13 Over-the-Top Holiday-Themed Pop-Up Bars in NYC
Head for these festive cocktail destinations instead of sipping eggnog at home.
’Tis the season for holiday pop-up bars! And this being New York City, nothing here is done halfway—not even the pop-ups. That means there are more than a dozen over-the-top, holiday-themed pop-up bars opening their doors to serve warming cocktails amid showy seasonal decorations.
This year, you can expect the return of annual favorites like Miracle Bar and Naughty or Nice, glittery rooftop wonderlands, a Filipino cocktail haven, and even a new Hanukkah-themed bar. So get ready for a healthy dose of kitsch—here are 13 must-visit pop-up bars to check out this winter.
The original location of Roberta’s is hosting a holiday pop-up for the first time ever. Grinchy’s features plenty of extravagant Christmas décor (think giant candy canes, tinsel, and Christmas lights galore) as the backdrop for a limited-time menu of specialty holiday cocktails like Grinchy’s Old Fashioned, Double Dog Dare hot buttered rum, and the Cousin Eddy frozen eggnog. Small seasonal bites like spiced nuts, assorted popcorns, cookie plates, and housemade pretzels with beer cheese will keep patrons satisfied when hunger pangs strike. And, an evolving schedule of fun and festive activities and events will keep things interesting—follow their IG to stay updated.
Where: Roberta’s Tiki Bar
When to Visit: Until January 3
Back for the second year, Noche Buena is a nod to the traditional midnight meal that Filipino families celebrate as Christmas Eve turns to Christmas Day. The bar is the brainchild of Filipino-American hospitality industry vets Roxanne Bangalan (Union Square Cafe, Nomad LA), Christian Dominguez (Mace, Max Fish), Ben Rojo (Angel’s Share, Black Emperor), and Darwin Pornel (Nomad NY, Mister Paradise), who call themselves 4 Wheel Tricycle (4WT). This year, they’re hitting the road, with stops in Los Angeles and Oakland before landing back in NYC at Pretty Ricky’s. Guests can expect seasonal cocktails, Filipino-inspired holiday cuisine, and collaborations with chefs and artists from across the diaspora, including Anton Dayrit and Bianca Vicente of Tradisyon NYC.
Where: Pretty Ricky’s
When to Visit: December 18–21
Manhattan’s first whiskey distillery since Prohibition is transforming its speakeasy bar into a snug, holiday-themed winter chalet inspired by the Catskills. Cozy rugs, lush wreaths, and a towering, well-lit tree complete the look at Great Jones Distilling Co., while the menu offers wintry bites like cheese and chocolate fondue and Bavarian-style pretzels. To drink, there are theatrical cocktails like the Candy Cane Forest made with their rye whiskey, cranberry juice, white vermouth, mint, and bitters and the Gingerbread Delight, a play on eggnog spiked with Great Jones bourbon and garnished with a cute gingerbread cookie.
Where: Great Jones Distilling Co.
When to Visit: Until February 28
For the first time, award-winning Irish bar The Dead Rabbit is hosting an Irish Christmas pub in its taproom and it’s pulling out all the stops: festive drinks, nostalgic decor, wintry snacks, and a Christmas soundtrack. The seasonal cocktails are as high-level as you can get—this is not your basic eggnog and hot buttered rum. Options include the After Eight (vodka, Irish cream, coffee liqueur, and mint), Mistle-Tai (rum, hazelnut, pumpkin spice, and lime, topped with whipped cream), and Reindeer Games (Irish rye whiskey, carrot, mascarpone, baking spices, egg white, and lemon). Plus, $1 from every cocktail on the menu will go to Another Round, Another Rally, a nonprofit financial and educational resource for the hospitality industry.
Where: The Dead Rabbit Taproom
When to Visit: Until January 3
This annual holiday pop-up got its start in New York from Cocktail Kingdom supplier and bar owner Greg Boehm, but has grown to be an international phenomenon with nearly 200 participating bars. It still has two NYC locations: the original location on 9th Street in Manhattan, in The Cabinet bar (co-owned by Boehm), as well as at Thief in Brooklyn. Both spots are decked out with faux snow, tinsel, and ornaments. Each outpost serves cocktails like the Christmapolitan, Snowball Old-Fashioned, Elfing Around, Christmas Cricket, and Jingle Balls Nog.
Where: Thief and The Cabinet
When to Visit: Until January 1
There’s finally a holiday cocktail pop-up for the Jews—and anyone else who loves Hanukkah! Boston bartender Naomi Levy started her Hanukkah-themed bar takeover in 2018 in Beantown and is bringing it to NYC for the first time ever this year. Ollie will be transformed into a Hanukkah wonderland with special decor, themed cocktails, and traditional bites like classic and sweet potato latkes and filled doughnuts from The Doughnut Project. Creative cocktails include the Latke Sour featuring apple brandy, potato, lemon, and tobacco bitters; the Hebrew Hammer, which takes its flavors from sufganiyot—the jelly filled doughnuts traditionally eaten during Hanukkah; and the Jewish Christmas—inspired by the Jewish tradition of eating Chinese on Christmas—with sesame-infused rye, Sichuan peppercorns, and bitters. As a nod to Ollie’s Latin American influence, there’s also the Ocho Kandelikas drink featuring olive-oil infused gin, honey, apricot, almond, and lemon.
When to Visit: December 13 to December 31
The second year of this Latino holiday pop-up will spotlight the family tradition of handmade holiday decor common in Latin America, including cut snowflakes, hand-folded decorations, and paper chains, plus candy cane striping on the bar and tables, tons of mini trees, and an evergreen-filled outdoor lodge accented with gift-wrapped presents. Seasonal beverages include Little Plummer Boy (brown butter washed rum, tarragon and rosemary, plums cooked in sherry, elderflower, cumin, velvet falernum, Don Fulano Reposado), Rafa’s Hot Coco (Oaxacan rum, vodka, white chocolate, matcha, aleppo pepper, milk, corn), and Yo Soy el Painkiller (pineapple, coconut, rums, nutmeg, citrus).
Where: Garrett Coctelería
When to Visit: Until mid-January
Holiday Winter Wonderland
This German beer garden has been going strong since 2003 and it’s once again converting its indoor bar, heated outdoor beer garden, and streetside patio into a full-on winter wonderland with light-up reindeer, a six-foot snowman, candy canes, a sleigh, gingerbread houses, a snow globe display, six Christmas trees, and thousands of ornaments, garlands, bows, crystal icicles and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. In addition to its always-impressive imported beer list, there is also the Boozy Bourbon Black & White Hot Chocolate topped with toasted marshmallows, Spiked Eggnog garnished with whipped cream and caramel, Hot Bourbon Apple Cider, and Loreley’s signature mulled wine. Each day brings new happy hour specials, so it wouldn’t be terrible to return more than once.
Where: Loreley Beer Garden
When to Visit: Until January 8
The Hideout at Gallow Green
The McKittrick Hotel rooftop shifts with the seasons and this winter it got an Alpine-inspired makeover by special projects designer Jessie Flynn, who trained at the Glasgow School of Art. We’re talking private yurts, natural wood and pine elements, fuzzy blankets and plush sheepskin accents, and intimate nooks to snuggle up in. Foodwise, they went the French Alps route, offering gooey raclette, French onion soup, crepes, and steak frites, plus a chestnut Mont Blanc resembling miniature snow-peaked mountains for dessert. Seasonal drinks include the St. James Ward (spiced cider, whisky), the Smoking Bishop (red wine, port, dark rum, Cognac, Crème de cassis, infused with spices and raisins) and the Saddle Blanket (chocolate, oat milk, cinnamon, mezcal, Benedictine, coffee liqueur, fire tincture).
Where: McKittrick Hotel rooftop
When to Visit: Until March 31
Jingle Bell Book & Candle
This cozy basement bar and restaurant goes all out for Christmas, decorating the space with soft, plaid flannel pillows and blankets and plenty of pine garlands and lights strung everywhere. Plus, the menu of cocktails is full-on winter holiday-themed, with concoctions like Coal for Christmas made with coconut, lemon, and mint-and-charcoal-infused vodka; Canela Navidad made with cinnamon-infused tequila, lemon, and grapefruit; and the new Naughty List, their take on a gingerbread espresso martini.
Where: Bell Book & Candle
When to Visit: Until December 30
Santa’s Holiday Lodge
This all-inclusive wintry celebration is a new place to cozy up with friends and loved ones. The space aims to be nostalgic and is filled with cozy pillows, blankets, and vintage lights. Guests can nibble on dishes like vegan vegetable dips, smoked duck flatbread, and a French onion soup grilled cheese. These are complimented by sips like the Fireside Chat with rye, cinnamon, and chocolate bitters, the Elf Nog with Fernet Crème de Menthe, crème de cacao and cream, and the Home Alone with Monkey Shoulder Scotch, bourbon, and blood orange. There’s also a long list of hot drinks, beers, and wines.
Where: 33 W. 26th St.
When to Visit: Until January 1
Naughty or Nice
Known for hosting anti-holiday pop-ups, The Skinny Bar and Lounge is marking its fifth year in a row hosting the debauchery-filled bar Naughty or Nice. The bar will be decked in over-the-top gaudy Christmas decor and will have interactive games and a full calendar of events like seductive burlesque performances, live music, and nights with Naughty Santa. There’s an extensive list of holiday “Coping Mechanism” cocktails and pitchers, which includes drinks like the Naughty...Definitely Naughty, made with 818 Tequila, elderflower liqueur, blood orange juice, Prosecco, and lime juice, and the Sweater Weather, made with mezcal, sweet vermouth, Campari, and chili liquor.
Where: The Skinny Bar and Lounge
When to Visit: Until January 31
Haven Ski Chalet
This rooftop escape will surround guests with holiday and ski-chalet–inspired décor, including cozy red blanket and flannel pillows, cranberry bundles and holly bedazzling each table, evergreen garlands, and tons of shimmering Christmas lights overhead. There are several seasonal drinks, or call for a Shot Ski—a ski shaped tray of four shots in flavors like Vanilla Sky, Fireball Cider, and Pumpkin Kiss. For food, there are pre-fixe menus for both Christmas and New Year’s eves, otherwise it’s their usual small bites and snacks.
Where: The Sanctuary Hotel’s Haven Rooftop
When to Visit: Until February 28