'Tis the season for holiday happenings big and small. But where to go this month for a festive drink with friends? Inquirer Food Critic Craig LaBan gives us his picks.

LaBan: Few restaurants in town dress up for Christmas with as much cheer as The Dandelion near Rittenhouse Square. Cozy up next to one of the roaring fireplaces with a pint of good, malty English bitters.

Other bars that should offer some cheerful spirits with style include Tequila's for an agave-fueled Navidad, or cozy Friday Saturday Sunday, where I'm hoping talented bartender Paul MacDonald will give his running Fibonacci series of cocktails a Santa twist.

If you're doing Hanukkah, Abe Fisher has one of the most underrated bar programs in town, but also with plenty of Ashkenazi shtick (try the Cynar-based "All My Friends")  to wash down the latkes and chicken with black truffle kugel for its Hanukkah dinner menu on Dec. 13.

I'm always in a celebratory mood when the drinks come with lots of oysters, so try the Olde Bar and drink with the ghosts of Bookbinders past.

If your friends happen to be serious foodies, head down to East Passyunk's In The Valley (ITV), the stylish gastropub next to Nick Elmi's Laurel, where you can splurge on the city's most elegant caviar preparation and toast your friends with premier cru Aubry Brut Champagne. Or try one of the cheffy cocktails like the Throw Pillow, which is actually made with spruce tips. It's like a Christmas tree in your drink, and you know holiday imbibing doesn't get more festive than that.