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The Standard East Village
Photograph: Courtesy The Standard East Village

The best bars open on Christmas in NYC

These bars open on Christmas will be serving up the best this holiday, whether you want cocktails, craft beer or wine

By Bao Ong and Time Out New York contributors
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The holidays are great and all, but sometimes you need a break from family, traveling and shopping stress—that’s when these bars open on Christmas come in. Contrary to popular belief, some of the best bars in NYC are actually open on December 25, and in the words of our dear Leonard Cohen, hallelujah. So when you’re done with New York’s bounty of holiday markets and ice skating rinks, head to one of these bars to drink until your day’s merry and bright.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York

Best bars open on Christmas in NYC

Bemelmans Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Don Riddle

1. Bemelmans Bar

Bars Lounges Lenox Hill

There’s no better place to celebrate Christmas in style than at Bemelmans Bar, the Carlyle Hotel stalwart that’s been entertaining socialites, stars and moguls since 1930. Don your chicest winter wear and cozy up to the bar, where you can sip on some of Bemelmans' famous cocktails like the Red Velvet (rye whiskey, spiced plum syrup, egg white, fresh lemon juice, bee pollen) and the Luxury Sidecar (cognac, Calvados, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup) as you enjoy a privileged view of Ludwig Bemelmans’ famed 1947 Madeline murals.

Maison Premiere, Bar Awards
Photograph: Filip Wolak

2. Maison Premiere

Bars Cocktail bars Williamsburg

Inspired by the elegance and allure of New Orleans, this gorgeous salon—its green walls fogged with a faux patina that suggests decades of Gauloises smoke—is devoted to the twin pleasures of oysters and absinthe: two French Quarter staples with plenty of appeal in Brooklyn. Though any kitsch is quelled by the truly romantic 1,000-square-foot garden, kitted with iron tables, an outdoor oyster bar, creeping vines, and lush greenery sprouting dreamy wormwood and hyssop. 

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3. Union Hall

Bars Pubs Park Slope

Once used as a warehouse, this bi-level Park Slope bar offers everything you could possibly want on Christmas Day: fireplaces, beer and bocce. Come by yourself and cozy up to the fire with a good book pulled straight from Union’s stately library. Or invite a few friends and battle it out on one of two indoor clay bocce courts.

Nitehawk Cinema
Photograph: Gabi Porter

4. Nitehawk Cinema

Movie theaters Independent Williamsburg

New York City’s first dine-in movie theater is open on Christmas Day, screening your holiday favorites (specific films are TBD right now). To make your visit extra spirited, order the seasonal hot apple cider, spiked with a choice of bourbon, rum or ginger liqueur.

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The New York Edition Lobby Bar
Photograph: Courtesy The New York Edition Lobby Bar

5. Lobby bar at the New York EDITION

Bars Hotel bars Flatiron

This isn’t your average hotel lobby bar. With soaring ceilings, laid-back vibes and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Madison Square Park, the EDITION Lobby Bar is the ultimate Christmas Day hideaway for guests and locals alike. Sit at the bar’s open fireplace as you sip on a choice quaff from the winter cocktail menu.

Standard, East Village
Photograph: Courtesy Standard

6. The Winter Garden at the Standard East Village

Hotels Boutique hotels East Village

Nobody does chill quite like Standard hotels, and the East Village iteration is no exception. It’s the embodiment of low-key luxury, reflecting the grit and cool factor of its home with just the right amount of understated finesse. And the Winter Garden that opens for the cooler months allows guests to sip seasonal quaffs in a yurt or the back garden. 

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7. Zombie Hut

Bars Lounges Carroll Gardens

A flaming Torch Shot—rum topped with a lemon slice and sprinkled with sugar, then set ablaze—is strong enough to dispatch the living dead at this Smith Street standby. Bright-blue drinks with wee umbrellas and tiki masks hanging on bamboo walls make a fitting setting for Bococa beachcombers sipping bowls of the rum-heavy Frozen Zombie, which comes with a surprise (a shot) in the straw.

Boulton & Watt
Photograph: Courtesy Jessica Lin

8. Boulton & Watt

Restaurants American East Village

Nothing says yuletide cheer quite like passing the hours of December 25 at New York’s go-to steampunk gastropub. Pair hearty bites like duck confit queso and brats in a blanket with Prohibition-inspired tipples like the Fifty-Mission Cap (gin, tonic, cardamom, lime and orange bitters) and the Violet Light (vodka, elderflower, blueberry, cinnamon and lemon), as you wish a very Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Ulysses
Photograph: Sean Ellingson

9. Ulysses

Bars Sports Bars Financial District

Spending Christmas Day in New York’s Financial District might be the loneliest holiday scenario ever known—all the more reason to dip into Ulysses for a comforting selection of 20-ounce pints of Carlsberg, Harp and Guinness. Although the 130-foot bar can seem daunting at first glance, fear not, because Ulysses is adorned with enough snug nooks and friendly bartenders to keep you feeling jolly all day long.

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