It’s Time for Holiday-Themed Bars

All the Christmas cheer you need, brought to you in cocktail form.

Miracle at ITV will return to Passyunk Avenue this year. | Photo courtesy of ITV

If you, like me, love the lights and trinkets and trees that overtake homes during the winter season but hate the idea of purchasing them, putting them up, and then (and this is the worst part) taking them down, then holiday-themed bars are the place for you this season. Eggnog and peppermint flavored vodka may not be the ideal drinks for the whole winter (we’ve got martinis for that), but they are worth drinking once (ok, twice) to get you in the right, extremely over-the-top headspace for the holidays.

Start out at In the Valley on Passyunk Avenue, where they will once again participate in the now-international Miracle Pop-up, partnering over 100 bars in 6 countries to present a menu of cocktails offerings with names like the Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!, and Bad Santa. ITV will be transformed starting November 29th, and will be open for its normal hours.

As part of the Miracle pop-up, guests dining at Laurel on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays will be invited to enjoy a complimentary nightcap from the Miracle menu in the restaurant’s (heated!) back patio, which will be decked out  with seasonal greenery, flannel blankets, fire pits and plenty of string lights.

Laurel’s back patio | Courtesy of Laurel

If you’re into the outdoor vibe, check out 12 Days of Christmas on the rooftop of Farmer’s Keep in Center City. Open only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from  from November 29th through Christmas (only 12 total days) the bar will serve a different holiday cocktail each night, plus a selection of craft beer. Farmer’s Keep serves a health-conscious, mostly gluten-free menu to weekday business-lunchers and is closed on the weekends, so this is a shift for them to take advantage of their heated rooftop space, decorated with Christmas trees, seasonal blow-ups, and wrapping-papered tables.

Further South, Wilmington is also getting its share of the fun, with Blitzen, a holiday bar themed around Santa’s reindeer of the same name. The vibe is ‘maligned reindeer come back for his due’, as carol aficionados may recall that Blitzen is the last reindeer called out for the sleigh team. The pop-up comes from restaurateur Dan Sheridan, who also runs Wilmington spots Stitch House, Locale BBQ Post and Faire Market & Café, which will be providing bar food for the pop-up, which is open Wednesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. at 220 West Ninth Street. Honestly, I’m down just for the opportunity to use the hashtag #GetBlitzed.

Tinsel will also return to 116 South 12th Street this year after its transition a Halloween bar. Stay tuned for details, but it’s safe to say there will be Christmas trees, colored lights and plenty of holiday cheer from Teddy Sourias of Craft Concepts Group (Tradesman’s, Brü, U-Bahn, and Cinder). As the name implies, Tinsel leans more, well, tinsel-y and loud than some of the other bars. The menu typically includes hot and cold cocktails, plus wine and several draft beers. Tinsel will open to the public on Friday, November 29th with regular house Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Friday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Last year’s Tinsel decorations were exactly as over-the-top as you want them to be. | Photo by Society Hill Films