Rudolph gets enough attention. This year, the other reindeer are being given their due at Donner & Blitzen's Reindeer Lounge in New York City.
The East Village bar, in the former No Malice Palace space, livens up the block with an explosion of holiday decor, a cheery Christmas soundtrack and more couches than an IKEA showroom. But with a menu of bona fide cocktails, there's no need to hide behind holiday gimmicks.
Bartender Sarah Boisjoli, of Estela and Café Altro Paradiso, brings the eggnog-laden menu—which is presented inside a Christmas card—to life. Our favorites include the vermillion Campari-raspberry Rudolph's So Bitter and the Elf Nog, a fernet, crème de menthe, cocoa-dusted number that tastes like a liquified Andes mint. Which, by the way, you'll receive when you get your check.
There's gourmet grilled cheese, should you need a break from your December diet of Christmas cookies, and beer and wine options to round out the menu. Happy hour is on weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m., when you can get a $4 Narragansett to go with your candy cane shot.
Festive blankets and pillows make you feel at home, not like you're part of some red-and-green exhibit. And despite the endless string lights, the team is particularly proud of the 1980s candle votives they found in a shop on the Bowery.
The bar is open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, because even Santa needs to let loose sometimes, and opens at noon so you can admire the mural out back from Off the Wall's Paul Nassar, a reindeer riff on Dogs Playing Poker. Get there before January 1, when the retro Santa-shaped twinkle lights go back into storage and the bar transitions to the reopening of No Malice Palace.
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