Bars near holiday hot spots

After you've finished your shopping and showing the 'rents the tourist sights, get a proper drink at one of these conveniently located watering holes.

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  • Photograph: Courtesy of Rattle N Hum

    Rattle N Hum

  • Photograph: Courtesy Alibi Boston

    Alibi

    Alibi

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    1534

  • Photograph: Aubrey Therklesen

    Runion Surf Bar

    Runion Surf Bar

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    The Drink

    The Drink

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    44 at the Royalton

    44 at the Royalton

Photograph: Courtesy of Rattle N Hum

Rattle N Hum

Destination: Empire State Building
350 Fifth Ave between 33rd and 34th Sts (212-736-3100); $22, seniors $20, children 6--12 $16, children under 5 and military personnel in uniform free.

Bar nearby:
Rattle N Hum
Don't be swayed by the Art Deco stylings of the Empire Room—a swanky cocktail lounge on the ground floor of the Empire State Building—or the bustle of Heartland Brewery across the street. Hops-heads throughout the city know that the area's best place to booze is Rattle N Hum, a craft-beer mecca boasting a comprehensive selection of 40 taps, two cask lines and more than 150 bottles. See what strikes your fancy on the daily-changing menu (organized by style, with tasting flights available for curious drinkers), or dig into the bar's stash of holiday ales, such as the AleSmith YuleSmith Holiday Ale (25oz bottle $18). 14 E 33rd St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-481-1586, rattlenhumbarnyc.com)

Destination: Brooklyn Flea
Skylight, 1 Hanson Pl at Ashland Pl, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (brooklynflea.com); 10am--5pm

Bar nearby:
Alibi
After an indie shopping spree at the Flea's winter home, hit up the dirt-cheap weekend happy hour (Sat, Sun 1--7pm) at this weathered neighborhood dive. Knock back $3 drinks—a few fingers of Jameson should do nicely—while huddling around the fireplace in the middle of the room. Hang at the bar with Pratt students and friendly, cigarette-bumming locals, or lay low while playing a few rounds of pool. If you end up staying past 7pm, don't fret about blowing your holiday-gifting budget—prices for most beers and well spirits only go up by a buck. 242 DeKalb Ave between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (no phone)

Destination: Soho shopping district
Grand to W Houston Sts, Broadway to West Broadway

Bar nearby:
1534
This warrenlike drinkery beneath Jacques bistro makes for a fine rest stop after an afternoon of consumerism. The dimly lit space is small and intimate, with Asian artifacts and antique punch bowls setting the escapist-boozing mood. Top-notch cocktails nod to the French colonies, with exotic ingredients like Lapsang tea, hibiscus and garam masala syrup. Bend an elbow at the bar and order a Wally Harbanger ($12), which combines bourbon, Galliano, fresh mint, lemon juice and a touch of maple syrup. Served over crushed ice with a mint-sprig garnish, the fragrant sipper is a fine antidote to the mayhem of holiday shopping. 20 Prince St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-966-5073)

Destination: Times Square
42nd St at Broadway

Bar nearby:
Runion Surf Bar
For a quick escape from the frenzy of illuminated billboards and out-of-towners, head two blocks west to this underground beachcombers' bar, where classic surf flicks play on a loop and solicitous staffers are known to rock board shorts year-round. The playful kitsch makes this a prime haunt for a stress-free booze-up: Toss your shopping bags onto a big table near the aquarium and warm yourself with a flight of rhum arrang ($12)—house-infused rums flavored with ingredients including mangosteen, coffee and vanilla. Once you've thawed out, move on to a frozen Corona ($10), featuring a slushy blend of beer, vodka, triple sec and lime. 357 W 44th St at Ninth Ave (212-582-3200, reunionbar.com)

Destination: Williamsburg shopping district
Bedford to Wythe Aves, North 4th to North 11th Sts; Grand St, Bedford to Lorimer Sts
Bar nearby:
The Drink
There's plenty of holiday spirit to spare at this tavern, where there's always a hot punch wafting Christmasy spices into the air. The maritime-style decor—walls festooned with nautical bric-a-brac, tea-stained navigational maps plastered to the ceiling—gives the bar the air of a cabin in Maine, and the crowd, wearing plenty of flannel and orange beanies, plays up the theme. Our advice: Make use of the $5 mugs of punch (maybe spiked mulled cider made with rum or bourbon) and get comfy at one of the big wooden tables in the front. If you're there on the last Sunday of the month, prepare for some spirited tomfoolery during the Great Yankee Hove (5--11:30pm), a weekly shindig featuring fiddle music, sing-alongs and square dancing. 228 Manhattan Ave between Grand St and Maujer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-782-8463, thedrinkbrooklyn.com)

Destination: Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Rockefeller Center, 50th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-698-2000, topoftherocknyc.com); adults $25, seniors $23, children 6--12 $16
Bar nearby: 44 at the Royalton
In the heart of Midtown, you're going to have to shell out a bit for a decent drink. This luxe hotel lobby is glamorous enough to justify its steep prices: a show-stopping fireplace leads to a runwaylike corridor, flanked by recessed seating areas with plenty of dark leather for you and your extended family to sink into. If you're rolling deep, gorgeous punches ($75 to $295, serving four to six) are conducive to a convivial session. Otherwise, stick to the cocktails that pay homage to the classic hotels of yesteryear. Our favorite is the The Alchemist ($16), an effervescent, sage-garnished sipper made with Alchemia ginger vodka, lime juice and champagne. 44 W 44th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-944-8844, royaltonhotel.com)

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