Festive Philly Bars for the Holiday-Obsessed Among Us

Want to fuel your love of Christmas by drinking out of ornaments and sitting under twinkle lights? You’ve come to the right place.

holiday bar christmas cocktails

Holiday cocktails at Craftsman Row, transformed into a Christmas bar for the holidays / Photograph by Eddy Marenco

The holidays are upon us, which means it’s time to get into the spirit — with spirits. (I only get to use that pun once a year, forgive me.) Want to throw on an ugly sweater and go somewhere you can drink a cocktail out of an ornament while surrounded by ornaments for no reason other than to fuel your love of Christmas? You’ve come to the right place.


philadelphia holiday bars

Midtown Village Christmas bar pop-up Tinsel / Photograph courtesy of Craft Concepts Group/Tinsel

Leading off with the Christmas bar that arguably started the trend in Philly, it’s the hyper-festive Tinsel. This former Midtown Village jewelry store is small, but they cram holiday cheer into every square inch with all the lights and decorations they could find, and a soundtrack to match. This year, the theming celebrates holiday movies — including Elf, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Rudolph — so expect some very festive photos. Even better, some of the themed drinks come in cute glassware you can keep (think: snow globes and childlike plastic mugs with reindeer on them). They also sell “the Canned Good” which comes in a custom Tinsel can and includes a $1 donation to MANNA. They open on Black Friday each year.
November 24th-December 31st, 116 South 12th Street, Midtown Village.

Craftsman Row

holiday bars christmas

Craftsman Row decked out for the holidays / Photograph by Eddy Marenco

This Jewelers’ Row bar and restaurant goes all out for the holidays with ornaments cascading from the ceilings and garland everywhere, plus themed menu items, cocktails and over-the-top milkshakes (all of which can be made boozy). Cocktails include a Candy Cane-tini, 100% That Grinch (featuring their house-made coquito), and the Ornament Greetings that actually comes in glass ball ornament! Meanwhile, the Christmas Dinner Burger is topped with stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet-potato fries; the milkshakes come topped with candy, cookies, and (in one case) a whole slice of pumpkin pie. If you’re looking to bring the whole family, this is one of the few places that works for that too: They are also open for lunch daily, as well as brunch on Friday through Sunday.
Holiday-themed through January 1st, 112 South 8th Street, Washington Square West.

Butcher Bar

holidays christmas butcher bar pop-up

Yule Lodge at Butcher Bar / Photograph by Laura Swartz

The Yule Lodge has returned for the season, transforming Butcher Bar’s patio and garden into a cozy, plaid refuge filled with holiday-themed drinks, including mulled wine, a Yule Mule, and the “Ron Swanson Special,” which is garnished with house-made beef jerky. They even have National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation-inspired reindeer glasses. If you’re looking to get nuts, go for the Shotski: two shots of Bailey’s served on a ski, to be experienced in tandem, like so:

christmas bars holidays

The Shotski / Photograph courtesy of Butcher Bar

Happy hour (weekdays from 4 to 6:30 p.m.) are walk-in. Groups smaller than six can reserve a table inside the lodge for brunch or dinner online. (Parties of six or more looking for sit-down dining should call in advance.)
November 17th-December 31st, 2034 Chestnut Street, Rittenhouse.

Taqueria Amor

Taqueria Amor / Photograph by Laura Swartz

For their fourth season, this Manayunk spot transforms into “Senor Grinch’s.” The restaurant is covered in lights, garland and other themed areas including — new for this year — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and The Muppet Christmas Carol. There’s also a projector showing holiday movie clips all night. They also add seven special holiday cocktails to the menu, including the Grincharita and Cindy Lou Who’s Spiked Yoo-Hoo.
November 16th-January 2nd, 4410 Main Street, Manayunk.

The Prime Rib

Photograph courtesy of Prime Rib

The Library Bar inside Live Casino’s Prime Rib transforms into a cozy, vintage-style après-ski lodge with lounge seating, shimmering snowflakes and even a ski lift photo op. Our favorite of their specialty holiday cocktails? The Mogul Margarita, which is infused with grapefruit smoke right in front of you! This experience is only available from Thursdays through Saturdays, and is reservation-only  (book here).
Thursdays through Saturdays from 4:30 to 11 p.m. through January 1st, 900 Packer Avenue, South Philly.

Assembly Rooftop Lounge

Alpine Heights at Assembly Rooftop Lounge / Photograph courtesy of Punch Media

For the holiday season, Assembly transforms into Alpine Heights, a ski lodge-themed experience with fire pits, boozy hot chocolate and mulled wine, themed decor, blankets and more. Holiday menu items include sweet and savory fondues; an outdoor pizza oven is serving up flatbreads, as well. Plus, the Parkway views can’t be beat. Assembly Rooftop Lounge is open for walk-ins based on availability, or you can make reservations here.
November 9th-February 29th, 1840 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Logan Square.

Frankford Hall

This German beer hall-inspired Fishtown spot gets decorated for the holidays, including their outdoor patio with cozy fire pits and heaters, s’mores kits and warm drinks like spiked apple cider. But families especially should be on the lookout for their popular “Frankford Hall-idays” weekends in December when they’ll have crafts and visits from Santa.
1210 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown.

Uptown Beer Garden

christmas holiday bar pop-up

Holiday pop-up at Uptown Beer Garden / Photograph by Society Hill Films

If you’re looking for an outdoor spot to grab a festive drink and festive photos, head to Uptown Beer Garden. (Though, bundle up, because while there is an enclosed-tent section and some heaters, it still gets very chilly.) This year, UBG’s holiday “Uptown Express” pop-up is inspired by classic Christmas movies. Whimsical decorations include a Grinch face made of lights, a Christmas tree surrounded by Whos, a Wet Bandits van from Home Alone, and, yes, a Polar Express train. As for drinks, you can choose frozen, hot and regular-temperature themed cocktails, along with beer. And because Uptown shares an owner with Tinsel, you can also get the Canned Good cocktail here. You’re also in a prime location, as this one sits right across from Christmas Village in LOVE Park.
November 17th-December 31st, 1500 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Center City.

McGillin’s Olde Ale House

McGillin’s all dressed up for the holidays / Photograph by Laura Swartz

According to their website, the beer taps have been flowing at McGillin’s since 1860. But it’s not just one of Philly’s oldest bars, it’s also a holiday standby for generations of Philadelphians. They’ve got themed cocktails including a Mistletoe Mule, an eggnog martini and a cranberry-heavy Poinsettia Punch. Visiting the decked-out McGillin’s is a Philly holiday tradition, like the Macy’s light show or complaining about crowds at the Macy’s light show. New for this year, they’re also hosting a holiday pop-up shop a block away at Juniper and Sansom beginning on Black Friday.
1310 Drury Street, Midtown Village.

White Elephant

White Elephant / Photograph courtesy of Craft Concepts Group

I walked past the currently closed Blume the other day and saw sparkly ornaments being spray-painted pink. What’s this about? They’re planning a holiday makeover called White Elephant, set to open December 1st with lots of pink (to match their botanical decor) — even a pink sparkly cocktail! Stay tuned!
December 1st-31st, 1500 Locust Street.

The Ritz-Carlton

christmas holiday pop-up bar

Photograph courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

For something swanky, hit up the Ritz-Carlton’s lobby bar which will also be taking its holiday cues from Barbie this year. The all-pink holiday pop-up — appropriately called Sparkling Pink — will cover their vault with floor-to-ceiling pink tinsel and decorations for a Dreamhouse-worthy holiday experience. This one’s reservation-only, with tickets starting at $35 for a 75-minute timeslot. Admission includes a welcome cocktail (or mocktail) and light bites; additional drinks will be available for purchase.
November 25th-January 1st, 10 Avenue of the Arts (but enter at the 1400 South Penn Square doors), Center City.

Evil Genius

Evil Genius in its holiday best / Photograph courtesy of Evil Genius

“Santa! I know him!” Evil Genius has turned that Elf quote into a seasonal beer, as well as a guiding principle at their Lab in Fishtown. The holiday saison is brewed with rose hips, chamomile, black currants and dark Belgian candi syrup. The Lab, meanwhile, is decked out with a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree, which they’ll light on November 30th from 6 to 9 p.m. in their kickoff holiday party. Outside, the beer garden will also be decorated for the season, and you can even pick out your Christmas tree from Front Street Trees. Special events include the Santa 0.5K charity race around the block on December 2nd, the “Sleigh My Name Sleigh My Name” Christmas drag brunch on December 17th, and a Christmas cookie and beer pairing event on December 19th.
1727 Front Street, Fishtown.