversized plush couches and many communal tables to do some work on your laptop if you so desire. Katie and Micah Phister are the brainchild behind the Bonjour Y’all-themed eaterie, who formerly owned The Butcher, The Baker on Marietta Square. Be sure to pick up a chocolate croissant to nosh on as you shop, and you can thank me later.
At the pop-up market, you can expect many local vendors peddling everything from handmade jewelry, homemade hot sauces, holiday decor, and even hand-poured soaps. We love the products from Horn & Shield, a mother-daughter-run business by Stokes and Lindsey O’Shields. Some of their soaps smell so good, like Santa’s cookies, you’ll be tempted to take a bite but save it for the shower.
Don’t be a Grinch or a Scrooge this season. Get out there and enjoy all Cobb has to offer. You may wind up at a spot drinking a hot toddy with a flaming marshmallow or donning cousin Eddie’s hat and robe for an Insta-worthy moment in time. Make memories with the ones you love on these holiday occasions, and you’ll look back at the funny pictures and be glad you did.
Brian Benefield is an Atlanta native born in Dekalb County, who has lived in Cobb since 2003. He has worked in Hospitality, Marketing, Real Estate, and most recently Food Tourism. Married to Cecilie Benefield for 12 blissful years. They have a dog, Miss Pickles. Hobbies are mountain biking, running, gardening, and trying new recipes in the kitchen. Member of Les Marmitions cooking club since 2016, where we cook 5-course meals with local Atlanta chefs.