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The Restaurants That Jingle All The Way

The best places for music with your meal in London, New York and Paris

  • Photograph courtesy of Bistrotheque

The run up to Christmas can seem like a treadmill. The parties, the shopping, the endless procession of relatives popping in to pick up presents and generally make a nuisance of themselves. It can all too often seem, well, a little endless, as though you are an actor in someone else’s play. By the middle of the month, Christmas cheer can seem to be in short supply. So, unless you want to be known as the Man Who Killed Christmas this year, take some time for yourself and visit one of the many bars and restaurants that will be serving food and drink with a side of live Christmas music this year. If Christmas jazz at the Café Carlyle or carols at Le Bristol doesn’t get you in the mood for a little peace and joy to all men, then we don’t know what will.

The Django, New York

  • Photograph courtesy of The Django

If you are in need of some relief after a day of pounding the pavement on your Christmas rounds in New York, then get yourself down to the basement of the Roxy Hotel in Tribeca, where you’ll find this delightful cave-like jazz club, modelled on the boîtes of Paris, offering craft cocktails such as the rather lethal absinthe-based Free Man in Paris, a selection of small plates (we love the mini lobster rolls) and live music. Expect traditional Christmas jazz along with modern rock’n’roll Christmas songs throughout December. Check the schedule to find the bands playing that week. Runs from Tuesday through Saturday and booking is advised.

To order: beef tartare made with hand-chopped raw strip steak, organic egg yolk and served with shoestring potatoes

What to wear

  • Alex Mill Button-Down Collar Gingham Double-Faced Cotton-Flannel Shirt

  • Nudie Jeans Skinny Lin Organic Stretch-Denim Jeans


Spiritland, London

  • Photograph courtesy of Spiritland

Behind London’s King’s Cross station you’ll find one of the most exciting live music venues-cum-restaurants in the capital. Doubling as a recording studio with its own radio station, this retro-looking hang-out is a muso’s dream (Pulp alumni Messrs Steve Mackey and Jarvis Cocker have hosted nights here). But don’t expect dancing and singalongs, this is really a place to quietly enjoy decent tunes while having a craft beer and some cocktails from a puntastic list worthy of the NME at its heyday (To Pimms A Butterfly, Channel Orange) as well as sharing plates in the evening. Spiritland’s December schedule includes seasonal evenings from Jonny Trunk’s Christmas Special and A Very Severino Christmas.

To order: burratina, peas, aged Datterini tomatoes, basil

What to wear

  • visvim Hand Painted Cotton-Blend Twill Shirt

  • Prada Padded Shell Bomber Jacket


Le Bristol, Paris

  • Photograph by Mr Eric Deniset, courtesy of Le Bristol

This hotel certainly goes all out for Christmas, transforming itself into a winter wonderland complete with an enchanted forest of fir trees, pine scents and a horse-drawn carriage to whisk guests around the City of Light. Its all-day dining restaurant Café Antonia is perfect for afternoon tea and will host a children’s choir every Sunday of Advent. Other restaurants include Epicure and 114 Faubourg (the hotel boasts four Michelin stars across two restaurants), where chef Mr Éric Fréchon crafts continental festive menus. Then when you’re after a drink, hit the couture cocktail lounge where there is a live DJ from Tuesdays to Saturdays, or the elegant piano bar in the library where you can listen to live Christmas standards.

To order: duck foie gras with mulled wine and spiced jelly, orange and quince confit at 114 Faubourg

What to wear

  • Boglioli Brown Slim-Fit Unstructured Stretch-Cotton Twill Suit Jacket

  • Viberg Pebble-Grain Leather Derby Shoes


Sketch, London

  • Photograph courtesy of Ms Dio Davies

The perennially flamboyant restaurant has gone all out for Christmas with a series of light installations by the artist Mr Chris Levine called “Silent Light” and a special Christmas afternoon tea, which includes festive treats such as a choice of two bûche de noëls (Yule logs). Sketch also has not one but two London choirs on hand to sing festive hymns while you take tea in the Gallery.

To order: Christmas afternoon tea

What to wear

  • Enlist Printed Cotton-Poplin Shirt

  • Joseph Anderson Grosgrain-Trimmed Cotton-Twill Chinos


Café Carlyle, New York

  • Photograph courtesy of The Carlyle

This intimate venue celebrates jazz’s golden past nightly with its live cabaret and roster of luminaries, including Ms Laura Benanti, Mr Alan Cumming and Ms Judy Collins. The music-themed wall murals by Mr Marcel Vertès provide an evocative backdrop for the classic New York bistro menu (and probably a bit of celebrity spotting too, Mr Woody Allen sometimes drops by). In December, expect the band to knock out smooth Christmas jazz at this New York institution with a deservedly big rep.

To order: pan-seared striped sea bass with shaved fennel, artichoke barigoule, tiger prawns, lobster broth

What to wear

  • Dries Van Noten Navy Banks Double-Breasted Pinstriped Cotton and Linen-Blend Suit Jacket

  • John Smedley Norland Cashmere and Silk-Blend Sweater


Bistrotheque, London

  • Photograph courtesy of Bistrotheque

Few restaurants embrace Christmas quite like fashion-crowd favourite, Bistrotheque. As well as opening on 25 December, the east London restaurant brings the festive cheer during the weeks leading up to the big day. This week sees the Choir Christmas Concerts take place. Led by Bistrotheque’s musical director Mr Xavior Roide, the choral pop will explore the themes of “visitation, creation, and birth in three movements – hearth, flow, release”. We’re not altogether sure what that means either, but we have heard Mr Roide playing piano at Saturday and Sunday brunch (where he drops in some Christmassy numbers throughout December), so we are sure it’s going to be top-notch. With the industrial, white open space making it the perfect setting for some Yuletide tunes, expect a fun, hip crowd taking in the French-influenced menu and singing along with an espresso martini or two.

To order: pressed lamb, Jerusalem artichokes, pickled radicchio, pine nut and raisin dressing

What to wear

  • CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC Stripe-Trimmed Cashmere Sweater

  • Maison Margiela Tapered Wool-Flannel Drawstring Trousers


Our Secret Santa Selection

  • Taschen David Bowie: The Man Who Fell to Earth Hardcover Book

  • Claus Porto Spiced Citrus Soap on a Rope, 190g

  • Haeckels Seaweed / Geranium Hand Balm, 50ml

  • Le Labo Eau de Parfum Discovery Set, 5 x 1.5ml

  • Anonymous Ism Jacquard-Knit Socks

  • Saint Laurent Grained-Leather Billfold Wallet