Jingling all the way to Jingle 12 Tavern

Published 4:22 am Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Outer Banks has its very own pop-up Christmas bar, nestled along S. Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head. After a complete transformation, the Lucky 12 Tavern has changed its décor, menu and sign to a holiday-themed bar known as the Jingle 12 Tavern.

Mark Ballog, owner of Lucky 12, has lived in the Outer Banks for almost 30 years. After having his fair share of winters here, he decided to spend some of December 2018 over in Nashville, Tennessee, where the inspiration behind Jingle 12 came from.

“We were looking for something to do and we heard about this hidden Christmas pop-up bar in town,” Ballog said. A Christmas cocktail pop-up bar named “Miracle” was tucked back in the Noelle Hotel in downtown Nashville. Ballog said as soon as he walked into the bar, he knew he wanted to bring a similar concept to the Outer Banks.

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“December is not a busy time of the year here; people are looking for things to do,” Ballog said. To stir up business, keep his staff busy and make use of his collection of Christmas decorations, it made perfect sense for Ballog and his team to take on this transformation.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving around midnight, the staff of Lucky 12 shut down the bar and spent the next 48 hours hanging lights, crafting a new menu and replacing all wall and table decorations with Christmas-themed ones. Luckily, Ballog already had many of these Christmas decorations on hand.

“I’ve had a lot of this stuff anyway, I collect a lot,” Ballog said. “You would hate to drive in a car with me because I stop at every thrift store.” Ballog decided to go with a more vintage-style theme for Jingle 12. Complete with antique Santas, lighted candles, vintage holiday glassware and much more, Jingle 12 is a true winter wonderland.

Ballog chose to up the game by not only creating a Christmas-themed drink menu, but a holiday-inspired appetizer menu as well. On their menu is a complete holiday cookie platter with sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms and gingerbread cookies. Their drink menu offers cocktails such as the Baby Jack Frostie, Smiling’s My Favorite, and a non-alcoholic Rudolph Punch for kids.

“It was fun for me and it’s been very successful so far,” Ballog said about Jingle 12. The staff has embraced the new bar as well, wearing Christmas shirts and sweaters during their shifts and playing Christmas music all night long. After a year of planning, Ballog’s hard work had paid off in this merry little tavern.

Overall, Lucky 12 has always been the place to go to enjoy some great drinks and food and just relax. “We are a very casual bar,” Ballog said. “There’s no live music, no DJs; we’re the place where people can go and have a drink and not scream over a band, just enjoy time with their friends and family.”

Jingle 12 offers the same relaxed environment, just with a Christmas twist. The pop-up bar will be open through the end of December for anyone craving a little more holiday cheer. Visit www.lucky12tavern.com for more information.



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