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Holiday cheer

Cold beers, hot toddies, tinsel and snow: Austin's best year-round holiday hideaways

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Lala's is decorated for Christmas year round.
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The Mohawk, decked out with Lone Star Beer. Courtesy of The Mohawk

Congratulations, you survived Christmas. But in this slow and final week of 2011, you might need to curb the post-holiday blues with a cold beer (or hot toddy) in a well-decorated winter wonderland.

If so, you’re in the right town: We’re lucky that some of our favorite watering holes embrace all things tinsel and fake snow, some even year-round.

Lala’s

When I asked for opinions on favorite holiday bars, Lala’s was hands down the winner, and for good reason. This little nugget, tucked into a strip mall on the outskirts of kitschy Crestview, celebrates Christmas year-round.

Legend says that Lala’s has been outfitted with Santas since the 1970s, never taken down because the owner’s lover didn’t return home from war. Whether or not its true, the holiday décor is definitely old — could have easily come from my grandparents’ house — and well-loved by regulars year-round. Grab a couple close friends and settle into Lala’s Little Nugget for a couple whiskeys on a long winter's night.

Donn’s Depot

Donn’s is pretty magical any time of year (so many sequined tops on so many dancers!), but during December, it’s an even more fantastic destination. The converted depot offers the same piano-driven musical performances, all dressed up in plenty of tinsel and holly.

The Station Masters are playing three more times this week (including Friday, December 30 and New Year’s Eve), and it’s definitely worth a $3.00 cover to catch them during the holidays. When else do you get the chance to shuffle around the dance floor to a cover of  "Blue Christmas?"

The Mohawk

A contemporary Christmas hideaway, Red River’s The Mohawk makes use of Lone Star Beer cans and mounted game to put a Texas spin on holiday décor. Unfortunately it's too late for their mistletoe lounge this season (it made an appearance at their Holiday Ho-down), but you can still catch the holiday spirit at the ‘hawk.

On Dec. 28, you can even participate in a gift exchange at their Xmas Leftover Party. If you ask me, it’s the perfect excuse for swapping that lame towel for some cans of beer (and post-Christmas cheer) next to a cozy fire.

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