Everything may be bigger in Texas, but when it comes to holiday decorations, some of Manhattan’s top restaurants, bars and private clubs prove everything’s decked out in New York. This year, Doubles, New York City’s oldest thriving social club, Sanctuary Hotel’s Haven Ski Chalet Rolf’s, Pete’s Tavern, and Colicchio and Sons’ Main Dining Room Restaurant have all created festive winter wonderlands with over-the-top holiday décor. Whether you’re dining alone or with a date, with friends or family, these hotspots are sure to leave you feeling like Mr. or Mrs. Claus.
Doubles, located on Fifth Avenue, opened its doors in 1976. The private club is known for being a home away from home for members of New York City society—including the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tara and Michael Rockefeller, Muffie Potter Aston, and scions of the Whitney and Mellon families. It’s also renowned for its annual Christmas Luncheons, featuring carolers and an over the top dessert buffet. Complementing the already-red décor, decorations of all shades of red and green hang from the club’s ceiling, helping transport the city’s elite right into a Christmas story. Speaking of children, Doubles has Santa on hand to greet them and hear their Christmas wishes. But given Doubles’ endless potpourri of candy, sweets, and dessert, in addition to its many decked-out Christmas trees and collection of reindeer, it’s hard to imagine what else these children could want.
For those looking to connect with the winter landscape, The Sanctuary Hotel’s Haven Rooftop transforms into a Ski Chalet for the holiday season. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the destination resembles the slopes of a ski resort. Dangling snowflakes and hourly snow shows let New Yorkers appreciate nature without having to endure the frigid cold. Guests can park themselves in one of Haven’s custom-built chalets, which come complete with private fireplaces and faux furs to keep patrons warm and cozy beneath the restaurant’s transparent outdoor tent. For those looking to stay warm by other means, Haven offers a mixture of winter-inspired cocktails, including Spiker (“Hot Cider” Fireball, Stoli Apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange), Peppermint Cream (Baileys Irish Cream, hot chocolate, crème de cacao, crème de menthe, whipped crème, and candy cane), and, of course, Haven’s shot-ski, which allows a group of partygoers to take shots together.
Many of America’s Christmas phrases and traditions come from Germany. Therefore, it’s no surprising that Rolf’s Bar and Restaurant, a German eatery, leads the way in Gramercy for Christmas decorations. The ceiling, which is completely covered in wreaths, lights, and ornaments, makes it hard to look anywhere but up. Fake icicles, pine cones, and snow blur the lines between indoor and outdoor Christmas scenes, creating a truly spectacular sight. Antique German decorations and traditional German food make Rolf’s a go to spot for those who remember spending Christmas at their grandparents’ homes or for whom eating schnitzel under an enchanted Christmas forest is too enticing to pass up.
Whether it’s Pete’s Tavern’s completely covered-in-holiday-lights ceiling or homemade eggnog, patrons quickly feel the Christmas spirit. Opened in 1864, the Union Square destination has been decking itself out for the last several decades. The Tavern’s holiday décor isn’t its only gift, though: At the turn of the century, O. Henry is said to have written “The Gift of the Magi” there and, during Prohibition, it masqueraded as a flower shop to hide its much-visited saloon.
For those looking for a quirkier holiday meal, Colicchio and Sons offers an Elvis-themed Christmas celebration. Set under blue lights, the restaurant’s Christmas tree, which is obviously decorated with Elvis memorabilia, provides diners with a truly blue Christmas.