Despite the pandemic, The Royale is bringing a little extra cheer to St. Louis this season. Owner Steve Smith's Tower Grove South tavern is helping its customers celebrate the holidays, whether they want to do so in the comfort of their own homes or at The Royale, safely.

Smith has turned his bar's courtyard into nothing short of a winter wonderland, decked out with lights and recognizable Christmas characters like The Grinch and, on a creepier note, Krampus. You'll also find plenty of lights, reindeer and even a version of a nativity scene, all thanks to one of his bartenders, Tara Phelan, and her sister, Angela Moore, who Smith hired to deck the halls. 

"I definitely feel that people are in the market for some good holiday cheer," Smith says. "I've never been excited about putting up Christmas decorations starting in October, I never thought I'd be one of those people, but here you go."

COVID-19 protocols are being followed at the bar, including social distancing, and Smith has even had a new heat system installed to help keep people cozy without needing to enclose the patio. But, even so, he thinks that since people will venture outside to do things like look at holiday lights, they might feel inclined to come have a holiday cocktail. And some of those drinks are just as festive at The Royale's patio; they include a hot chocolate with Green Chartreuse, hot buttered rum and, of course, The Royale's signature eggnog. 

This year, Smith has also bottled his eggnog so that you can take some cheer home with you. It's made with "milk, eggs, booze, spices and love," according to The Royale's online shop, and is available in bottles starting at 7 ounces and going up to one full liter. You can also pick it up as a part of two gift baskets alongside either a housemade hot cocoa mix or bitters made from herbs and spices from The Royale's own garden. 

And for those who want to do a little more holiday shopping, The Royale is hosting a socially-distanced holiday winter market on Sat., Dec. 12 from noon to 9pm. There will be music, food and plenty of local makers to shop from, masks and all. 

Editor's note: This post has been updated to add Angela Moore's name.

The Royale, 3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd., Tower Grove, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.772.3600, theroyale.com