The line between restaurant and bar can be hard to distinguish, but it’s easy to see why places in this category are so appealing right about now.

As December ticks closer to the new year, it's crunch time for all those plans to get together during the holidays.

You should make it happen. It feels good when you do. Outings to socialize and reconnect with friends have a way of stretching time, adding a different kind of fulfillment between the family gatherings and assorted obligations that fill our “free time” at the holidays. 

Meeting out relieves the pressure to make it a big to-do. The restaurant that feels like a bar and the bar that can reasonably double as a restaurant are the right kind of venues for get-togethers like this.

Here are a few in my wheelhouse right now, arranged by neighborhood and with happy hours noted where applicable.