10 Christmas-Themed Bars in Pennsylvania to Check Out This Season

Even though the holidays provide so many opportunities to socialize at home and work, there’s still something magical about bundling up and heading out into the frosty air and going to a local bar or restaurant. It’s nothing new that shops, gathering places and restaurants decorate for the winter holidays, but in the past few years, a new trend has been emerging that’s even more festive: Christmas-themed bars.

Forget a string of lights and a wreath or two, and imagine a self-contained little world of holiday splendor, with good tidings and cheer covering every available surface, plus the soundtrack, cozy drinks and indulgent bites to match.

Here are 10 Christmas bars in Pennsylvania to check out this holiday season:

Tinsel (Philadelphia)

Tucked inside a 100-year-old former jewelry shop in Philadelphia’s Midtown Village neighborhood, find Tinsel, a kitschy charming pop-up concept that runs from early December through New Year’s Day. The interior is awash with thousands twinkly lights, yards of tinsel, art installations, hundreds of ornaments and hanging presents, a light show, retro decor and more! Of course, there’s plenty to sip on, like thematic drinks in themed glassware (like Santa boots and snow globes), eggnog, warm cocktails, beer and cider. There’s also a Canned for Good cocktail, from which a portion of sales will be donated to charity, which we love.

Frequently packed with locals and tourists enjoying the spirit of things, it’s proven to be a huge hit year after year! After briefly changing to a Halloween-themed bar in October (The Nightmare Before Tinsel), Tinsel delivers maximum holiday vibes. The space is pretty tiny, though, so we imagine it will be just as jumping as ever this year — bundle up because there might be a line to get in! 116 S. 12th St., Philadelphia; (215) 397-3308.

Craftsman Row Saloon (Philadelphia)

Not far from Tinsel, find the equally-festive Christmas pop-up in Craftsman Row, a comfy saloon in Jeweler’s Row. The decorations are top-notch, with tons of lights, garlands, ornaments and Santa hats, as are the boozy offerings! In fact, there’s an entire section of the beverage menu dedicated to holiday cocktails, including a Sweater Weather Chai, the Ornamental Greetings (yes, served in an actual ornament) and a rum-spiked coquito dubbed 100% That Grinch. This spot is also known for its over-the-top milkshakes, and has three on offer during December with all the jingle bells and whistles, like the Pumpkin’ to Talk About shake that’s garnished with an entire piece of pumpkin pie. There are food specials, as well, including a Christmas Dinner Burger with two smashed patties, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato fries and cheese on Martin’s potato roll and a Christmas Tree Hand Pie, stuffed with Italian deli meats and mozzarella. 112 S. 8th St., Philadelphia; (215) 923-0123.

White Elephant (Philadelphia)

White Elephant, right smack in the heart of Center City at 15th and Locust, is a self-described “pink disco Christmas bar” and indeed looks like a fever dream collab between Barbie and Mrs. Claus. The space is strung with miles of tinsel, adorned with multiple bubblegum-hued Christmas trees, shiny wrapped presents, gleaming ornaments and baubles and seemingly infinite twinkly lights; grab a seat at the bar or stake out one of the cozy booths and enjoy a rosemary-scented Santa Spritz, a Reindeer Games spiked hot chocolate, or one of the other creative beverages on offer. The only food on offer is tomato pie, so plan accordingly. 1500 Locust St., no phone.

Uptown Beer Garden (Philadelphia)

What started as a premier outdoor hang in Center City Philly has now transitioned to a winter wonderland! Throughout November and December Uptown Beer Garden transforms into a highly-spirited Christmas bar, The Uptown Express, with holiday movie-inspired decor and cocktails. There are plenty of amazing photos ops with a glittering Christmas tree, Grinch-shaped neon, a light tunnel and more! This is an outdoor bar with heat, but it does get cold, so plan ahead and bundle up! This central location means that it’s right across from Love Park and City Hall, where there are plenty more Christmas festivities to be enjoyed. 1500 JFK Blvd., Philadelphia; (267) 639-4493.

Senor Grich’s at Taqueria Amour (Manayunk)

From November 17 through January 2, this popular Mexican restaurant on Main Street in Manayunk gets a holiday makeover to become Senor Grinch’s. The entire exterior of the building is decked out with lights, and in dining room and bar are all aglow with more lights, a video fireplace, hanging ornaments and candy canes, tinsel trees and plenty of nods to iconic holiday pop culture moments, like Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and, of course, Dr. Seuss’s Grinch. Try one of the thematic cocktails from the special holiday menu, like the Bad Santa’s Blood Orange Crush (a vodka number with multiple kinds of OJ and sprite) and the Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel (an allspice pineapple marg with blue curacao). 4410 Main St., Philadelphia; (267) 331-5874. 

Jingle on State at State Street Pub (Media)

The charming town of Media in Delaware County now has its own Christmas pop-up bar, Jingle on State, nestled inside State Street Pub, a lively watering hole and restaurant. The already-cozy space has been holiday-ified inside and out with tons of lights, a Christmas, tree, Santa’s chair and a mailbox for mailing those wish lists to Old St. Nick. Once you’ve snapped the requisite Instagram shot outside, head to the bar for a special cocktail, like spiced cranberry margaritas. Pro tip: State Street Pub is open til 2 a.m. every day for your late-night cravings! 37 E. State St., Media; (610) 627-2515.

The Cantina (York)

This indoor-outdoor bar in downtown York’s Royal Square District serves up tropical vibes in the summer and, come December, turns into a festive Christmas pop-up. In addition to plenty of holiday decor, there’s a menu of specialty cocktails, like the Sugar Cookie Martini and the Peppermint Mule. There are DJs spinning music on the weekends, and plenty of events, like ugly sweater parties and drag brunches, to make the season bright. Note: there is a $5 cover to enter The Cantina’s Christmas Pop-Up105 S. Duke St., York; (717) 456-0218.

Blitzen the Bar (Scranton)

This classy Christmas pop-up bar originated in Wilmington, Delaware and just opened a second location at student-run restaurant, 409 Adams, at The School of Hospitality at Lackawanna College. Blitzen the Bar tells the story of Blitzen the reindeer (apparently Santa’s least favorite) through creative cocktails, small plates and festive reindeer-themed decor. On the food menu, find snacks like Red Nose Bites (Nashville hot chicken) and Jingle Jangle Shrimp and cocktails like The Coal Cracker (gin, Aperol, OJ and orange seltzer) and Mrs. Clausmopolitan. Rowdy revelers will love the Shotski, seasonal shots for 4 or 6 people, taken simultaneously from an actual ski. There’s also an outdoor bar with plenty of seating and fire pits. Open from November 17 until December 23, the Scranton location holds hours Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. until midnight, and is closed on Sundays for private events. Pro tip: Mention “Mrs. Claus” to the bartender to get your first drink on the house! 409 Adams Ave., Scranton; (570) 955-1548.

Home Alone Christmas Pop-Up Bar at Barcadia (Pittsburgh)

This pop-up answers the question: how do you make an arcade bar even more fun? Barcadia, a double-decker bar filled to the brim with video games, pinball machines and skeeball, turns its second floor into a holiday pop-up every December. This year, the theme is inspired from the classic film, Home Alone, and there are decorations galore, and specialty cocktails riffing on themes and details from the movie (think: stocking with all the McAllister kids’ names, cut-outs of Marv and Harry and a cocktail list inspired by The Plaza Hotel). It’s open seven days a week, and children are welcome before 6 p.m. 25 Market Square, Pittsburgh; (412) 586-7440.

Miracle on 6th (Pittsburgh)

Christmas bars in PA

For years, the international Miracle group of pop-up bars has been wowing guests in Pittsburgh, and this year it’s back with Miracle on 6th! Managed by The Warren Bar, this all-Christmas-everything pop-up is everything you could hope for from a holiday-themed drinking experience: shiny tinsel and lights everywhere, hundreds of ornaments, cups of cheer served in kitschy glassware, plus events like the world’s largest ugly Christmas sweater party. There is also a private party room where you can host the cocktail soiree of your dreams! 137 6th St., Pittsburgh; (412) 431-5282.

Where are your Christmas bars in Pennsylvania to enjoy holiday cheer with a drink in hand? Let us know here or on the PA Eats Facebook page!

  • Feature photo: Kory Aversa