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
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.
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.
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.
It's the '70s, baby. At this Hell's Kitchen bar, chef and owner R.L. King went all-out in his tribute to free-spirited writers like Hunter S. Thompson and George Plimpton with neon signs, marble detailing and various statues of the bar's "spirit animal"–the peacock throughout Bar Gonzo. The playful and tropical-style drink menu features sparkling cocktails, large-format punches and tiki drinks like the Jasmine Flower (Ford's Gin, pear puree, sparkling wine, edible flower) and Holiday Sangria (Aylesbury Duck Vodka, dry Lambrusco, Bengali tea syrup, seasonal fruit, mint).
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.
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 like Winter Toddies (apple brandy, amaro, allspice, dram, honey, vanilla, lemon) and Spiked Super Dark Chocolates (whiskey, extra dark hot chocolate, homemade giant marshmallow, whipped or chocolate cream) in a yurt or the back garden.
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.
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.