How to steer clear of NYC SantaCon 2021

December 7, 2021

The idea behind the annual cosplay event is solid: A “charitable, non-political, nonsensical Santa Claus convention that happens once a year to spread absurdist joy.” With booze, of course. But after entering the mainstream and picking up steam for a full 25 years (the event took a year off in 2020, because, you know), the annual pub crawl seems better suited to a 1980s frat house than the streets of NYC. And we’re pretty sure there are better ways to spend a day of drunken debauchery than yelling across Midtown bars over a horde of sloshed Santa clones. This year’s SantaCon details are here, so you can figure out where not to bring a first date on Saturday, December 11. A few more suggestions, ahead.

Map via Santacon NYC

If you want to see no red and white on Saturday, try these three simple tricks:

  • Avoid Midtown, Murray Hill, and the East Village. In Midtown, points west of 11th Avenue should remain Santa-free; in the EV, stay east of Avenue C (though any given Saturday night in this neighborhood is basically a DIY SantaCon, so beware).
  • If you have to hang in those ‘hoods, steer clear of bars with “ugly” in the name, bars with Irish guys’ names, bars named after booze, and bars with names like The Keg Room.
  • The festivities begin at a day-drinkin’ 10 a.m. and end at 8 p.m., but don’t assume you’re safe afterward; to SantaConners, the world is an afterparty!

If you’d rather join ’em than avoid ’em, know that your unbridled cheer may be reined in by a hefty list of rules and a brief no-no list that provides a chance to use the f-word with a lot of asterisks (though “Don’t F*** with cops” is generally a good guideline to follow). You can find the details here and an interactive map here.


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