From twinkling lights to ruby-red poinsettias to dangling paper snowflakes, restaurants and bars across the city are showing off their holiday best. Swing by for a festive treat or drink (think pumpkin-maple cake and boozy gingerbread cocktails) and immerse yourself in cheer. Below are more than a dozen spots to check out as 2020 approaches. Or, for a straight shot of yuletide spirit, check out one of the city’s holiday pop-up bars, like Tinsel and Ebenezer’s.
Warm up by the fireplace at the cozy, British-inspired Stephen Starr pub, decked out with wreaths, ribbons, and greenery. Bright white lights add extra festive cheer.
124 S. 18th St., 215-558-2500, thedandelionpub.com
Birch branches, evergreen accents, fairy lights, and hanging snowflakes transform Cake Life into a winter wonderland. Stop by to enjoy festive baked goods, like pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese icing, and admire the handmade wreath adorning the back wall.
1306 Frankford Ave., 215-278-2580, cakelifebakeshop.com
It’s impossible to miss the upside-down Christmas tree hung from BAR’s second floor ceiling. While gravity makes it hard to hook ornaments on its branches, the tree is fully strung with colorful lights, matching those that outline the windows, ceilings, and railings here. Inflatables characters like Yoda and Santa also pop up at the downtown dive, ready for photo-ops as you crack open a beer.
1309 Sansom St., 267-639-6491, barphiladelphia.com
Stepping into this East Passyunk tasting room feels a bit like entering a winter lodge. A snowy Christmas tree stands in the corner, and white eucalyptus branches, holly, and pine cones decorate the bar.
1603 E. Passyunk Ave., 267-687-8772, manatawnystillworks.com
Come to admire Evil Genius’ nearly 20-foot-tall Christmas tree or pick out your own from Front Street Trees, setting up shop in the brewery’s beer garden. Inside, you can order the seasonal saison “Santa! I Know Him!,” brewed with rose hips, chamomile, black currants, and rich, chocolaty Belgian candi syrup. The 7.2% ABV beer will definitely help keep you warm.
1727 N. Front St., 215-425-6820, evilgeniusbeer.com
One of 100-plus bars — and the only one in Philadelphia — to partake in the worldwide "Miracle, A Pop-Up Christmas Cocktail Bar” decorating campaign, ITV has received a full-on holiday makeover for the third year in a row. Garlands, lights, ribbons, and wrapping paper blanket the East Passyunk bar, while holiday soundtracks ring out across the room. Adding to the festive cheer: a special offering of drinks, like the Christmapolitan and Snowball Old Fashioned, all served in festive glassware.
1615 E. Passyunk Ave., 267-858-0669, itvphilly.com
The upscale sibling to ITV, Nick Elmi’s banner restaurant also joins in on the holiday fun. Guests dining at Laurel Tuesday through Thursday are invited to enjoy a complimentary Miracle nightcap in the intimate outdoor garden, kept warm with heaters and fire pits (and flannel blankets, if you like). String lights are a given.
1617 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-271-8299, restaurantlaurel.com
Normally closed on weekends, Farmer’s Keep is opening its doors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Dec. 25 in celebration of its brand-new rooftop patio. Guests can enjoy special holiday cocktails in the heated space, adorned with wrapping paper-covered tables, a Christmas tree, and blow-up holiday characters. Decorations grace the indoors, too, including a custom mural of Santa and his elves. Cocktail specials kick off at 5 p.m. on Fridays and noon on weekends.
10 S. 20th St., 215-309-2928, farmerskeep.com
Blow-up lawn ornaments, a pink holiday tree, and festive Christmas stockings build on the tropical ambiance at this Midtown Village spot. Guests can also enjoy holiday-themed tiki drinks, like a gingerbread Manhattan and the Nut Cracker, featuring rum, coconut water, and pineapple juice served in a coconut.
102 S. 13th St., 215-309-3435, tikiphilly.com
The holidays are serious business at Jose Pistola’s, where decoration prep starts as early as 11 months out. This year, a thousand handmade, glittery paper flowers adorn the first floor, creating secret-garden-style space to have a drink downtown. On the second floor, a Princess Leia angel tops a tree decorated with other Star Wars ornaments. And all throughout the restaurant, thousands of hand-cut snowflakes are hung from every inch of ceiling space.
263 S. 15th St., 215-545-4101, josepistolas.com
The Christmas spirit smacks you in the face as soon as you step into this burger bar. Strings of evergreen line the windowsills, booths, and the entire perimeter of the dining room, while heavily ornamented wreaths and colorful ribbons decorate the walls. And there’s more than enough metallic balls to shine a glimmer into your eyes.
112 S. Eighth St., 215-923-0123, craftsmanrowsaloon.com
Dim lighting and gas fireplace keep this Old City spot cozy year-round, but classic Victorian holiday decor, candles, fresh pine boughs, and poinsettia dress it up through the holiday season. The Christmas tree is studded with gold-dipped oyster shells, acquired from the raw bar.
52 S. Second St., 267-606-6313, royalboucherie.com
With three trees and plenty of twinkling lights, this family-friendly Northern Liberties beer hall is filled with holiday cheer. Come out on Saturdays to catch Santa for a selfie (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and to partake in ornament-making with $5 craft kits.
901 N. Delaware Ave., 267-297-2072, crafthallphilly.com
Both locales of Garage dress up for the holiday season with garlands and lights. Decorated Christmas trees also stand tall in between Skee-Ball machines and pool tables.
100 E. Girard Ave. (North), 1231 E. Passyunk Ave. (South), 215-278-2429, garagephilly.com
Sofitel’s Liberté lounge and restaurant takes on a French haute couture-inspired flair for the holidays. Find mannequins dressed in evergreen skirts, trees blanketed with bright balls and ribboned presents, and white lights dangling throughout.