NEW YORK - Between the decked-out windows on Fifth Avenue and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the holiday season in New York City is really centered around Christmas, but one bartender hopes to add some Jewish flare.
Jewish people are not few and far between in this city, but Hanukkah-themed activities and bars are. Many Jews grew up quietly loving the coziness of Christmas during the holiday season and now the Maccabee Bar in the West Village is filling that void.
Noami Levy is the founder.
"I wanted to create something like this because I love Christmas," Levy said. "It’s such a fun time of year, but I didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas, so I always felt like a tourist."
Her feelings resonate with many Jewish people, so she transformed Ollie Bar on Downing Street into Hanukkah hysteria with a giant menorah, dreidels galore, and unique holiday-inspired drinks.
It’s a natural feat for someone who was named Boston’s best bartender by Boston Magazine in 2019.
Levy opened two Maccabee Bar locations in Boston and this is the second year that the New York City location is operating.
They have nine signature cocktails – one for every candle on the menorah – and they’re all centered around the holiday. On the menu, you’ll find cocktails named Oy, Wat A Night and Jewish Christmas.
"People can expect lot of merriment, a lot of good time, really fun themed cocktails," Levy added. "There’s of course going to be Latkes."
They sell both regular latkes and sweet potato latkes with your pick of applesauce or sour cream to dip it in.
You can also try your luck spinning some dreidels at a chance to score some gelt, or gold chocolate coins.
With the current conflict in the Middle East, she hopes this brings light during a dark time so that all customers can think to themselves:
"'I can be in a space that’s all about love and acceptance and people of all backgrounds coming together to just celebrate a different side of the season," Levy said.
The Maccabee Bar is open until December 31 and reservations are made on Resy.