Ten Fireside Bars
Ten fireside wine-and-cocktail bars that should be at the top of your winter hit list.
If the closest thing you have to a fireplace is the Yule Log on TV, prepare to crank up the heat. These 10 fireside wine-and-cocktail spots should be at the top of your winter hit list. From a historic former blacksmith’s shop with two hearths serving eclectic, international wines, to a chic hotel lobby that boasts books, booze and billiards by its roaring fire, Wine Enthusiast knows where you can warm your toes and get your sip on.
Guests at Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont—a Relais & Châteaux resort set on 300 scenic acres—can choose from an astounding 20,000-bottle wine collection, with selections from all over the world (but a particular focus on wines from France and California). That includes imbibers at The Pub looking to warm up in the dead of winter—the property’s 24/7 onsite bar offers a grand piano, dart board and pool table, but it’s main draw is an oversized stone fireplace, the perfect place to enjoy a glass of vino or the nightly special cocktail, which incorporates ingredients culled that day from the property’s onsite farm.
A local favorite for its drink specials and live music three nights per week, guests also enjoy spectacular Montana sunsets over Whitefish Lake while sipping local Black Star draft beer, one of 18 wines by the glass available, or expertly made cocktails (the Moscow mule comes in a copper mug). In the winter, which tends to dip down to the low 20s, you’ll want to arrive early to score a plush leather seat by the crackling stone fireplace.
Saddle up to the full-service bar inside the Carriage House Great Room at this charming country inn, located near Middleburg, Virginia—the epicenter of the state’s wine-and-horse country; its solid cherry wood accents, leather seats and fieldstone fireplace create a sense of warmth in the midst of winter. Guests can order off of a wine list stocked with 30 Virginia wines or cocktails made with estate-grown ingredients, and sink into a plush sofa set in front of the fire.
Fancy a good read and a refined drink by the fire? Look no further than the Hudson Library Bar, Reminiscent of an old English-style club, this hot spot in the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan’s Midtown West neighborhood offers high ceilings, dark wood paneling and an array of edgy Taschen books you can pull the shelf. But the main attraction is a huge working fireplace, where you can cozy up with a cold-weather cocktail, like The New Manhattan, aged in charred American oak barrels for five weeks. And if you don’t feel like reading, shoot pool on the 75-year-old billiard table instead.
Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s sleek, clubby restaurant near Times Square boasts showy touches, like striking red leather banquettes and an oversized, 18th-century French fireplace—a fitting décor given the space’s theatrical history. The building served as a home to the Lambs, the country’s first professional theatrical club, who took their name from essayist and theater critic Charles Lamb. And if you’re playing the role of chilled imbiber in need of a dram, select from 65 warming whiskies and more than 30 wines by the glass. Don’t miss the aptly named Autumn Bonfire cocktail to enjoy fireside—it’s made with mezcal, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg whites, cinnamon and nutmeg—all the right spices for a cold winter’s night in the big city.
Secret drinking dens may be a dime a dozen in Manhattan, but this hidden bar, tucked away in a nondescript part of the Iroquois Hotel, is truly one of a kind. You’ll feel like you’ve wandered into some chic Parisian salon, complete with Impressionist paintings, black wood touches and bistro-style four tops. The drinks are serious (think classic cocktails of the 19th and 20th centuries), the atmosphere intimate—there’s room for just 30—so come early to snag a seat by the gas-powered fireplace and unwind with a drink off the Nightcap list. The Midnight Stinger, which features Bourbon, Fernet-Branca and lemon, won’t leave you out in the cold.
Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 168-room luxury resort, which opened in 2013 in the heart of Virginia wine country, has strong equestrian ties: It offers multiple equine-themed experiences for guests, including trail rides and grooming clinics, so it’s fitting that the property’s Gold Cup Wine Bar serves up an array of wines by the glass alongside several riding-themed cocktails that can be enjoyed by its roaring fire. The Break Maiden—which refers to when a horse or rider wins a race for the first time—is just the right drink for breaking out of the winter doldrums, an enlivening mix of Bulleit Rye, Godiva white-chocolate liqueur, Baileys and espresso.
While guests of this Gilded Age-styled hotel in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village may prefer to stake out seats by the fireplace in the hotel’s chic lobby, wine lovers should warm up by the gas fireplace topped with a marble mantle inside Grape & Vine, the property’s wine-focused, market-driven restaurant. Seventeen domestic-and-international wines are offered by the glass and there is also a long list of custom cocktails, including Lucky 13—a concoction of Old Overholt Rye, Calvados and Green Chartreuse that’s sure to make you thaw out.
You’ll find more than just a cozy fireplace at the Lobby Bar inside the Mandarin Oriental in Boston: It also acts as a culinary hot spot, featuring on-trend pop ups that dish out steaming plates of Thai curry, Vietnamese pho or sweet treats from Oralia’s Cake Shoppe. Those who prefer to just imbibe by the fire can order from an extensive cocktail menu. Don’t miss the Warm & Cozy, made with Licor 43, Clement Rhum Créole Shrubb, a double-shot Americano and chocolate shavings. It’s served in a snifter, perfect for perking up on a cold Northeastern evening.
Zak Pelaccio has spearheaded some of the country’s fieriest kitchens—The French Laundry, Daniel and Fatty Crab—but his latest venture in Hudson, New York, boasts a different kind of heat. Diners can order a glass of wine from the restaurant’s expansive, eclectic wine list to enjoy in front of a salvaged brick and stone fireplace. The building, which is a 19th century-era structure with two hearths (formerly a blacksmith’s shop), has been lovingly restored, and the rustic aesthetic fits the cuisine on hand, so don’t miss a chance to dine after you’ve scored a fireside libation.