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Merry meals, cups of good cheer 

Hot spots to do your holiday tipping

For most of us, the week leading up to the holidays is a very broke week indeed. If you've done your shopping, there's barely any change left in your pocket; if you're waiting until the last minute, you've got to keep your loot on tight surveillance. But I think that everyone should treat themselves to a festive night out, if for no other reason than to help out the bartenders and servers who deserve festive tips as well. So in that spirit of giving, check out these nightspots with great menus in the next week:

Rooney's at 90 Henrietta Street has the best holiday vibe around. Deep and dark with angelic lighting, it's hard not to get into the spirit. Sit at the beautiful bar and try one of the wines from the extensive list, like the 2001 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, NapaValley.

For another first-class joint check out Tournedos at the Inn on Broadway; this is an expansive restaurant, but tucked in the back is the quiet bar with live piano tunes on the weekends. Enjoy some of the restaurant's appetizers and curl up in the comfy chairs with a cognac.

If you're looking for a louder, more populated and upbeat atmosphere check out 2 Vine on Winthrop. On the weekend it's the go-to place before hitting A-Street or East Ave; a large crowd of people you may or may not want to see consumes the bar area.

Remember, in the holiday season please tip well and feign the holiday spirit even if you're a scrooge at heart --- it's much more attractive. Have a happy holiday everyone!

LastweekCity ran a story on the sale of Milestones, and soon-to-be-former owner Mike O'Leary's plans to open the Temple Bar and Grille on the site of the Eastman Lounge. Here are some more details: current renovations are being made to add a kitchen to the old Lounge location, and to make the place into something altogether different. According to O'Leary, "We're planning on serving light fare, great soups, sandwiches, and of course late-night bar food." Here's hoping that the Temple Bar will be a success; there can never be too many locations serving late-night grub. Once it gets going Temple Bar and Grille will start serving lunches as well, which will add another option for the East Avenue crowd. O'Leary says, "We're looking to make this a high-energy and fun place." We all should look forward to it.

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