Rolf’s Must-See Holiday Lights, Big Beers and More
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to wear sunglasses indoors without looking like a total douche, German restaurant and bar Rolf‘s just might be it. It’s basically like a giant monster ate all of the world’s holiday decorations and threw them up all over this tiny restaurant in an adorably tacky way that will blind you slightly, but also make you burst with holiday cheer.
First, I want to be straight: Rolf’s is not a cheap spot. Although considered an institution for some since it opened in the 60s, their German food has been getting mixed reviews since it recently turned into a French-German cuisine-themed restaurant. Since entree prices float around the mid-$20s for standard fare like Schnitzels and Wurst platters and and I’m pretty picky about my Bavarian grub, I would personally recommend sticking to the authentic German beer selection (includes Hofbrau, Weihenstephaner, Radeberger and more) or a mulled wine, which is called “Gluhwein” and sounds way more macho in German in case you’re a self-conscious dude, and then heading somewhere else for eats. However, usually during the early part of the week, they’ll offer up a fixed price menu for $20 that includes a drink, soup and an entree which is definitely worth a try to decide what you think about their food for yourself.
So, back to why I do think you should go there. Every year around the holidays, Rolf’s “let’s try to cover every square inch of this place with bulbs, lights and random dolls that don’t really seem holiday-oriented but what the hell let’s throw them up anyways” decor is worth a must-see reputation alongside standards like the Macy’s windows or Rockefeller Center. And having grown up around communities so obsessed with holiday lights they can actually charge people to drive around and look at them, I am automatically in love with a place where I can drink a good, big beer AND get my dazzle fix all at once. Even if I have to wear sunglasses.
281 Third Ave (at 21st Street)