By Michelle Reese
The holidays are here, and it’s always a popular time of year to celebrate the season with food and drinks. Whether you’re gathering with friends, family, coworkers, or a date, there are plenty of places in Philly to enjoy festive flavors and toast to the holidays.
Here are a few ideas to Eat, Drink & Be Merry:
McGillin’s Ole Ale House
1310 Drury Street, Philadelphia
Make it a tradition to stop by McGillin’s while you’re out doing some Christmas shopping or enjoying the nearby holiday festivities. Decorated with 3,000 lights, 1,000 feet of garland, and hundreds of ornaments and bows, the tavern is guaranteed to get you in a festive state of mind. Choose from a menu of delicious tavern fare and comfort foods, and then wash it down with a festive drink. The winter drink menu features options such as an eggnog martini, spiked hot chocolate, Christmas sangria, and Troegs 2019 Mad Elf. Holiday themed-events include Ugly Sweater Karaoke on December 18, Christmas-themed Open Mic Nights on December 12 and 19, and a New Year’s Eve party on the 31st.
LOVE Park, John. F Kennedy Boulevard and North 15th Street, Philadelphia
Returning for its 12th year, this German-style market features 80 wooden booths with local and international merchants. You’ll find unique gifts, delicious food and drinks and plenty of festive entertainment. Enjoy live wine tastings with Chaddsford Winery every Monday and Tuesday, Beer Tastings from local breweries on Thursdays, and tons of food vendors every day. A few favorites include German Grill, Belgium Fries, Jerky Hut, John & Kira’s Chocolates, Mike’s Hot Honey, Raclette Cheese, Crepes and German Sweets and more!
Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market
Dilworth Plaza, 1 S. 15th Street, Philadelphia
Philadelphia’s premiere local-focused holiday market runs now through January 1. This charming outdoor winter bazaar was designed to compliment the global shopping at the city’s largest holiday market, Christmas Village in Philadelphia. In addition to shopping local vendors with arts, crafts and gifts made and sourced in the region, you can warm up with hot cocoa and hot cider, plus a selection of local craft beer from Bar Hygge/ Brewery Techne at Fairmount Avenue. Holiday sweets and foods this year will also include French Toasts and jams, Philadelphia pretzels, French macarons, pickles, sugar cookies, cannoli and more. New this season: Look out for Philly Cheesesteak as the local signature sandwich.
Cocktails and Cold Ones at Dilworth Park
The spirit of Center City District SIPS continues with drink specials every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visit the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin for $6 EFFEN Vodka cocktails, $5 wine and $4 Bud Light drafts.
Tinsel Pop-Up Bar
116 S. 12th Street, Philadelphia
Tinsel is Philadelphia’s only local-designed Christmas pop-up bar located in a 100+ year former jewelry shop. Tinsel passes the baton from the sparkle of diamonds to now the twinkle of hundreds of holiday lights. Last year, Tinsel was full to capacity from the day it opened in early December until the day it closed on New Year’s Day. This year, Tinsel expands days of the week, hours of operation, bar space and square footage. Come in for holiday-themed cocktails, an incredible playlist by DJ Robert Drake, and festive décor everywhere you look.
901 N Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia
Craft Hall is Philadelphia’s largest family-friendly restaurant, beer hall and craft maker space. To celebrate the season, it will be transformed into a winter wonderland with a 20+ foot tall holiday tree, twinkling lights, decorations, ornaments and other festive vibes. Santa will be in town on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids can take a “Selfie with Santa” in the Craft Hall Library by the Christmas tree. (Bring your phone/ camera.) Family fun also includes craft and ornament making kits available for $5. Entertainment, food specials, winter cocktails and other surprises will be announced. Decorations will remain up through New Years, but activities for Christmas at Craft Hall end on Sunday, December 22. Tip: If you have the kids with you, you’ll want to grab a table by the indoor playground!
12 Days of Christmas Pop-Up Holiday Bar
12 South 20th Street, Philadelphia (rooftop of Farmer’s Keep)
Enjoy a festive night out at this year’s new pop-up holiday bar located at the new outdoor area of Farmer’s Keep. Decked out in Christmas decorations and offering delicious craft cocktails, beers, and wines, it’s a great spot to get in the holiday mood. The upstairs rooftop bar will boast a large Christmas tree, with space heaters (and hot drinks) to keep guests warm. The exciting drink specials include holiday-themed cocktails such as Peppermint Dream (vanilla vodka, creme de cocoa, peppermint schnapps, pomegranate grenadine) and Christmas Coquito (spiced run, coconut, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla). Open every Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 a.m. now through Sunday, December 22
116 Market Street, Philadelphia
This old-fashioned ice cream and soda shop is a summer favorite, but this 2019 Happening List Winner also offers plenty of sweet treats for colder weather. The winter menu is offered October through February with special items such as European Drinking Chocolate, Wilbur’s Hot Cocoa, their own line of Hot Sodas and their specialty – Hot Milkshakes. The Toasted Marshmallow Malted is a consistent favorite made with vanilla ice cream, malt powder, fluffy marshmallow and melted bittersweet chocolate. It’s served hot with a house-made graham cracker, toasted marshmallow and chocolate.
Tip: You can also visit the Franklin Fountain’s Confectionery Cabin at Blue Cross RiverRink at the Waterfront for ice cream, hot chocolate and other sweets during the holidays.
8101 Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia
Gallo’s has been serving some of the area’s freshest seafood since 1966 and was voted our 2019 Philly Happening List Winner for Seafood. For a special holiday experience (for a good cause) purchase tickets for their annual Feast of the 7 Fishes on December 16 at 5:30 p.m. In the Italian-American Christmas tradition, enjoy 7 unique fish dishes along with wine. The event will honor special guests US Attorney Bill McSwain, Montgomery County GOP Chairwoman Liz Harvey and FOP President John McNesby. All proceeds benefit the FOP Survivor’s Fund. Purchase tickets (they start at $75) online at this link.
408 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia
Enjoy a night out with the family, meet up with friends for drinks, or host a special holiday celebration. Xochitl is our 2019 Philly Happening List Winner for Mexican food. Tip: A few specials include 15% off meatless dishes on Mondays, $5 off all taco orders on Tuesdays, all-day Happy Hour on Sundays (plus 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.)
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
1428-1432 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
With indulgent holiday dishes such as prime rib, dry-aged steak, and a Wagyu tasting option, Del Frisco’s is always a popular choice for upscale dining during the holidays. It was also our 2019 Happening List Winner for Late Night Dining, Happy Hour and Specialty Cocktail. So there are plenty of reasons to visit this season!
Evil Genius Beer Company
1727 N Front St, Philadelphia
Stop by the Evil Genius Beer Garden this holiday season to see it transformed into a little winter wonderland. Enjoy a delicious beer, hot cider or hot wine while picking out your Christmas Tree from Front Street Trees. Seasonal favorites include Naughty or Nice – a Belgian spiced ale and Santa! I Know Him! – Festive Saison – a Saison brewed with rose hips, chamomile, black currants and dark Belgian candi syrup. At 7.2%, this one will keep you warm on those cold winter nights!
On Sunday, December 8th, Evil Genius hosts their annual Santa .5K (run around the block). Tickets are $30, and all proceeds benefit sponsoring a local family and giving them the Christmas everyone should have. Your $30 ticket includes two beers at The Lab @ Evil Genius, a swag bag, a Santa hat, and a beer koozie! Get tickets here.