Bottoms Up: A Guide to Holiday-Themed Bars in NYC

Baby, it’s cold outside, which means the time is now to tuck into a cozy bar and get into the holiday spirit. We’ve rounded up six exquisite purveyors of cocktails and good times that take the holiday season to the next level. Whether you’re into sipping on traditional schnapps in an Alsatian wonderland, turned on by Tiki and tinsel, or prefer to get cozy with a date in a cabin in the woods, we’ve got you covered for over-indulgent holiday drinking in New York City.

Rolf’s Restaurant 281 Third Avenue

Rolf’s has the quintessential holiday experience in New York, although their decorating starts around October and lasts until around May of the following year. Inside the Alsatian German restaurant and bar, Christmas décor is quite literally packed to the rafters. Thousands of twinkling lights, green garlands, glimmering ornaments and a disturbing display of creepy porcelain dolls hang from every surface of the ceiling,columns and walls. The excessive décor is paired with Rolf’s famous schnapps and German beer menu, as well as specialty holiday cocktails like mulled wine, spiked cider and a fantastic boozy egg nog. Be prepared to wait in a hefty line, or hold out until January when the crowd has died down.

Baita, EATALY Rooftop, 200 Fifth Avenue

Mario Batali’s celebration of food turns its 14th floor rooftop into a sumptuous Italian Alps pop-up complete with pine trees, colorful garlands, twinkling lights and Northern Italy décor. Wooden walls and benches are kept warm with heat lamps and furry throws, and the menu turns seasonal with stick-to-your-ribs homemade pastas, classic servings of raclette, and a polenta bar. You can even rent your own rooftop lodge to entertain a large party, all in view of the Flatiron Building through Baita’s clear glass roof.

Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack, at Boilermaker, 13 1st Avenue

Starting November 27, the East Village’s Boilermaker Bar reimagines itself as if Santa Claus was on a Hawaiian vacation. The Holiday Season gets a Tiki touch with a complete menu of Christmas-inspired Tiki cocktails that join the bar’s signature beer and shot menu. To complete the Tiki takeover, the bar is decked with Christmas lights, Santa hats, and grass skirts that will have you saying Mele Kaliki Maka over your first Scorpion bowl.

Miracle on Ninth Street, Mace’s, 649 East 9th Street,

This unassuming cocktail bar goes Christmas crazy each year. From November 24th, revelers can experience a floor-to-ceiling winter wonderland packed with an abundance of garlands, Christmas lights, ribbons, candles, and tinsel, all to the sound of Christmas Carols blasting. There is also the silver and blue Hanukkah Hideaway with spinning dreidels. A special holiday cocktail menu created by Nicolas de Soto includes treats like the Run Run Rudolph (iced hot chocolate with tequila, coffee liqueur and Mexican spices) and sweetened rum shots

The Lodge at Gallow Green ,542 West 27th Street,

A rustic cabin like no other, The Lodge at Gallow Green can be found on top of the McKittrick Hotel, the five-story pseudo hotel in Chelsea and home of Sleep No More. Opening in early December, The Lodge feels like stepping into an eerie ski chalet circa 1930. Dark and looming, the dramatic cocktail lounge is as cinematic as the emursive production for which it is known with the addition of craft cocktails best enjoyed amidst the cozy rooms of the cabin. Grab a date and sit on the bunk beds in the bedroom, or bring a group to the living room and settle into the couches around the fire.

Igloo Bar at 230 Fifth Rooftop, 230 Fifth Avenue,

Keeping a rooftop bar open during winter doesn’t scare New Yorkers. From November through April, guests can take in stellar views of the Empire State Building from inside one of the 17 transparent igloos that take up residency for the season on the roof of 230 Fifth. The communal igloos seat 12 guests at a time, but they can’t be reserved so prepare to mix and mingle with some new friends. While you wait, keep warm in a complimentary red robe or stay toasty with a special hot drink menu of spiked hot chocolate, coffee and cider.