Restaurateurs and bar owners around the country have taken the historic Christmas carol “Deck the Halls” to heart. From New York to Texas to Las Vegas, establishments have gone above and beyond fake trees and electric menorahs to create special holiday decor. Here are some of our favorite spots and their festive Christmas and Hanukkah traditions.
Commander’s Palace is one of those establishments in which it feels like everyone is celebrating a special occasion. So it comes as no surprise that it is particularly festive during the holidays. In addition to enjoying a tree and carolers, lunchtime diners receive a jingle bell to take home—a tradition the restaurant has been observing for decades.
La Sirena, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s casual Italian restaurant in the trendy Maritime Hotel, goes all out during the holidays. Its courtyard is decorated with nearly three dozen Christmas trees and festive decorations, and Santa Claus has already made several stops at the establishment to take photos with children.
For a month each year, the East Village bar Mace turns itself into the over-the-top Miracle on Ninth Street. The watering hole not only decks itself out with tinsel, gift wrapping, and Christmas-themed glassware, but also offers a special menu of cocktails formulated by head bartender Nico de Soto, including the Christmapolitan (a variation on the Cosmo containing vodka, fig, and spiced cranberry sauce). There’s even a Hanukkah corner!
Rolf’s Restaurant, New York
You know a restaurant really loves its Christmas display when it leaves it up to the end of May, but that is just what Rolf’s Restaurant, near New York’s Gramercy Park, does every year. The traditional German restaurant, which has been open for more than 40 years, covers its ceiling and just about every other surface possible with lights, ornaments, and decorations. Just be prepared to stand in line to get in.
Celebrity chef José Andrés has helped introduce a range of Spanish dishes to American eaters. Fittingly, his small chain of Jaleo restaurants is now observing the prototypical Spanish winter tradition of enjoying all things made with clementines, including a number of drinks and dishes featuring the fruit. Don’t delay: The restaurants stop serving the special menu after Friday.
There are few places better suited for an elegant celebration than the acclaimed Mansion Restaurant in Dallas. The establishment, located in the deluxe hotel Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, has been given a Christmas makeover and is serving a special menu this weekend. The Snickers yule log promises to be worth the trip alone.
If you’re tired of traditional tinsel and evergreen wreaths, tiki haven Lost Lake is the tropical watering hole for you. Especially for the holidays, it turned itself into Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack. Can’t make it to Chicago? Don’t worry. Lost Lake partnered with New Orleans’s Latitude 29 and New York’s Boilermaker on this special program, and all three are offering festive decor and drinks menus.
Rarely is the Grinch celebrated, but the Jean Philippe Patisserie, inside the Aria Resort in Las Vegas, has created a sweet 5-foot-6-inch statue of the legendary holiday character. It took 50 pounds of chocolate and 112 pounds of sugar fondant to create.