There is a lot to embrace this holiday season – some of it fun, some of it peaceful, some of it fucking insane. For those seeking to set themselves apart from the tradition of “losing it” for the holidays, here are some fun and inviting places to sit it out the next several weeks.

5. M&M Restaurant and Lounge

  First on the list, M&M Restaurant and Lounge is not a party place – well, not the restaurant in any case. What M&M has is charm, and real good food. It doesn’t feel right calling M&M “divey,” because really, most divey restaurants are cruising on the term, but M&M is the kind of place where you can go for the “pie of the day” or one cup of coffee refilled continuously, over inane jargon with friends. Not to mention, the food is fantastic, not the least of which is the double-decker Reuben sandwich (it’s not called “the double decker” – don’t order it that way, or you’ll sound like an idiot).

Seasonal Specials: M&M will be hosting an all-you-can-eat buffet-style event from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

4. Café Delirium

  Café Delirium is a pleasant combination of a real coffee shop, and a real coffee shop that embraces flushy-fun seasonal beverages: good for black coffee and spiced cups of pumpkin syrup. The environment is also swell. Café Delirium goes big on atmosphere, not the least of which is during the holidays. With live music on occasion, and featured art from local photographers and the like.

Seasonal Specials: caramel lavender bouquet latte

3. The Local Cow

  I’ve made the case before that Local Cow has the best burger. Take it or leave it, Local Cow makes one hell of a burger. The staff is fantastic, and the food is unmatched in the area. Their burgers are a perfect balance of new, exciting, and, somehow, traditional. Their fries are also incredible. Pro tip: When ordering any burger, order with “cow fries.” This is about as much of a “pro tip” as ordering your drink large if you want a big one – it is part of the ordering process. Nonetheless, their “cow fries” are a thing of beauty.

Seasonal Specials: The Local Cow is far too casual to have anything official planned just yet, but historically you could expect a special that features a “cranberry chutney” or something to that effect.

2. The Hoppy Brewer

   One of the beautiful features of Local Cow is that it shares an outdoor space with The Hoppy Brewer. Hoppy Brewer offers a wide range of beers, including some heavier winter specials, such as the chocolatey Rogue Rolling Thunder, or Crux’s Ale. The environment is inviting and comfortable, often decorated with all of the holiday swag. Additionally, Hoppy hosts live music nearly every Friday and most Saturdays.

Seasonal Specials: More of an event, Hoppy will be hosting the Tim Paxton Quartet for “The Spirit of Christmas Jazz” from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25.

1. Pie Vs Pie

    Pie Vs Pie has one of the most welcoming and warm environments. Simplicity is key here; the layout is rustic but familiar. There aren’t any crazy experimental pies, nor any complex sides. Guests can order from a list of pies, upon which they will be asked “Warmed?” and “Side of ice cream?” That is it. Where Pie Vs Pie thrives isn’t in a unique or exotic atmosphere and menu that alienates its visitors, but rather in nostalgia done well. Also, the pie is fantastic. I feel I am mistakenly underselling how fantastic the pie is with this focus on the environment – but damn, so good.

Seasonal Specials: pumpkin pie

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