December is finally here, so you know what that means: ‘tis the season to turn up with your loved ones at all sorts of merry spots around the city.
If you’re wondering which places you should hit up this holiday season, you came to the right place. We recently set out to find some of the best spots to drink in New York City this December.
Whether you’re looking for newcomers to the Big Apple’s bar scene or festive seasonal pop-up bars, there are all sorts of awesome watering holes that are sure to put you in a merry mood this winter.
Check out some of our top picks below:
1. Miracle On 9th Street at Mace (649 East 9th Street)
If you’re looking to sip on some Christmas spirits, grab your ugliest holiday sweater and head over to the East Village. The high-end cocktail bar, Mace, is on a mission to spread holiday cheer with it’s Miracle On 9th Street pop-up bars that runs until December 24.
Inside, you’ll find all sorts of holiday paraphernalia include wrapping paper, mistletoe, Christmas lights, and festive libations served in Santa mugs. Behind the bar, you’ll see mixologists in Santa suits making a variety of holiday-inspired sips with playful names such as The Grinch, Bad Santa, Jingle Balls Nog, and Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.
2. Rolf's (281 Third Avenue)
For a serious dose of Christmas cheer, head over to Gramercy. Every square inch of this restaurant is decked out in lights, garland and ornate decorations, making it one of the most Instagram-worthy holiday bars in the city.
In addition to over the top decor, Rolf’s has the usual bar offerings, as well as giant pints of German beer and festive cocktails such as mulled wine and eggnog. Since this place is usually on the top of everyone’s holiday bar list, it tends to get pretty crowded. But trust me, waiting in line is definitely worth the 'gram.
3. Cocktail Factory at LOCL (2178 Broadway)
If you’ve been searching for a sweet spot to get chocolate wasted this holiday season, the NYLO Hotel’s LOCL Bar has you covered. This year’s holiday pop-up bar is a recreation of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, no golden ticket necessary.
From now until the end of February, the bar will be transformed into a whimsical wonderland with giant lollipops, mushroom bar stools, a candy store, and a champagne bubble room. Not to mention, a “cocktail factory” bar decked out in colorful tubes and smoking beakers.
The drink list includes everything from sugar concoctions topped with lollipops to snozzberry-laden libations served in mini gumball machines. Plus, a portion of the proceeds will be going to the nonprofit children’s rights foundation, Save the Children so you’ll at least be drinking for a good cause.
4. Sleyenda at Leyenda (211 Smith Street, Brooklyn)
For the perfect place to sleigh with your fellow single ladies this season, head over to Cobble Hill. For the holiday season, Leyenda will be transforming into a Latin holiday pop-up bar, dubbed Sleyenda, that aims to celebrate the season as well as pop divas like Beyonce.
The bar will be mixing up festive drinks like their mezcal-spiked Mexican hot chocolate and Nutcracker Old Fashioned. Plus, Sleyenda will have all sorts of diva-approved decorations including ornament-like glasses, disco balls, shiny reindeer, and menus printed on Beyonce Christmas cards, of course.
The pop-up bar will be open until December 25, so make sure you check it out before Sleyenda takes its final bow for the season.
5. Winter Holiday Garden at Midnights (149 North Sixth Street, Williamsburg)
If you’re looking for a cozy spot in Brooklyn, make your way over to Midnights. For the colder months, this Williamsburg watering hole will have its backyard space transformed into a tented winter garden that’s decked out with festive holiday lights, Christmas trees, and fire pits to keep you nice and toasty.
In addition to serving up some delicious American fare for dinner and brunch, Midnights will be cranking out winter-inspired cocktails such as spiked peppermint Mexican hot chocolate, boozy frozen pumpkin spice lattes and cider with a splash of bourbon and apple brandy.
6. DarkSide Bar (201 Lafayette Street)
In a neighborhood far, far away you’ll find a themed pop-up bar that sets its sights on Sci-Fi rather than the holidays. Yep, you might want to break out your Darth Vader costume and grab your lightsaber because there’s a new Star Wars inspired bar in Soho called DarkSide Bar.
The pop-up bar, which runs until January 15, will have six space-inspired cocktails, including The Red Force, The Blue Force, The Imperial, The Dark Side, The Galaxy, and The Mindtrick. As well as events including a trivia night, intergalactic burlesque and alien speed dating.
7. Jingle Hells (174 Orchard Street)
If you’re looking to embrace your inner-Grinch, make your way over to the anti-Christmas pop-up bar in the East Village. This Christmas refuge offers cynical drinks to help you cope with the holidays such as the “ho ho holy sh*t” and “Santa’s cough medicine.”
You can also partake in fun activities like dirty caroling, Krampus karaoke, and humbug trivia, or pose for photos with Bad Santa and a bag of coal. Jingle Hell's will run until December 10 and will be open from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m Monday through Wednesday and from 12 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday through Sunday.
8. Sippin' Santa’s Surf Shack at Boilermaker (13 First Avenue)
For a holiday dive bar with a tropical twist, check out Boilmaker’s seasonal pop-up bar in the East Village. Open through Christmas Eve, this East Village pop-up bar swaps out the typical north pole scene for a Santa-approved surf shack.
The bar has everything from presents dangling from the ceiling and Christmas lights on the walls to chairs covered in oversized Santa hats. Plus, they also have a special menu full of seasonal craft cocktails with clever names like “Son of a Nutcracker” and “Little Rummer Boy.”[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]