A bar experience worth drinking to, these winter wonderlands are at the top of every New Yorker’s nice list. This holiday season, get into the spirit (pun intended) with a Kringle-approved cocktail at New York City’s best 12 Christmas-themed bars.
Rolf’s Bar & Restaurant
Germany is known for its, err, enthusiastic Christmas decorations, which are on full display at German eatery Rolf’s. The Gramercy restaurant has become an unlikely Christmas time staple in the city, thanks to its over-the-top garland-, light-and ornament-adorned interior. Serving up old-world comfort foods, such as mulled wine and schnitzel, doesn’t hurt either.
Rolf’s, 281 3rd Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 473 8718
At Midnights in Williamsburg, a little snow isn’t enough to bring the party indoors. With the addition of a tent, a Christmas tree, decorations, and holiday tunes, this North Brooklyn bar stands out as the season’s only Christmas party you’ll actually want to go to. Here, bourbon and apple brandy-spiked cider, boozy peppermint Mexican hot chocolate, and vodka-infused PSLs (Pumpkin Spiced Lattes) put the holiday spirits in, well, holiday spirit.
Midnights, 149 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 384 6961
Since Santa can’t fit an Alpine escape under the average Christmas tree, Eataly Flatiron has stepped in, bringing the best of the Alps to the Big Apple. At rooftop restaurant Baita, aprés-ski vibes are what’s on the menu, along with hearty raclette, chocolate whiskey-spiked hot cocoa, and boiled polenta served family style. Chalet-approved accents, such as Adirondack chairs and faux fur throws, help fuel the fantasy—and your vacation planning.
Baita, 200 Fifth Avenue, Roof, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 937 8910
Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack
If Santa ever took a Christmas vacation, he’d spend it at Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack, a tropical Christmas bar bound to heat up any winter night. The pop-up, which takes over East Village bar, Boilermaker, features nine naughtily named (but nice-tasting!) cocktails and four boilermakers, or a beer or cider plus shot combo. Expect mint chocolate shooters, boozy hot cocoa and eggnog, and plenty of “holiday lei” puns at this playful destination.
Boilermaker, 13 1st Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 995 5400
The Lodge at Gallow Green
Think a cozy cabin getaway isn’t in the cards this Christmas? The Lodge at Gallow Green invites you to think again—and to indulge in a hot spiced cocktail while you do. Real pine trees, fireside seating, and cozy blankets round out the offerings at this Scottish-inspired rooftop escape. The seasonal cocktails served in samovars? That’s just the icing on the cake, or rather, the star on top of the tree.
The Lodge at Gallow Green, 542 W 27th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 564 1662
Cocktail connoisseurs will love The VNYL, a retro bar known for its limited supply of one-year-aged rum milk punch. At this East Village establishment, you’ll enjoy speakeasy vibes (the bar is hidden behind a record store), an LED star display, and $10 USD holiday cocktails, such as Santa’s Sangria, Gin Stocking, and Holiday Hot Chocolate.
The VYNL, 100 3rd Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 917 675 7725
Any place that extends the lifespans of local rooftop bars makes the New Yorker’s nice list. This year, the Arlo SoHo Hotel is at the top (literally), thanks to its ski lodge in the sky complete with tented patios and an all-white food and drink menu featuring frozen white hot chocolate and coconut cake “snowballs.”
Arlo SoHo Hotel, 231 Hudson St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 342 7000
Miracle on Ninth
The annual Christmas-Hannukah pop-up Miracle on Ninth returns, this time with 50 locations around the world. The original, located at East Village hot spot Mace, leads the pack with costumed bartenders and decorations ranging from Christmas lights to dreidels. Just as festive are the spot’s specialty cocktails, which feature holiday-inspired ingredients, such as gingerbread bourbon, and come served in custom Santa-shaped glassware.
230 Fifth Igloo Bar
This Christmas, you can treat yourself to a trip to 230 Fifth’s Igloo Bar. Here, 17 heated bubble tents provide 360-degree views of New York City and are best enjoyed with warming wintry cocktails such as whiskey-spiked hot cider and boozy hot coffee. If you’re still cold (or just looking for a great ‘gram), wrap yourself up in one of the bar’s complimentary red robes.
230 Fifth Rooftop Bar, 230 5th Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 725 4300
Donner and Blitzen’s Reindeer Lounge
Enjoy your Kringle-approved cocktail with a Christmas kitsch chaser at Donner and Blitzen’s Reindeer Lounge. Three fireplaces, quirky quilts, and a custom “Reindeer Playing Poker” mural are just a sampling of the pop-up bar’s Christmas-themed amenities. Tip: Don’t miss the lounge’s weekday happy hour, when you can snag $5 whiskey shots, $8 boilermakers, and $10 mulled wine plus hot cocoa combos.
Christmas film screenings, spiked hot chocolate, and cozy blankets transform this Greenpoint hot spot into a hideaway. At Australian bar and restaurant Northern Territory, Christmas classics such as Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are enjoyed alongside frozen eggnog and cabin-like décor, making it the most down-to-earth destination of the season.
Northern Territory, 12 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 347 689 4065
Winter Room at the Roof
Chocolate or cheddar fondue, a “Veuve Clicquot in the Snow” pop-up bar, and always-in-season Central Park views put the Winter Room on our nice list. At this Midtown watering hole, frosted branches and fuzzy blankets set the scene, while magical vistas from the 29th-story heated terrace demand to be seen.