These Are the 6 Most Festive Holiday Bars in the Bay Area
Get out of the chill with a Santa-themed tiki bowl
Nothing says “the holidays are here” like “large format” Santa cocktails and a whole bunch of tinselized trees. Happily, we’ve compiled myriad options for indulging in some holiday below, from cheerful pop-ups to a Christmas-themed release from the city’s most beloved local beer brand. Plus: enough eggnog, spiked hot chocolate and pun-filled holiday cocktail menus to last you the whole of 2019.
Miracle (at Pacific Cocktail Haven)
You either love it or hate it: Our favorite global holiday pop-up phenomenon — now with locations in Mexico City, London, and Quebec — spreads its Santa-centric enthusiasm at PCH. The bar opens an hour earlier than usual (at 3 p.m.) — but with attractions like an actual snow machine and an ultra-merrified drink list, get there as quick as you can. Consider it Santa’s co-working space?
Deck the Halls
This Christmas pop-up (through December 28) leans hard into the holiday references for its cocktail list, including Rudolph’s Root Beer Flip (with Smooth Ambler bourbon, root beer agave, sherry, whole egg, and Angostura bitters). Get a free serving of tater tots by donating a free, unwrapped present (part of the “Tots for Tots” offer), or show up Friday and Saturday nights for the sympatico Dreidel Bar.
The Jungle Bird
If your ideal Christmas scenario mixes holiday cheer with gigantic tiki drinks — and maybe you’re headed to or from Tahoe soon — plan a beeline for and overnight stop at the Jungle Bird, which is hosting a Sippin’ Santa pop-up. Expect “large format cocktails” and plenty of tropical-Santa imagery.
Bar Agricole is one of our favorite destinations year-round — but it gets a gold star during the run-up to Christmas, when it adds gluhwein — hot mulled wine — to the menu. If for any reason you can’t leave the house, owner Thad Vogler considerately shared his recipe with the Wall Street Journal a couple years ago.
Top of the Mark
The legendary 19th-floor lounge takes the holidays so seriously that it has a bespoke website for its array of Christmas and New Year’s brunches and dinners. Of course, we’ll just be drinking — and doubtlessly partaking of the “12 Cocktails of Christmas” menu, with options like the Partridge in a Pear Tree, with pear vodka, pear purée, fresh lemon, and Champagne.
Anchor Public Taps
If you’re more concerned with what you’re actually drinking than the decor, grab a ticket for Thursday night’s release of Anchor Brewing Company’s Barrel Aged Christmas Ale — a mix of previous Christmas ales with Old Foghorn Barleywine. It’s $25, and as good an excuse as any to visit the brand’s “pilot brewery.” Happily, food truck Frank Grizzly’s should be there, with “Cali-style” Mexican, like roasted duck tacos with mango salsa and hoisin sauce.