7 NYC Bars Transform for the Holidays

Who says outdoor bars are only for summer?

Sip a cocktail under the city lights in a geodesic igloo.

Apparently, when Santa Claus is coming to our town, he’s coming for a cocktail. Seven New York City bars are transforming into winter wonderlands this December. They’re perfect for drowning your holiday sorrows or distracting your parents from how small your apartment actually is.


230 Fifth

The winter igloos have returned to this NYC rooftop bar. Imbibers can pretend they’re stargazing while watching the lights turn on across the city skyline from inside these Buckminster Fuller-inspired domes. Sip on drinks from the bar in comfort while shoppers and tourists jostle for space on the streets below. Swing by on weekdays after work for happy hour prices, too!


Sippin’ Santa Surf Shack

Lower East Side upscale dive Boilermaker is known for its promotions (midnight pancakes, anyone?) and damn good cocktails, which combine perfectly for their holiday tiki bar. In classic tiki fashion, expect custom holiday glasses shaped like Santa’s head (and pants). This year, the concept will also be in New Orleans and Chicago, and the cocktail list has three drinks from each city. Santa has important work to do on Dec. 24, so swing by before then to catch him mixing drinks.



This three-night-only pop-up is bringing Italy’s favorite holiday cocktails to the Upper East Side cocktail den Seamstress. From Dec. 5 to 8, sample variations of Campari cocktails during happy hour (6 to 8 p.m.) In addition, for each cocktail ordered a meal will be donated to Food Bank NYC.



Who wouldn't want to drink from a snow globe?


Experience “A Midwinter’s Night Dream” at this Upper West Side hotel bar. Candle-wax icicles and twinkle lights transform the bar. The design was done in partnership with Parsons School of Design so this isn’t your mother’s decorations. Sip on cocktails out of snow globes and copper elves. Or, try the tequila-based Love in Idleness and $2 will be donated to Save the Children. The transformation only lasts until Jan. 1.


Will Cadena

Go apres-ski at this rooftop pop-up.

Haven Rooftop

So you’ve taken your parents to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree and now you need a drink. We get it. This rooftop bar on the Sanctuary Hotel has been transformed into a winter ski lodge. Although your parents probably won’t partake in the shot-ski, the boozy peppermint hot cocoa will make the holidays a little brighter and Midtown a little less onerous.


Miracle at Mace

This holiday takeover returns to Ninth Street for its third year along with the over-the-top decorations and a completely new cocktail menu. Put down the Cosmo and pick up a Christmopolitan, which adds elderflower liqueur and spiced cranberry juice to the more classic vodka and lime. This year, the concept is spreading to more than 30 bars across the globe. (Stay tuned as we sip our way through many of them.)



A warm cocktail is perfect for cold nights.



One benefit to this mild start to winter is this Williamsburg bar transforming its backyard into a winter garden. Warm your hands near glowing charcoal heaters and your heart with more Christmas decorations than you can shake a stick at. Four specialty cocktails have been designed for the occasion, from the Ho! Co! Co!, a boozy Mexican hot cocoa, to Pistol Pete’s Cider, which spikes warm apple cider with your choice of spiced rum or bourbon. Expect the garden to be open until Jan. 8 or until the winter actually shows up.