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.
With its lit-up streets and sidewalk tree-sellers, New York is at its best during the holidays, especially if you can avoid tourist-clogged areas like Rockefeller Center and Times Square. There are lots of lovely festive spots to celebrate seasonal cheer, including local bars and restaurants that transform their spaces into holiday wonderlands, complete with themed drinks, bites, and lots of Christmas lights. Here are some of our favorites.
6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, award-winning photographers James and Karla Murray return with a look inside Pete’s Tavern, a Gramercy favorite with beautiful holiday decorations and an interesting historical connection to Christmas. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Pete’s Tavern lays claim to being NYC’s oldest continuously operating bar and restaurant. Established in 1864, it’s become famous for the fact that O. Henry is said to have written the classic short Christmas story “The Gift of the Magi” while dining and drinking here. We recently visited Pete’s to photograph its lovely holiday decorations and to chat with restaurateur Gary Egan and manager A.C. about the establishment’s unique history, connection to O. Henry, and time as a speakeasy during Prohibition.