It's that time of year again where the NYC streets will be filled with dressed up Santas. If you're unfamiliar with this celebratory day, Santacon is a charitable Santa Claus convention that happens once a year to spread holiday joy. This year it takes place on Saturday, December 14th starting at 10 a.m. Get out your dusty Santa hats and costumes, and get ready for one of the craziest days of the years in NYC. Kids go wild in their Santa gear. We're here to help you find the best bars to feel your best Santa self at. Follow us on @asemblco to keep up with where Santa will go.
BEST BARS TO EMBRACE YOUR INNER SANTA THIS SATURDAY
Most of the venues are luckily free to enter and have no cover, however, there are some "special venues" that require a $12 donation (since Santacon is technically for a charitable cause). Those spots usually have more to offer though, i.e. bigger and better decorations, a DJ, and other additional perks. Also at the places that require something to enter, you're usually given a SantaCon swag item to take home. Now let's get to the list of best bars to be at for SantaCon:
Special Santa Venues
Sony Hall Santa Spectacular (235 W 46th St)
The Ainsworth East (45 E 33rd St)
SOLAS (232 E 9th St)
230 Fifth Ave (230 5th Ave)
Clinton Hall 36 (16 W 36th St)
TAJ II (48 W 21st St)
SideBAR (118 E 15th St)
Slate NY (54 W 21st St)
Local NYC (W 33St & 8th Ave)
The Ainsworth Chelsea (122 W 26th St)
Lucy's Cantina Royal (34th St and 8th)
The Tailor (505 8th Ave)
Doux (59 W 21st St)
The VNYL (100 3rd Ave)
The Liberty (29 W 35th St)
The Pennsy (2 Penn Plaza)
5th and Mad (7 E 36th St)
East Village Venues
Phoenix Bar (447 E 13th St)
Nowhere Bar (322 E 14th St)
Doc Holliday's (141 Ave A)
Pink's (242 E 10th St)
Professor Thom's (219 2nd Ave)
Plug Uglies (256 3rd Ave)
Crocodile Lounge (325 E 14th St)
Coyote Ugly (153 1st Ave)
Vazac Horseshoe Bar (108 Ave B)
Juke Bar (196 2nd Ave)
Central Bar (109 E 9th St)
The Continental (25 3rd Ave)
Finnerty's (221 2nd Ave)
Machos NYC (118A E 15th St)
Stout Grand Central (60 E 41st St)
Blarney Stone (410 8th Ave)
Rattle 'n Hum West (309 W 39th St)
Feile (131 W 33rd St)
Stout NYC-Flagship (133 W 33rd St)
Bounce Sporting Club (55 W 21st St)
Brother Jimmy's BBQ (416 8th Ave)
Pennsylvania 6 (132 W 31st St)
Brother Jimmy's (181 Lexington Ave)
Blarney Rock (137 W 33rd St)
The Australian Bar (20 W 38th St)
American Whiskey (247 W 30th St)
Tempest (407 8th Ave)
Foleys NY (18 W 33rd St)
The Storehouse (69 W 23rd St)
Jack Doyle's (240 W 35th St)
John Sullivan's (210 W 35th St)
Rick's Cabaret (48 W 33rd St)
Hoops Cabaret (50 W 33rd St)
Slattery's Midtown (8 E 36th St)
American Hall (29 W 36th St)
The Hog Pit (37 W 26th St)
Public House NYC (140 E 41st St)
Peter Dillon's Pub (2 E 36th St)
Beer Authority (300 W 30th St)
Dewey's Pub (135 W 30th St)
Reichenbach Beer Hall (5 W 37th St)
The Keg Room NYC (53 W 36th St)
Playwright Irish Pub (27 W 35th St)
Karaoke City (22 W 32nd St)
Mustang Harry's (352 7th Ave)
Stone Creek Lounge (140 E 27th St)
Legends (6 W 33rd St)
Embrace the merriest time of the year in New York City! All the lights are going up, you see it on your walk home from work. You can't help but smile to the stranger you pass on the street because it's Christmas time and everyone seems to be in better spirits. Lights are glowing and you hear and feel the buzz of Christmas. You know going home for the holidays is just around the corner and long days at the office won't be so bad.... so why not have a little hop in your step?
We're going to help you find that hop in your step if you haven't got it yet. Starting with a roundup of all the jolliest events of the year. Start RSVPing to your favorites on asembl and share with your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. Holiday events are to be shared around.
It's the best time to be in NYC this week because you get to see all the Christmas lights go up. This Wednesday, 12/5, from 6-8pm, the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree takes place. You have to get there early so you can get a good spot. There will be live performances following the Christmas tree lighting that are festive, fun and bursting with festive spirit. Tell your friends to meet you there or go solo. This is the type of event only New Yorkers are blessed to be part of. Sign up here.
Another beautiful tree lighting will take place this Thursday, 12/5, at 6pm in Bryant Park. If you can't make it to the Rockefeller Tree Lighting, have no fear, this one at Bryant Park is pretty miraculous, full of winter wonderland vibes. Bring your friends, your kids, your mom, your great grandmother, because this event is filled with... wait for it...fireworks, Santa, ice skating, live music... should we go on? Sign up here.
At the 23rd Annual Central Park Holiday Lighting event you'll watch a live ice carving demonstration, sing carols on the Plaza, meet Santa and warm up with hot cocoa and cookies. This event takes place Friday, 12/5, at 5:30pm and is the perfect way to begin your weekend. It even includes lighting a flotilla of trees on the Harlem Meer. The light show will be spectacular, and you won't want to miss! RSVP here.
Do you secretly enjoy Christmas carols? This Friday, 12/7, at 7pm, there is a beautiful event on the Great Lawn in the Upper West Side that you just can't skip. You'll get to join in on the Christmas carols and enjoy delicious hot cider and cookies (for free!) Plus there will be a bunch of people going on the after dark Holiday Lantern Walk in the Park, a beautiful and scenic route that gives you more gulps of Christmas cheer. Share with festive friends, and get more info here.
Ring in the holiday spirit with the Chelsea Symphony's annual concert on Friday, 12/6, at 6pm. Ever been before? The symphony is a one-night special with festive music and fun traditions. There'll be a holiday concert silent auction and wine reception. Don't miss out on the performers! You'll be graced with award-winning composers and a special guest narrator. Sign up here.
The LuminoCity Festival on Randall's Island is an Immersive Wonderland of Lights that has three theme parks: Winter Fantasy, Wild Adventures, and Sweet Dream. There are over 23 sets of larger-than-life light art displays, a curated holiday night market and four special themed nights featuring live performances and interactive programming. This is the event to go to! And don't worry you have time to make it there. LuminoCity will be open until January 5th! Pick the best date for you and some friends. RSVP on asembl.
Did you love going to the Nutcracker during the holidays? Well then this might be the perfect event for you. Share the joy of the holidays with your loved ones, family or friends at the annual musical holiday stage show presented at Radio City Music Hall. It's a 90-minute show that features more than 140 performers and combines singing, dancing, and humor with traditional scenes. Find out more about it on the asembl app, and pick your date here.
Have fun caroling through this week into the weekend! Keep an eye on our "Holiday" category so you don't miss out on something extra special this holiday.
The New York Comedy Festival starts today...and there are a lot of events. Way too many to keep up with, so we thought we'd choose four each day that are particularly worth your attention. All the events are listed on the app so make sure you scroll through that to save your favorites.
But before we get to that, don't forget to get your tickets to The Assembly by asembl, the amazing show we're putting on at The Bell House on November 13 featuring Benito Skinner, Pat Regan, Sydnee Washington, Meg Stalter & Joe Castle Baker. Tickets are just $18 when you purchase on the asembl app but $25 if you get them on Eventbrite!
Monday, November 4
Tuesday, November 5
Wednesday, November 6
Thursday, November 7
Friday, November 8
Saturday, November 9
Sunday, November 10
New York's the capital of a lot of things, comedy very much among them. Here's our guide to the scene.
So those are the big ones in Manhattan if you're planning ahead. But there are tons more places where you can usually just walk in and there's so much talent in this town that the people you see will be amazing. Here's a few more choices:
Gotham Comedy Club, 241 E 24th (between 2nd & 3rd).
The Stand Comedy Club & Restaurant, 116 E 16th St, Ground Floor (between Irving Place & Union Square East).
New York Comedy Club, 241 East 24th Street (between 2nd & 3rd) & 85 East 4th Street (between 2nd & Bowery).
West Side Comedy Club, 201 West 75th Street (between Broadway & Amsterdam).
In other words, shallow South Brooklyn is the place if you want to see big names. But one of the best things about NYC (and this goes for basically all of the arts) is the number of super-talented people trying to get their break in smaller places that you can stroll into and pay almost nothing for. Here are our favorite Brooklyn spots for that:
The Gutter is, thankfully, a bowling alley bar instead of a place to lie down in the street that serves beer. It also hosts some terrific comedy shows. The highlight is Comedians You Should Know every Wednesday. $5 gets you entry and you'll see people who've been on the Daily Show, Conan, Colbert, etc.
The Gutter, 200 N. 14th Street (between Berry & Wythe, Williamsburg).
Two Boots is a venerable pizzeria with a few branches in town. The pizza is....fine. But every Tuesday, Sherm Jacobs hosts Ambush Comedy, which is free and you even get a free beer if you come between 8 & 8:30.
Two Boots, 558 Driggs Avenue (between 6th & 7th, Williamsburg).
The Knitting Factory started out as the greatest club for avant-garde jazz that ever was. Then, Nolita gentrified and they moved downtown. Then they realized that you can't make money off of avant-garde jazz and moved again to Williamsburg and more or less became a rock club. For a certain type of weirdo (of which this writer is one), that was a tragedy. But enough about that, the club is still great. More importantly, they've got comedy every Sunday and it's free.
The Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Avenue (between Havemeyer and, uh, Havemeyer, Williamsburg).