December is party time at many Southern Californa restaurants. They dial up the holiday atmosphere to ensure that people come in to eat, drink and be merry.
Bars and taprooms are getting into the act, often celebrating the kitschy side of the season.
Ballast Point Brewing Co. and Tipsy Elves have partnered on an ugly Christmas sweater for surfers. (Photo courtesy of Ballast Point Brewing Co.)
Red Lobster is selling a Cheddar Bay Sleigh Ugly Sweater this holiday season. (Photo Red Lobster Seafood Co.)
Miracle, a holiday pop-up bar, serves cocktails in kitschy settings. (Photo courtesy of Miracle Bar)
Miracle creates a network of over-the-top bars during the holiday season. (Photo courtesy of Miracle Bar)
Visitors walk through the holiday decorations during the annual Mission Inn Hotel & Spa Festival of Lights celebration in downtown Riverside on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade lights up the waters in 2020. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Voices of Christmas perform carols in Victorian garb at Lawry’s Restaurants during the holiday season. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Stanley, Voices of Christmas)
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Here is a sampling of what eateries are into. Some of these events are already selling out, according to their web pages, so reservations are a good idea and sometimes required.
Pop-up bars provide seasonal ambiance and liquid cheer on select dates throughout the holiday season.
Among them is Miracle, which on its website promises “kitschy holiday décor, professionally developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party.”
It lines up locations internationally and has several throughout California this year, but only one in Southern California. It’s at the Ordinarie, a tavern at 210 The Promenade North, Long Beach. It runs Nov. 25-Dec. 30. Hours are noon-1 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, but most weekends are already booked, according to the tavern’s Instagram page. theordinarie.com, miraclepopup.com
Here and Now is the home of Blisten’s through Jan. 1. It’s at 300 S Santa Fe Ave. Suite N, Los Angeles. hereandnowdtla.com
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade takes place Dec. 14-18 and is visible from several restaurants near the water. Tour boat operator Davey’s Locker has a list. Among them is the Rusty Pelican, 2735 West Coast Highway, which books five-course meals throughout the run on Eventbrite. Prices are $634-$1,265. eventbrite.com
The Mission Inn & Spa’s Festival of Lights runs Nov. 25-Dec. 31 in downtown Riverside. During that time the exterior of the historical hotel is festooned with holiday lights and decorations and there will be entertainment, shopping and food vendors in surrounding streets.
The Inn will be illuminated through Jan. 6. It has several dining options, including the Mission Inn Restaurant and Las Campanas Mexican Cuisine & Tequila Bar, which have outdoor seating with views of the lights. riversideca.gov/fol
Lawry’s Restaurants will have Lawry’s Victorian carolers performing nightly in its steakhouses beginning Dec. 1.
They are The Prime Rib, 100 La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills; the Tam O’Shanter, 2980 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles; and the Five Crowns, 3801 E. Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar.
All three will be open Christmas Eve. Reservations begin 30 days in advance. lawrysonline.com
Vitello’s Restaurant, 4349 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, has holiday shows with cabaret, Broadway and TV stars such as Marilu Henner in Feinstein’s at Vitello’s Supper Club, a 120-seat venue. 818-769-0905, vitellosrestaurant.com
Scoundrels kidnap Santa and Mrs. Claus in “Pirates Take Christmas,” the holiday show at Pirates Dinner Adventure, 7600 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. Entrees include roasted chicken and pork, with vegetarian and vegan options and sliders for kids. Tickets start at $65.95 for adults and $38.95 for children 3-11. piratesdinneradventureca.com
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Maggiano’s Little Italy in South Coast Plaza will serve breakfast with Santa 8:30-11 a.m. Dec. 11. Tickets are $35-$40 at Eventbrite. eventbrite.com
Ballast Point Brewing Co. collaborated with holiday apparel company Tipsy Elves on a self-proclaimed ugly sweater. It features a skeletal Santa on a surfboard by the brewery’s resident designer Paul Elder, according to a news release.
The unisex garment comes in five sizes and costs $45. It’s available online and at its tasting rooms at 1540 S. Disneyland Drive, No. 201, Anaheim and 110 N. Marina Drive, Long Beach. ballastpoint.com
Red Lobster is offering an ugly sweater depicting its Cheddar Bay Biscuit riding in a sleigh. The garment is a cotton-polyester mix and costs $45. redlobstershop.com
Hops & Spokes Brewing Company in Yucaipa will hold an ugly sweater party with dueling pianos on Dec. 16. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m., followed by the show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40. The event is at 34324 Yucaipa Blvd, Suite A. hopsandspokes.com
A website called Pub Crawls lists several ugly sweater events throughout Southern California, although most are listed as sold out. Partygoers buy tickets online and get wristbands admitting them to participating bars. pubcrawls.com