This time of year, holiday cheer is everywhere: festive fêtes, the exchanging of gifts with loved ones, a stroll down a street glowing with LED lights, aisles of metallic red and green wrapping paper at the drugstore — and, yes, in liquid form. To ensure that you’re getting all of the boozy cheer you deserve this time of year, we’ve set out to explore some of the coziest, most Christmassy bars and restaurants around town.
With its British-pub vibes and warm, dark-wood-and-taxidermy interior, it’s not hard to feel the spirit of the season at The Dandelion (124 S. 18th St.). Oversized pinecones dangle from red-ribboned strands of evergreen all around the bar and dining room, and the bar menu is home to holiday-centric libations. The winter beer flip mixes Young’s Chocolate Stout with rum, orange marmalade and a whole egg, shaken until thick and frothy and finished with a sprinkling of freshly ground nutmeg. On the fruitcakier side of things, there’s the Iron Lady, an Anglophilic take on the Old Fashioned made with rye and Thatcher’s (perfect, right?) spiced apple ginger, Luxardo-steeped cherries and orange.
Dating back to 1830, Moriarty’s (1116 Walnut St.) is a staple of the city’s Irish-bar scene. But come holiday time, the red-walled pub transforms into Christmas central. Every inch of the place, from the Tiffany-lamped ceiling to the perimeters of the TVs, is decked out in glittery, fake-snow-sprayed greenery and Santa figurines of all shapes and sizes. As a testament to the festive nature of the spot, on a recent visit cries of “Ho ho ho, motherfuckers” were overheard.
Perhaps most inspired of the city’s holiday spots is Pub & Kitchen (1946 Lombard St.), where chef Jonathan Adams is doing his best to make sure that this season is straight out of a Norman Rockwell cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Hearkening back to the Bucks County Christmases of his youth, complete with country farmhouses decorated with wreaths and flickering candles, he’s gone heavy on the greenery decor with Douglas fir, blue spruce and evergreen and a palette of red and gold. Adams tweaks the bar’s atmosphere, menu and drinks each season; for the weeks leading up to the 25th, he’s offering up his own nostalgic take on Christmas dinners. Serving Monday through Thursday, Adams’ Christmas $35 prix fixe includes nostalgic classics like smoked haddock and sticky toffee pudding.