From the Tree Lighting in Rockefeller Center to ice skating in Bryant Park, there are plenty of ways to get outside to celebrate the Christmas season in NYC. But for those of us who don’t want to brave the winter chill, a warmer, more intimate means of indulging in holiday cheer might be a better option. If you’d rather spend your holiday time indoors, one of NYC’s finest watering holes decked out to the nines in Christmas spirit will be just the place for you.
Rolf’s German Restaurant
Rolf’s is a Gramercy Park staple. Well known for its Alsatian and Bavarian cuisine, the venue is perhaps better known for its amazingly over the top Christmas decorations. Patrons compare the decor to a winter wonderland, with garlands and ornaments filling just about every inch of the space — see for yourself pictures! You should probably make reservations if you want to experience this slice of the North Pole in NYC — locals and visitors alike fill the place every year!
Touted as the most “most authentic Irish pub in the city,” by Gotham magazine, Molly’s floors are typically covered with sawdust and the space is warmed by a wood-burning fireplace. But the little bar in Gramercy dresses up quite nicely during the holiday season, as it’s filled with hundreds of Christmas lights. The fare is traditional Irish and American, featuring self-proclaimed “amazing burgers” and Guinness beef stew for those looking for a hearty holiday meal.
Paddy Maguire’s Ale House
A tribute to all things equestrian throughout the rest of the year, Paddy Maguire’s holiday decor makes an already eclectic interior even more exciting — patrons rave about being hit “with their dazzling Christmas decorations.” Paddy’s doesn’t serve food, but they allow you to order in, so have a backup plan in mind if you want something other than holiday cheer with your drinks.
Colicchio & Sons
Before even mentioning their holiday plans, you should know that Colicchio & Sons is worth a visit regardless of the season: TripAdvisor recently listed this Meatpacking District staple as one of the top 25 restaurants in the US. Their menus change daily and incorporate the finest seasonal and local ingredients.
For the Christmas season, there are traditional trees in the house, but more unique is Tom Colicchio’s family tradition, Elvis Christmas, stemming from the Elvis Christmas album his father would play when Tom was a child. The tree is decked out to honor the King of Rock and Roll with blue lights and themed cookie ornaments. As with any culinary hotspot, reservation strongly recommended.
Established in 1864, Pete’s is the oldest continuously operating restaurant and bar in NYC. You would be remiss to pass by the Union Square establishment without stopping in for a pint or the homemade eggnog during the holidays. The entire establishment, from facade to ceiling, is bedazzled for Christmas. Wreaths, lights, ornaments, knick-knacks — you name it, Pete’s has it.
Lillie’s Victorian Establishment
Another Union Square favorite, Lillie’s is classically bedecked in the Victorian style. The permanent decor once adorned a ballroom in an 19th century estate in Northern Ireland. The seasonal decorations feature garlands, oversized wreaths, and even a collection of nutcracker soldiers. There’s also a second location in Times Square if you want to see some brighter lights than just Christmas twinklers.
Mace, formerly the Miracle on Ninth Street
A young East Village establishment, Mace has already proven to be a contender — Forbes included the bar on a list of the top 50 in the world. As Miracle, every aspect of the bar reflected the holiday theme. The menus were designed like Christmas cards, there were Santa mugs, gifts on the ceiling, and the Beach Boys Christmas album playing in the background. The rebranded Mace is the same team, so we’re expecting another big dose of the festive atmosphere.
No matter which of these bars you visit, you’ll feel like the North Pole has come to NYC. Have a happy holiday in the best city on Earth!
For added holiday fun check out the #AffiniaHoliday Map, which we brought to life in this video.
(Main image credit: Rolf's NYC)