Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack is comin’ to town. The concept that began at New York City’s Boilermaker three years ago is spreading to New Orleans and Chicago this year. We’re testing them out… for you, in the name of journalism, of course.
First up, the original: New York City.
Venue: Boilermaker, on the border between the Lower East Side and the East Village. This bar at the center of a weekend’s action is no stranger to trying new things. They started the Surf Shack and recently began midnight pancake dinners.
Décor: There are wrapped gifts hanging from the ceiling and plastic flamingos wearing Santa hats. There’s a screen where ‘60s beach movies are projected. You aren’t totally transported to a tropical beach but that’s OK.
Cocktails: There are the nine cocktails found at each shop, each served in specialty glassware. There’s a Collins glass with surfin’ Santa himself, a mug of Santa’s head, a mug of Santa’s pants, a coconut, and others. The Holiday Lei uses the flavors of the season: sparkling wine and cranberry. The crowd favorite was the potent O.F.T.D. Rum Flip; the 69-proof rum was balanced by coffee for a shockingly smooth drink. The Boilermaker bartenders added a 10th cocktail to their lineup. The holiday gin and tonic used house-made tonic infused with pine. The needles were bought from the city’s street tree vendors.
Verdict: Honestly, I’m a sucker for a tiki drink and a fun glass, and Boilermaker offers a fun respite from the often too-serious holiday celebrations. As my bartender pointed out, if Santa can travel around the world in one night, he can make a little time for fun. And, so can we. I’ve already scheduled a gathering for cocktails before the holidays. Because nothing says friendship like a cheers with Santa’s pants.