11 Seasonal Holiday Bars to Warm You Up This Winter

The Sleigh Pilot at Sleyenda. Photo: Courtesy of Leyenda

For more picks of the season — from where to eat to what to give your favorite home cook — check out New York’s Holiday Guide.

Sleyenda at Leyenda; 221 Smith St., nr. Butler St., Carroll Gardens; 347-987-3260
Superstar bartender Ivy Mix knows that to make the season merry, just add mezcal. And this December, Leyenda, the Carroll Gardens space that she co-owns with Julie Reiner, transforms into Sleyenda, a holiday bar inspired by female pop icons who slay (sleigh … get it?). Look for Day of the Dead nutcrackers repping for the bar’s Latin roots and a fierce lady-led soundtrack. Plus, seasonal cocktails like the Nutcracker, made with Appleton and Wild Turkey, a classic coquito, and a mezcal-spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate. Two or three of those and you’ll want to gallop alongside the sparkly reindeer décor.
Dates: Through December 25

Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack at Boilermaker; 13 First Ave., at First St.; 212-995-5400
Join Santa on his tropical vacation with festive glassware to match (who doesn’t love drinking out of a coconut in the middle of a New York winter?). Cheekily-titled cocktails like the Frosty Bottoms and the Holiday Lei lay the groundwork, and a Boilermaker menu tops you off. Try the oatmeal-stout-plus-mint-chocolate shooter Jack Skellington and the pilsner-plus-bourbon shooter Kris Kringle. Or hey, collect them all.
Dates: Through December 24

149 N. 6th St., nr. Bedford Ave., Williamsburg; 718-384-6961
Just because the weather gets chilly doesn’t mean you have to move indoors. Midnights in Williamsburg is turning its outdoor space into a holiday garden, serving up a seasonal Peppermint Mexican Hot Chocolate (with your choice of spirit) and Pistol Pete’s Boozy Cider, with bourbon and apple brandy, under strings of holiday lights and handmade wreaths and garlands. And as always, show up during happy hour (Monday, all night; Tuesday to Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.) for food specials, including blistered shishito peppers and $1.50 bivalves, which, if you have outside, you’re welcome to dub “holiday oysters.”
Dates: Through March 2018

The Rooftop Toddy at the Viceroy. Photo: Noah Fecks

Winter Room at the Roof
Viceroy New York; 124 W. 57th St., 29th fl., at Sixth Ave.; 212-707-8008
You’ll not only enjoy views of twinkling Central Park from this 29th-floor lounge, but inside, they’re getting into the spirit with festive holiday décor, including wreaths and frosted branches reminiscent of a snowy winter night. Warm up with cheddar or chocolate fondue and seasonal warm cocktails, like the Hennessey-and-honey Snowday or the spiced-rum-and-hot-apple-cider Rooftop Toddy. And if it’s Champagne you’re after, step out onto the heated terrace for the “Veuve Clicquot in the Snow” pop-up bar.
Dates: Through March 2018

The Lodge at Gallow Green
McKittrick Hotel; 542 W. 27th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 212-904-1883
It’s that time of year when the lush rooftop bar of the Sleep No More’s McKittrick Hotel transforms into a cozy Scottish winter lodge, with pine trees, fireside seating, and plaid blankets (just bring your own brogue). Hot spiced cocktails — like the mulled cider, Jack Daniels, and sherry Sleep No More — are served individually or in samovars for group revelry, while new craft cocktail offerings include the Glenlivet and honey-lemon-syrup Flight of the Illusionist, paying homage to the magic and dining experience currently happening downstairs at the Heath.
Dates: Through March 2018

Eataly: Baita at Birreria
200 Fifth Ave., at 23rd St.; 212-937-8910
In addition to warm cocktails — like the amaro, steamed milk, and Makers Mark–infused hazelnut butter Yule Tide and a boozy hot cocoa with Kings County chocolate whiskey — Eataly has made its annual winterized, Alps lodge–inspired rooftop more enticing with occasional movie screenings. This December 16, it’s the holiday classic Die Hard.
Dates: Through March 2018

The Goodie Goodie Gumballs at NYLO. Photo: Gabi Porter

The Holiday Cocktail Factory at NYLO New York City
LOCL Bar at NYLO Hotel; 2178 Broadway, at 77th St.; 212-362-1100
The Upper West Side bar LOCL leans into whimsy with this Willy Wonka–inspired holiday bar, where you pretend you’re an Oompa Loompa with oversize candy canes and romp, adult-style, in a Champagne bubble room as you sip tequila-based drinks out of gumball machines. $1 from every cocktail will be donated to Save the Children.
Dates: Through February 2018

Miracle on Ninth at Mace
649 E. 9th St., nr. Ave. C; 212-673-1190
The annual pop-up of all things boozy, kitschy, and holiday now has 50 locations around the world, but only one original, at the Mace bar in the East Village. Sip warm cocktails out of Santa-shaped mugs and wind down with a Snowball Old Fashioned with gingerbread bourbon. If you want to take the custom glassware home, you can purchase it at the bar, with 10 percent of proceeds going toward Action Against Hunger.
Dates: Through December 24

Sugar Shack at Cape House
2 Knickerbocker Ave., nr. Johnson Ave., Bushwick; 718-821-2580
Inspired by a Massachusetts maple-syrup farm, the team behind Cape House brings the Sugar Shack pop-up experience to Bushwick for a limited time. On the menu: bourbon-spiked maple-syrup snow taffy, maple buttered rum, and more boozy fun in a heated outdoor tent stocked with skis, ice skates, and snow shoes, and decorated with lights and gold and silver ornaments.
Dates: Through March 2018

Jingle Hell’s at the Skinny
174 Orchard St., nr. Stanton Street; 212-228-3668
We all have a little bit of the Grinch in us, especially when the seasonal cheer gets to be too much. For those moments, there’s Jingle Hell’s, an “anti-holiday” pop-up bar promoting the new Syfy show Happy! Programming includes a free drink during Happy! hour, a Very Bad Santa workshop (where you can take a photo with a Very Bad Santa), cocktails like the Worst Noel with vodka-infused iced tea, and Season’s Grievings with mezcal, rum, and elderflower liqueur. Plus naughty carols, trivia, and more. If this also sounds a bit much, it only lasts ten days, so get your free drinks while you can.
Dates: Through December 10

Donner and Blitzen’s Reindeer Lounge
197 E. 3rd St., nr. Ave. B; 212-254-9184
There are several ways to keep warm at this East Village pop-up. Quilts, for one. A DJ to dance to after 10 p.m. on weekends. Three fireplaces. But probably the best way are the cocktails designed by Sarah Boisjoli of Estela and Café Altro Paradiso. Try the tequila, Kahlúa, and rum Feliz Navidad, and the eggnog, orgeat, and aged rum Nog-Gonna Make It to Work Tomorrow (because you probably won’t). Come early for a daily happy hour, lots of holiday décor and some time on the outdoor patio, where you’ll find a “Reindeer Playing Poker” mural by Paul Nassar, founder of the Off the Wall Graffiti nonprofit. Groups are welcome, but make a reservation on the website ahead of time.
Dates: Through January 1, 2018

11 Seasonal Holiday Bars to Warm You Up This Winter