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Top Five Bars to Visit During the Holidays

Dec. 9, 2016
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Christmas is fast approaching, and when you need a break from merry-making and present shopping, a quick stop at bar sounds just about right. Many bars go all out with holiday decorations, special cocktails, or are just so cozy that Christmas time is the best time to visit. Here are five of the best bars to visit in December.

Karl Ratzch

Have no fear, fans of the old Karl Ratzsch's at Christmas: new owner Thomas Hauck is continuing the holiday traditions. The renovations this year have modernized the space a bit, but the Christmas decorations are out in full force. Perhaps more importantly, Tom and Jerrys are once again being served. The hot cocktail has been a holiday tradition at KR for decades. Served in a mug with a big pillow of whipped cream and egg whites on top, the drink resembles warm eggnog with rum, brandy, cream and spices. You can't go wrong sipping on one at the bar, surrounded by stockings, Christmas lights and sparkly wreaths.

Erv's Mug

The employees of Erv's Mug put up so many Christmas decorations that the restaurant closes for an entire day to give them enough time to do it. If you've been to Erv's, then you know that's quite a feat, considering how much stuff is already hanging on the walls and ceiling. It's quite impressive, if not a little overwhelming, though it will undoubtedly make you smile when you walk in. To sweeten the deal, Erv's just happens to have one of the best beer lists around, so plan to try something new while you're there. A supper club-like menu of steaks, seafood and sandwiches makes this a great place to celebrate Christmas.

Rumpus Room

Rumpus Room has the strategic advantage of being one of the closest bars to the ice skating rink, Slice of Ice, in Red Arrow Park. So when you've had just about enough gliding around on the ice in the cold weather, you can thaw out at the long, dark wood, candlelit bar at Rumpus Room. For some extra help, try a flight of spirits. They specialize in Scotch and rum, and flights are available for drinkers that are new to the world of liquor and for those that already have their favorites and want to try something new. 

The Pfister Hotel

The Pfister goes all out with decorating for the holidays, especially in the lobby. There's a 20-foot tree, garland everywhere, red and green mood lighting, and even the lion statues get a fancy outfit. Lucky for us, there's also a bar right there in the lobby where you can sip a cocktail and listen to piano music while you gaze at the Christmas tree. If you're a bloody mary fiend like I am, make sure you order one at the Lobby Lounge as they're one of the best in the city. If you need a meal, Mason Street Grill, the hotel's restaurant, has great steaks that you can enjoy next to the fireplace in the bar area. And if you need to get a little shopping done, The Pfister even has a Holiday Marketplace of local goods.

County Clare

The pub at County Clare is the epitome of cozy, so it gets my vote as a great place for holiday gatherings. Just beyond the dark wood bar is a cast iron, wood-burning fireplace, complete with stacks of wood ready to go on either side. Pints of Guinness will warm you up while you listen to Irish tunes from one of the many musicians who regularly plays there. You'll feel like you've been transported across the pond for Christmas, only this is much cheaper than a plane ticket. Incidentally, County Clare also has one of my favorite bloody marys around, so even if you think you'll get strange looks for ordering one on a December night, give it a try.

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