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
The Upper East Side’s leather-clad, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bar will be mixing up some of the city’s best cocktails come Christmas Day. Indulge your inner bad Santa and choose from Seamstress’ 50 American classics—like the Sazerac or the Vieux Carré—or opt for a Seamstress original. We recommend the Playing Hookey, a refreshingly jolly elixir of gin, Zirbenz, orange juice, lime, honey and Pechaud’s.
There’s no better place to celebrate Christmas 2016 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.
Escape holiday stressors at the East Village’s favorite subterranean craft beer bar. Boasting 54 bottles, 10 drafts, two cans and one cask, it’s safe to say Jimmy’s offers more than enough beer to drown any yuletide sorrows. Get adventurous with a Three Chronics Myopia, or play it safe with a Lagunitas Pilsner. And whatever your pleasure, be sure to pair your brews with a pork belly taco or two.
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.
Not only will New York’s first dine-in theater be open on Christmas Day, it’ll be serving up soothing winter elixirs to boot. Take in a screening of Christmas Vacation, and in between laughs, gulp down Nitehawk’s house-made hot apple cider spiked with your choice of bourbon, rum or SNAP ginger liqueur. And check out all its other Christmas movie screenings here.
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 brand-new winter cocktail menu with standouts that include the Woodstock (bourbon, pear and maple) and the Guns and Rosemary, a smoky and complex (yet fruity) drink with rosemary-infused tequila, grapefruit, lime and table-side-torched rosemary.
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.
Venue says: “Located on the LES of NYC, serving 30 beers on tap, cocktails, bourbon & bites”
Indulge in the best of both brews this Christmas with a trip to Fools Gold on the Lower East Side. Specializing in craft beer and coffee, this rustic café-bar serves up a rotating lineup of more than 30 local and international draft beers, alongside frothy coffee drinks courtesy of Brooklyn Roasting Company. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the 80-plus whiskies, wines and cocktails on tap. Merry Christmas, indeed.
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.
Looking for a bar open on Thanksgiving?
John Doe Bar & Kitchen
Located on an unassuming Nomad street, this gastropub turns out riffs on classic pub fare and tempting signature cocktails. For an appetizer, why not order the oysters? They always sell for $1 each, though you have to order six or more. The flatbread topped with caramelized apples, goat cheese, mushrooms and arugula ($12) might tempt you, or perhaps you’ll go classic with potato skins stuffed with cheddar and bacon ($11). If you’re here for dinner, try the John Doe burger with pickled red onion and garlic aioli on a pretzel bun ($13) or the chicken and mushroom pot pie ($18). For dessert, give in to temptation and order the caramel-bourbon bread pudding ($10) or go even boozier with a sweet cocktail, like the Nutty Irishman, a combination of coffee, Bailey’s, frangelico and lots of whipped cream ($12). John Doe offers different specials each day of the week and a lengthy happy hour from 11am–8pm every weekday, so you have no excuse not to sample the entire menu.
Venue says: “Party on the Parade Route featuring special Pride cocktails including $4 '50 States of Gay' and $5 Raining Purple Men Shots”