It's not that you hate them. When several sects of your family hierarchy descend Griswold-style on a single-family home, it is a joyous occasion for sure. Family gatherings are rare opportunities to measure ourselves against our genetic equivalents, to note, perhaps even out loud, that in comparison to cousin Johnny, you didn't turn out that bad.
But as warm and fuzzy as things can be, a three-bedroom home filled with 25 relatives can get somewhat claustrophobic. When your uncle's Rottweiler parks beside the couch with a case of the turkey farts, or when the kids in the house commandeer the television to watch the ninth Christmas special that day, you can really use a drink or seven to take the edge off.
Get out of the house and into a bar. It's the only way to maintain that warm, joyous Christmas spirit.
Ships Lounge (1613 Greenville Ave). It's been a few years since I penned an ode to Ships Lounge. Ships opens at its regularly scheduled time of 10 a.m. both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and they always do something special for the holidays.
Lakewood Landing (5818 Live Oak). I haven't done official research on this, but it appears Lakewood Landing has received the most Best Of awards here at the Observer. The list includes: Best Beer Joint, Best Juke Box, Best Home Away From Home, Best Dive Bar, Best Overheard Conversation, and most recently, the Best Bartender. So, Best of Everything Ever will be open regular hours Christmas Eve and at 8 p.m. Christmas Day.
While at Lakewood Landing, if you need to stretch your legs, waddle around the corner to Cosmo's Bar and Lounge (1212 Skillman St.). Apparently we don't have a category for best light fixtures and lampshades or this place would clean house. Additionally, it's dark, comfy and there are many good tunes on the jukebox. Cosmos will let you in at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
If you'd like to tip your hat to the English for taking that whole religious-oppression thing so seriously, head out to the British-inspired Ten Bells Tavern (232 W. 7th St.) in the Bishop Arts District. The kitchen is closed both days but the bar at Ten Bells Tavern will pour its first pint at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and 6 p.m. on Christmas Day
A close runner-up in the Best of in the general dark bar categories, The Libertine (2101 Greenville Ave), will be closed Christmas Eve, but will open at 7 p.m. Christmas Day with a full kithen
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And don't forget Cliff's Bar and Grill (3403 McKinney Ave.) -- the bar and grill formally known as The Loon. The new location on McKinney Avenue will open for business both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at 11 a.m.
The Fillmore Pub (1004 E. 15th St., Plano). Because people in Plano need to get out too. So we hear, anyway. The Fillmore Pub has a lot of local craft beer, including Peticolas' Velvet Hammer, Revolver Brewing and an entire book of others. They'll gladly pour you a pint during normal hours on Christmas Eve and from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Christmas Day.