The 9 Coziest Eateries for Wine Lovers
Cozy means many things to many people. Savoring a mug of mulled wine in front of a crackling fire. Sipping a glass of Port on a patio in the dead of winter. Pouring that excellent vintage you’ve been saving for the perfect occasion.
Whatever it means to you, these nine gourmet dens offer sips in settings decidedly cozier.
Former New York City chef Zakary Pelaccio’s Hudson Valley country lodge-meets-bordello features red velvet wallpaper, tufted furniture and brick fireplaces that occasionally house roasting game birds. The fixed menu changes weekly, based on what’s available locally and seasonally, and the excellent wine list focuses on “terroir expressive wines produced with minimal intervention.” The coziest day to visit is Sunday. The restaurant opens from 2–7 pm, with the idea that the best supper is a lazy mid-afternoon, wine-soaked meal that lingers into the evening, but doesn’t ruin Monday.
Stonehouse features a full bar, a dining room with a crackling fireplace, creek-side views and an ocean-view deck sporting a wood-burning fireplace and heated stone flooring. The seasonal fare features herbs and vegetables harvested from the on-site garden. An exhaustive wine list boasts over 2,000 labels from California, Bordeaux and Burgundy, with many hard-to-find selections. And did we mention the venison chop with salt-baked sunchokes, roasted asparagus, braised endive, kumquat preserves and fennel pollen vinaigrette?
When Texas does cozy, they really do cozy, as with this century-old log cabin on the banks of the bayou, just minutes from downtown Houston. Snare a table next to one of three fireplaces to devour Texas antelope tenderloin with poblano spoonbread, and a wine list whose depth reflects 30 years of caretaking. You can also join friends at the 20-foot bar, hand-carved from a single basswood tree. Monthly wine events offer “sip and stroll” tastings amid the landscaped gardens.
With one of the best views and top wine lists in Alaska, this luxurious eatery atop Mount Alyeska, perched 2,300 feet above sea level, is a safe haven from the intimidating mountains and glaciers below. The classic white-tablecloth elegance invites romance, while frequent vintner dinners with family-style tasting menus offer a more convivial atmosphere. Try Alaskan oysters and king crab legs to start, followed by Kodiak scallops with red curry, or duck glazed with birch syrup. Bottles like 1999 Dominus or 2002 Penfolds Grange are priced close to retail.
Imagine relaxing in an antique armchair amid candlelight, Champagne in hand, as before you, a marble fireplace crackles on a frigid Chicago night. Coziness epitomized—especially for those who prefer French provincial décor and artisanal cheese over the hunting-lodge, red-meat vibe. Taste a range of RM’s namesake récoltant-manipulant, or grower Champagnes, with snacks from the French-influenced menu (duck liver mousse with Concord grape gelée, anyone?), or the Grand Seafood Platter from the raw bar.
Until its brief closure last year, the Iron Gate was D.C.’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, and its new incarnation promises many more decades to come. Located in the former stables of a colonial townhouse—with many of the original features intact—the dining room boasts both a fireplace and wood-burning brick bread oven. Chef Tony Chittum sources locally, but also looks to Greece and Southern Italy for inspiration (veal sweetbreads with local carrots, hazelnuts and agrodolce). Brent Kroll, the wine director, also skews Greek and Southern Italian, including an extensive glass list with several argon-preserved Reserve selections.
There are hipper restaurants in this foodie town, but none offer the historic luxury of Prime 108, located in the recently restored Union Station Hotel. Hand-blown chandeliers hang from 22-foot ceilings, matched by the opulence of the original stone fireplace, hurricane shutters and elaborate stained-glass windows. The atmosphere, however, is relaxed, amid classic Southern hospitality. Try the sage-roasted local chicken with butternut squash, gold rice “middlins” (rice grits) and country ham, with something from the surprisingly affordable wine list.
A Wine Enthusiast 100 Best Wine Restaurants Hall of Famer, this 75-year-old Seattle icon has a dining room as captivating as its 90-page wine list. The calming, Japanese-inspired “Northwest Modern” design is all stone and dark wood, anchored by a massive stone fireplace and an unparalleled lake and mountain view (angled windows give the effect of the building jutting out from its hilltop location). From the foie gras with apple and cinnamon to the classic Grand Marnier soufflé, you’ll rarely feel so pampered. Valets even magically deliver your car without you requesting it!
Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr’s over-the-top take on a London gastropub nails a combination of kitschy Olde English warmth and gourmet offerings, a Dickensian fantasy come to life. A maze of smaller rooms strewn over three floors, it’s coziest during afternoon tea (more of a decadent cocktail hour) and on Sundays, when a traditional roast is served. The enormous beer selection includes many obscure United Kingdom labels, and the carefully edited wine list is equal parts New and Old World.