Beyond Tinsel: Three Bars to Get Your Festivus Spirit Going This Year


I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve given Tinsel a lot of coverage on this blog. The concept of a recurring holiday pop-up bar is a fun one, especially now that the owners have expanded on the concept and gotten in on the Halloween gig as well. December is a time of year when people love to be enveloped in the spirit of the holidays, whether it’s Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Yule, or one of the other 27 holidays celebrated between late November and January 1st by seven major world religions. We love snow – for a little while, anyway – we sip hot chocolate with mounds of marshmallow, and we don’t even mind going to the mall and, upon hearing”Last Christmas, ” losing the Wham Challenge.

As it turns out, there are some pretty great places to get your drink on this Advent, providing a merry atmosphere with a great selection of seasonal quaffs and themed cocktails. Naughty and nice alike will relish a bit of grown-up fun before Santa drops down the chimney on the 25th! Check out these three holiday bars, all of which will leave you feeling holly and jolly.


Miracle at In The Valley and Laurel 

Chi-chi restaurant Laurel, adjacent to In The Valley bar, is joining in the holiday fun this year by partnering both establishments with Miracle, a brand of themed holiday pop-up bars around the country. This season, you will feel cozy and warm despite the chill with”holiday flourishes, festive flair, and an exclusive holiday menu.” While the halls are decked inside, Laurel’s (heated!) outdoor garden will become a winter snuggleland, complete with fre pits, flannel blankets, and abundant string lights. Signature cocktails available from now until New Year’s are the Papa Noel, concocted of blanco tequila, apricot brandy, lime juice, pineapple juice, orgeat and cardamom bitters; and the Kris Kringle Colada, made from Jamaican rum, amaro, allspice liqueur, lime juice, pineapple juice and cream of coconut. All this, and much more, await guests in Passyunk Square.


Yule Lodge at Butcher Bar

Butcher Bar is a renowned Center City hotspot that attracts locals and visitors alike. In their own words, a place for ““meat lovers and comfort foods” complimented with a bar featuring 16 beers on tap, 6 draft wines, and a whiskey-based cocktail program,” you can eat, drink, and make merry this holiday season! The Yule Lodge is a seasonal concept, located on the heated and covered patio bar, decorated with “alluring” spangles and lights. Have a feast fit for Santa with signature dishes like the Hunter’s Trough featuring an assortment of house-made sausages, Korean short ribs, house-smoked bacon, and quaff a tipple like the Winterberry (made with fresh blood orange, pomegranate juice and prosecco), The Ron Swanson Special (made with 16 year Lagavulin old fashioned and housemade jerky), a Smoked Black Cherry Manhattan (made with Bulleit Rye, carpano antica, black cherry and chocolate bitters), and the Moose Milk (made with vodka, Fernet Branca and Irish cream).


Craftsman Row Saloon

This upscale eatery and bar nonetheless serves unpretentious Philly classics with unique twists at reasonable prices. At this time of year, it is impossible to enter Craftsman Row without feeling like you’ve landed at the North Pole holiday party. Boasting over 5,000 feet of garland, thousands of twinkle lights, and all manner of holiday decorations, the staff have decked the place out right. Order one of the seasonal beverages, like the Elf Help Book (made with gin, elderflower, thyme and sparkling wine), Santa Bae Bae (made with citrus vodka, amaro, cranberry and rosemary), 100% That Grinch (made with coquito, rum and holiday spices) and more. Non-alcoholic treats include Christmas-y versions of the resto’s famous milkshakes.

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