The 10 most over-the-top festive bars in NYC

December 1, 2021

When the weather outside is frightful, drinking seasonal spirits inside a cozy holiday-themed bar can be quite delightful. In New York City, there are many places to cure your winter blues while surrounded by over-the-top decorations and with an overpriced cocktail in hand. From Christmas classics like Rolf’s and Pete’s Tavern to high-end heated snow globes at the rooftop bar Mr. Purple, there is no shortage of festive spots to make the season merry and bright.

Photo of City Winery at Pier 26 courtesy of City Winery

City Winery’s pop-up at Rockefeller Center & Pier 26
What says winter in New York better than Rockefeller Center Plaza? The City Winery outdoor pop-up wine garden is ready to serve you no matter the weather, thanks to the heated winter domes. With an up-close view of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and a menu of hot mulled wine and spiked cider, the outdoor bar keeps things festive, yet cozy. Guests can reserve a dome for 90 minutes; there’s a minimum requirement of $150 spent from 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. and $250 spent from 4 p.m. onward. Snag a spot here.

City Winery’s Pier 26 location also offers its winter domes, situated on the Hudson River and with awesome skyline views. Make a reservation for this location here.

Feliz Coctelería
The seasonal pop-up Feliz Coctelería is now open at the Nolita bar and restaurant, The Garret Coctelería. Latin-inspired holiday decor and ornaments have taken over the bar, with large palm trees with Christmas lights, snowflake paper chains, gift-wrapped tables, Hanukkah-inspired decorations, and more. Feliz Coctelería has a special seasonal menu with beverages like “A Lump of Coal” (blackberry, mint, mango butter, black sesame, tequila, lime, egg white, Chilean red wine) and “Epazote Hot Toddy” (epazote hot tea, ginger, spiced apple cider, lemon, guajillo-infused bourbon), which will be served in fun holiday-inspired glassware. Reservations can be made via Resy for both indoor and outdoor dining now through mid-January.

Photo of Miracle on Union by Daniel Schwartz

Miracle on Union Street & Miracle on 9th Street
Over-the-top Christmas decor and holiday-themed cocktails come to two New York City bars as part of a worldwide pop-up. Miracle on Union Street has taken over Williamsburg’s Thief bar, which is now decked out with faux snow, tinsel, ornaments, and all things jolly. Located at The Cabinet in the East Village, the Miracle on 9th Street was the first location of the pop-up in 2014. Sip on seasonal suds and spirits like a Christmapolitan, Snowball Old-Fashioned, Jingle Balls Nog, Nice Shot, and Naughty Shot.

Photo: Randy Schmidt

Sippin’ Santa at Boilermaker
Created by the team behind the Miracle pop-ups, Sippin’ Santa puts a tropical twist on the holiday, allowing New Yorkers to pretend the temperatures outside are way above freezing. The pop-up returns this year to Boilermaker in the East Village through December 31. Holly jolly cocktails include a Kris Kringle Colada, White Russian Christmas, Azul Navidad, and Mistle-to-Toe, a bourbon drink in a hot-tub-shaped vessel made for two.

Image courtesy of Gerber Group

Mr. Purple’s Veuve Clicquot Winter Chalet
Ever dream of sipping bubbly inside a larger-than-life snow globe surrounded by skyline views? Then head to Mr. Purple, the 15th-floor rooftop bar of Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side. The bar’s festive Veuve Clicquot Winter Chalet is back, offering a glamorous apres-ski lodge-inspired pop-up with private snow globes with fur-lined seats, mood lighting, and a custom Veuve Clicquot champagne bar. The menu includes savory and sweet fondue, empanadas, pretzel bites, and more. There is a food and beverage minimum of $135 per person. Book a reservation for your snow globe here.

Photo courtesy of Ophelia Lounge NYC

On the top floor of the historic Beekman Tower in Midtown East is Ophelia, an Art-Deco-inspired cocktail lounge. This year, the bar’s winter installation of a “snow globe in the sky” gives New Yorkers a chance to drink under sparkling crystals and snowflakes. Located on the 26th floor, Ophelia also has sweeping views of the East River and beyond. The menu offers a twist on classic cocktails, including a Caribbean Old Fashioned made with rum and a gin martini with lime and tarragon. Book a table here.

Pete's Tavern, oldest bar NYC, O. Henry NYC, historic speakeasy NYC, James and Karla Murray
Photo © James and Karla Murray. See more here.

Pete’s Tavern
Founded in 1864, Pete’s Tavern in Gramercy Park claims to be New York City’s oldest continuously operating bar and restaurant. Not only is the bar historic (O. Henry wrote “The Gift of the Magi” at a booth here in 1905), it’s also known for its festive holiday decor. As 6sqft previously learned, the over-the-top decorations, including the ceiling totally covered in lights, take owner Gary Egan three weeks to hang.

The Pink Winter Lodge at Magic Hour Rooftop & Lounge
One of the city’s most Instagrammable rooftops is back with a new holiday installation that puts a twist on traditional holiday decorations and aims to transport guests to a posh ski town. Designed in collaboration between Tao Group Hospitality and Design House Decor, the Pink Winter Lodge at the Magic Hour Rooftop & Lounge at Moxy Times Square is pretty in pink, from floor-to-ceiling log walls and flower arches to faux antler chandeliers. There are carousels adorned with thousands of crystals, custom “ski lifts,” and a pink gondola perfect for photo sessions. Special menu items include 24K Magic, a spiked eggnog drink garnished with gold leaf flakes, Apres Ski, vodka with white chocolate liqueur and mini marshmallows, and Bubbles & Bling, Moet Champagne with flutes and rock candy.

Photo © James and Karla Murray. See more here >>

Rolf’s German Restaurant
This is one of those places that should be on everyone’s New York City holiday bucket list. It’s always Christmastime at Rolf’s, the Gramercy Park bar and restaurant covered year-round in thousands of Christmas lights, ornaments, and garland, as well as unique Victorian dolls. The menu offers German fare and a selection of cold-weather-appropriate cocktails, including mulled wine, vanilla spiced egg nog, Rolf’s holiday martini, and more.

Photo courtesy of the Watermark

Winter Wonderland at Watermark
At this waterfront bar, enjoy the views without worrying about the weather. Located at Pier 15 in the Seaport District, the Watermark has transformed into an immersive winter wonderland with several heated glasshouses, an illuminated Christmas tree garden, and decorations. Special menu items include spiked hot chocolate, seasonal cocktails, DIY s’mores, cheese fondue, and charcuterie. A jumbo projection screen will show holiday movies, sporting events, and the ball drop on New Year’s Eve.

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