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A table full of holiday-themed food including a fondue pot.
A display from Santa’s Detour
Heavy Restaurant Group

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Where to Eat and Drink Yourself Into a Holiday Haze in Seattle

Get jolly!

Harry Cheadle is the editor of Eater Seattle.

You better not pout, you better not cry, you can’t run, you can’t hide — the holiday season is here, and you might as well enjoy it. Fortunately there are a lot of ways to celebrate, whether that means sneering Grinch-like at the season with a drink in your hand, or getting all misty while watching your offspring experience gingerbread. And though Christmas (to be clear, we’re pretty much just talking about Christmas) means lots of different things to lots of different people, the best parts of it all involve food and drink, whether that means gluhwine, eggnog, Christmas-themed tropical cocktails, cookies, or fondue. Here are some holiday-themed pop-ups and specials happening throughout Seattle, which are free to enter unless noted otherwise:

Christmas bars

In recent years, Instagrammy Christmas-themed bar pop-ups have become popular as the adult versions of going to the mall to get your picture taken in Santa’s lap. The most famous nationwide pop-up is probably Miracle, which has once again appeared at Belltown’s Rob Roy. On the menu are drinks like the Christmapoliton, a cosmo variant that includes cranberry sauce and an absinthe mist, and the Yippee Ki Yay Mother F***er, a mai tai riff with ube and coconut orgeat (presumably, after you drink it you feel like you have a machine gun now, ho ho ho). If you’re in Tacoma, check out Busy Body, another Miracle location, which has the same menu. (Both Miracle pop-ups will run until Christmas.) If you want some tiki flavor, check out Navy Strength (from Rob Roy’s owners), which will be continuing its tradition of transforming into Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack, a delightful combination of syllables. Expect a line on popular nights.

If a view of actual surf is what you’re after, check out the Edgewater Hotel’s Merry Little Christmas Bar on the waterfront near Belltown, which includes Christmas cookies and gingerbread shots. And in Madison Valley, Kamp Social House is decked out extravagantly and is serving alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.

A statue of a Santa beneath a sign that says, “Christmas Dive Bar.”
The inside of the Christmas Dive Bar.
Tanner McLaughlin

For a slightly rougher around the edges vibe, there’s Christmas Dive Bar, which is taking over Capitol Hill’s the Woods until January. The cocktails there are simpler but still laden with traditional holiday flavors — the Fireside Old Fashioned adds marshmallow syrup to bourbon and bitters. The bar snacks are Christmas-themed too, including some crockpot little smokies. Like at any dive bar, there will be $6 Rainier tall boys and a High Life and Fireball $10 shot special if you want to get merry in a hurry.

A Willy Wonka–style chocolate factory structure made of gingerbread.
One of the gingerbread structures at the Sheraton Grand
Sheraton Grand

The bar at the Sheraton Grand Seattle downtown is doing a Christmas-themed bar called Jingle Bar, which has a seasonal menu plus live music on Fridays and Saturdays, but the real reason we’re mentioning the hotel is its elaborate Gingerbread Village, a collaboration between the hotel’s bakers, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and, no joke, actual architects. “The structures... use thousands of pounds of dough, hundreds of pounds of fondant, dozens of gallons of eggs, and over 150,000 pieces of candy, and over 10,000 hours to plan and build,” according to a press release.

Finally, there’s new bar pop-up courtesy of the Heavy Restaurant Group, which is billing Santa’s Detour in Fremont as “the best Christmas bar inside a construction zone.” Once you enter through Fiasco on Stone Way you can get a selection of nostalgic food like fondue and smoked clam dip alongside drinks like the Yippee-Ki-Yay Motherfluffer, which features mezcal, marshmellow, and mole bitters.

A spread of food and cocktails on a table. Heavy Restaurant Group

Makers’ Markets

At some point amid all the Die Hard-themed cocktails, you’ll have to buy gifts, and Seattle has a ton of pop-ups where you can do your shopping while still indulging yourself a little bit.

One cool option is the Winter Mercado at the El Lugar Bodega Bar on Capitol Hill, which will have goods from queer and BIPOC makers, plus drink specials in collaboration with Topo Chico. The market will be up on Sunday, December 10, from 4 to 8 p.m. A week later, there’s the Fair Isle Saison-a-Thon Holiday Vendors Market on December 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Ballard — note that that one is 21-plus because it’s inside the Fair Isle taproom.

For the last-minute shopper, West Seattle’s Lady Jaye is hosting a “meat market” on Tuesday, December 19 from 4 to 8 p.m., where there will be a DJ, a Santa, wagyu beef stew, a bar, and a ton of meat- and whiskey-based gifts.

A selection of chocolates shaped like golf balls, shoes, light bulbs, and Minions.
Just some of the stuff you can buy at the European Christmas Village
Harry Cheadle

WAIT we almost forgot the most publicized winter happening in all of Seattle, the Seattle Christmas Market at Seattle Center. Tickets are around $20 (kids six and under are free) and you have to reserve a timed entry slot, but there is genuinely a lot of stuff here, from the live music at the “pyramid” (a big wooden tree-like structure), plus a lot of gift and food vendors. Stuff you can buy here includes gluhwine (traditional German mulled wine), a stand selling chocolate in the shape of cameras and Minions (and other things), something called Pilgrim’s Roasted Nut’z, and more. The organizers deliberately avoided boring food like hamburgers and hot dogs in favor of things like raclette (a melted cheese dish from Switzerland), German Spatzel (mushroom stew) and Hungarian gulasch (slow-cooked beef in a bread bowl). More info can be found here.

Correction 12/3 2:42 p.m.: An earlier version of this article included the incorrect name of the Seattle Christmas Market.