Winter in Philly always bring a little something extra. At the city’s most festive bars you can sip on a BACARDÍ and Coke at a dance party, have a tropical cocktail on a boat, or try a cinnamon toast shot. It’s weird, it’s wonderful, it’s Philly. Below, the nine most festive bars in town for getting into the winter spirit(s).Read More
Philadelphia’s Most Festive Spots for the Winter
Where to escape the cold with a spirited rum cocktail.
Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar
Don your gay apparel for two can‘t-miss parties at Tabu. December 16 is the holiday show, starring Darienne Lake from RuPaul’s Drag Race along with performances from Tabu’s house divas (who typically work mistletoe into their outfits so they can kiss the crowd). Christmas Eve is “Oy to the World,” a dance party for the LGBT Jewish community and allies. Led by Alexis Michelle (another Drag Race alum), there will be lip-syncing, ukulele, comedy, and dancing — plus an appearance by Hanukkah Harry, a Saturday Night Live character from the ‘80s. (Latkes aren’t on offer, but Tabu has a full menu of tater tot dishes.) Top off the night with Kenny K’s Rum Punch, made with BACARDÍ Mango, Limon and Dragonberry rums, triple sec, sour mix, and grenadine.
The Moshulu (a historic tall ship that’s permanently docked on the Delaware River) becomes a winter wonderland. Its masts are wrapped in red lights, the bow deck features a display of more than 50,00 lights that blink in time with classic holiday tunes, and the upper deck — with its stellar views of the Philly skyline and Ben Franklin Bridge — is adorned with seasonal decorations. All this is free and open to the public from 4 p.m. to close every day starting November 21. We suggest timing your visit with happy hour (4 to 6 p.m.) at the Moshulu bar, which means $5 cocktails and beers, or go for the Coquito Colada, the winter specialty drink that mixes tropical ingredients like BACARDÍ Banana and BACARDÍ Coconut with coconut milk, pineapple juice, angostura bitters, and fresh grated nutmeg for a “winter in the tropics” feel.
When winter comes around, head outdoors and upstairs. The Assembly Rooftop Lounge, nine stories up on the roof of The Logan hotel in Center City, is an all-weather terrace where sofas wrap around firepits and blankets are provided for cuddling up under the stars. Festive décor, plenty of greenery, and candles make this a prime winter destination; plus, there are hot cocktails on the winter menu made with rum, hot chocolate and vanilla whipped cream or green tea, brown sugar, lime, and rum — just the thing for keeping you warm as you ring in the new year with the city’s best views.
Also featured in:
Byblos is a long-time fave for Center City office parties, which means that from the end of November through January this place is packed with office workers letting off steam and taking in smoke (Byblos is the first hookah bar in Philly and has a menu of 19 flavors that range from mango to strawberry margarita). The food here gets a seasonal twist with desserts like buche de noel (a traditional winter log cake), but it’s the cocktails that add a real “‘tis the season” feel. Our faves: the Sugarplum Fairy, made with BACARDÍ Coconut, silver rum, and Irish cream; the Gingerbread, a blend of BACARDÍ Gold, Frangelico, and ginger beer; and the White Christmas Mojito, which boasts three kinds of rum, simple syrup, muddled lime and mint.
Rittenhouse Square is Philly’s toniest neighborhood and its holiday parties tend to be pretty same-y: stuffy cocktail attire, staid ambience. Butcher Bar’s head bartender, Richard Colli, decided that they’d do something different this year: a rowdy, noisy, ugly-sweater-wearing heavy metal party. Yes, heavy metal. On December 16, the VERY Metal Holiday Event will take place on the patio, with cocktails and mulled wine, a rotation of heavy metal hits, and guests encouraged to wear their most hideous holiday sweaters. This year, caroling is out and head-banging is in. You heard it here first.
El Camino Real Restaurant
At El Camino Real, a cheery Tex-Mex cantina in Northern Liberties, the holidays stretch into January. Come for the seasonal cocktails, which include a sparkling apple cider with BACARDÍ Oakheart spiced rum, a rum punch made with cinnamon, ginger, and sweet vermouth, or the mulled wine margarita.
The Draught Horse Pub & Grill
Draught Horse, a bar on Temple University’s campus, gets into the winter spirit early, before the students head home for winter break. Specials include seasonally appropriate beers and a BACARDÍ dark rum toddy to keep you warm no matter how much it snows.
Kick off the season early with a viewing party that celebrates the season in true style — with high heels and wigs. Boxers is a gay sports bar packed with flat screen TVs, but on December 7 they’ll be showing “RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular” rather than football. This special themed episode brings together eight drag queens who will compete for the title of Drag Race Christmas Queen by dancing and lip-syncing songs from RuPaul’s two (!) holiday albums, Slay Belles and Christmas Party. Order up the Grand Slam Bucket to last you the night: It’s made with Bacardi Superior Rum, Coconut, and Tangerine rums mixed with pineapple and orange juices.