NYC’s 5 Best Bars For Holiday Shopping Breaks

December 13, 2012 1:00 PM

2011 Black Friday DL

Marking the start of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is one of retailers’ busiest days of the year. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

Holiday shopping along the streets of NYC can be overwhelming enough to make anyone consider doing all their gift-buying online. When the hustle and bustle of treasure hunting gets to be too much, head to one of these NYC bars for a refreshing drink when you’re shopping in SoHo, Herald Square, Union Square, the East Village or on Fifth Avenue.  By Selena Ricks-Good.
bermudatriangle NYCs 5 Best Bars For Holiday Shopping Breaks

(credit: Facebook/Lai Kai)

Between big-name chain stores and exclusive boutiques, SoHo is one hot shopping district. Take a break from the cold and enter the tropical scene at Lani Kai, a tiki bar and restaurant opened by cocktail maven Julie Reiner last year. After a few sips of Polynesian drinks like the Pacific Swizzle (rosehip-infused white rum, lemongrass and hibiscus tea, lime juice and passionfruit juice) or the Mai Tai (aged Martinique and Jamaican rums, toasted almond orgeat, lime juice and curacao), and you’ll think it’s Christmas in July in no time.

the breslin NYCs 5 Best Bars For Holiday Shopping Breaks

A few blocks from Macy’s, the Breslin at the uber-hip Ace Hotel offers a boisterous pub atmosphere serving meaty bites like stuffed pig’s foot and lamb burgers. Pair the British-inspired fare with crafty cocktails such as the Lust for Life (gin, lavender syrup, mint and lemon juice) or the Kingdom Come (blended Scotch whiskey, orange essence, black tea syrup, lemon juice and egg white).

the modern NYCs 5 Best Bars For Holiday Shopping Breaks

Credit: Modern

Between Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, FAO Schwarz and designer stores, Fifth Avenue is where the posh go to shop and everyone else goes for a glimpse of the holiday windows. If you’re in the area, take a detour to The Modern for a zen-like atmosphere and elegant drinks. Settle into the Bar Room and try The Heights (Ransom Gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, Ramazzotti, grapefruit juice and grapefruit bitters) or the Shot in the Dark (Cruzan Rum, allspice dram, lemon juice, ginger and Gosling’s Rum) for instant relief.

rye house NYCs 5 Best Bars For Holiday Shopping Breaks


The Union Square district offers plenty of shopping, including the holiday market tents. If you’re looking for a cozy spot to unwind nearby, head to Rye House for American grub and cocktails. Pull up a stool at the dark wood bar and try the 17th Street Sazerac (Whistlepig Rye, Landy VS Cognac, Peychaud’s bitters, Angostura bitters and an absinthe rinse) or chat up the friendly bartenders for their recommendations.

prima NYCs 5 Best Bars For Holiday Shopping Breaks


Make a pit stop at restaurant and cocktail bar Prima for lunch, dinner, drinks or coffee. Nosh on sardines rilettes or a hearty burger while you sip cocktails designed by Greg Seider of The Summit Bar such as the Mancini (Michter’s Rye, Meletti Amaro and smoked cinnamon bitters) or The Street (Zu Vodka, green apple puree, tarragon-infused agave, lemon juice and club soda).

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Selena Ricks-Good writes about drinks and produces events as The Dizzy Fizz.

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