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 Rolf’s German Restaurant, known for its over-the-top Christmas decorations. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Beginning the last week of September, a six-man team starts the process of adorning Rolf’s German Restaurant with 15,000 Christmas ornaments, 10,000 lights, and thousands of icicles. By the first of November, the process of turning this historic Murray Hill restaurant into a holiday wonderland is complete, attracting both locals and tourists who are eager to see the one-of-a-kind display of Victorian-style decorations.
We recently paid a visit to Rolf’s, capturing everything from dolls found in New England antique shops to 19th century German ball ornaments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And we’ve shared an interview with owner Bob Maisano where he talks about the building’s past life as a speakeasy during Prohibition, German history in NYC, and what makes Rolf’s a unique holiday destination.
Rolf’s Christmas Display via Rolf’s
It’s Christmastime in the city! It’s also time to see what New York City has to offer in this year’s twinkly lights department. We’ve seen it time and time again—New York City painted as a romantic holiday backdrop, perfect for evoking the true Christmas spirit. Most of us are already familiar with classic destinations like Rockefeller Center and the Macy’s window display, so in lieu of the standard roster 6sqft has put together the following list to help you find some of the less obvious (but no less spectacular) places to see fabulous lights for the 2015 holiday season.