Drinks by the Fireside: Where to Survive NYC’s Subzero Chill

Prepare for record-breaking cold at New York’s warmest—and coolest—fireplace bars.

Photo courtesy of Art Bar/Facebook

Like rooftop seating in summertime, bars with fireplaces are a must for when temperatures reach an all-time low. On a blustery night (like, say, tonight, when a polar vortex may be headed our way), the promise of a fireside drink is the only thing that will motivate some New Yorkers to consciously uncouple from their Netflix and takeout. Note: If you do decide to brave the elements, please bundle up! 

These spots range from neighborhood haunts to haute scenes, but whatever their differences, they share the warm glow of a crackling fire, which will make your date look more attractive and your drink that much more satisfying.

The Classic: Union Hall

Park Slopers have been flocking to this toasty bar since 2006. The front area of the 5,000-square-foot space features a wall of books as well as leather and velvet couches and chairs bathed in the amber light of a two-sided fireplace. The other side of the fireplace faces the indoor bocce court, where some pretty serious league players can be found. The bar menu boasts brisket burgers, chili-braised chicken tacos, buffalo wings, and (Canadians, take note) poutine, while the downstairs stage plays host to well-known and up-and-coming comedians, bands, and live podcast tapings. 702 Union Street, Park Slope

bars fireplaces nyc
Get toasty by Union Hall’s fireplace. / Photo by Isaac Danna/Courtesy of Union Hall

The Perennial: Art Bar

Art Bar has drawn patrons to its inexpensive happy hour (try one of the many martinis on offer), roaring fireplace, and boisterous West Village scene for as long as we can remember. This is a solid watering hole where you may have to occasionally shout to be heard, but you may also find yourself in conversation with some truly amazing people. The menu has many of your favorite drinking companions, like buffalo wings, fried calamari, and fish-and-chips, as well as vegetarian options. But who are we kidding? You come here for a taste of New York City nightlife of yesteryear, not nachos grande. 52 Eighth Avenue (between Horatio and Jane Streets), West Village

The Hole-in-the-Wall: Dynaco

Blink and you’ll miss this cozy bar hidden in Bed-Stuy, known for its cabin-style decor and well-crafted cocktails. The home-away-from-home vibes can be attributed to owners (and brothers) Adam and Ben Forgash, who lined the space with vintage Dynaco speakers and then named it after the amplifier their father used to own. We suggest making your way to the back to check out what might possibly be the coolest fireplace in Brooklyn. 1112 Bedford Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant

Bar Drink Cozy
Photo by Adam F./Yelp

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The Scene: The Bowery Hotel

Two decades ago, if you asked someone on a first date to get a drink with you at a hotel on the Bowery, you probably wouldn’t get a second one. That was a different era and a very different Bowery. The neighborhood is now home to the Bowery Hotel, a luxe destination where the crackling lobby fireplace sets a tone of classic (but hip) elegance. The cocktails are a little on the pricey side, but well worth it for the people-watching. This is where you’ll spot some of the chicest folks downtown, many of whom you may have already seen in magazines or on movie screens—that is, if you can take your eyes off the dazzling hearth. 335 Bowery (between East 2nd and 3rd Streets), East Village

bars fireplaces nyc
Classy lobby, classier fireplace in the Bowery Hotel. / Photo by Annie Schlechter/Courtesy of the Bowery Hotel

The Chill Spot: L.I.C. Bar

In summer, the laid-back Queens staple L.I.C. Bar offers weeping willow–shaded outdoor seating; during the colder months, its fireplace pours honey over the restored vintage interior. Live music is also a draw here, with shows Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday most weeks. 45-58 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City

The Beaut: Black Mountain Wine House

The small yet well-considered menu will draw you to Black Mountain Wine House in Carroll Gardens, an equally small but well-considered spot. The charcuterie and cheese, crostini, and very on-trend fondues impress, but it’s the sheer loveliness of the rustic-though-modern space that will keep you coming back. The fireplace is just one of the warm old-school elements that makes this place a cozy must-visit for the colder months. 415 Union Street, Carroll Gardens

Bar Drink Cozy
Photo courtesy of Black Mountain Wine House/Facebook

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The Misnomer: The Beast Next Door

Don’t let the name fool you: The Beast Next Door is a welcoming, downright unferocious bar and café in Long Island City. Try the weekend fixed-price special (any bottle of wine of your choice served with three cheeses) or any of the open-face sandwiches, salads, or smoked salmon. The former garage space has been transformed into a warm, eclectic bar, with church pews, a funky chandelier, and dramatic wall art. The fireplace is more of a wood-burning stove, but you won’t complain when you feel its warm embrace. 42-51 27th Street, Long Island City

Bar Drink Cozy
Photo courtesy of the Beast Next Door/Facebook

 The Meat Mecca: Spritzenhaus33

The lucky—or merely persistent—will get a spot right next to the fireplace at Spritzenhaus33, the cavernous meat-forward German beer hall in Greenpoint. Here you’ll find the best of ’wurst, from brats to kielbasa (with a vegan option for herbivores), along with Belgian fries and soft pretzels. The beer menu is as dense as the label on a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap and will be sure to challenge even experienced hopheads to try something new. 33 Nassau Avenue, Greenpoint

The Local: Harlem Public

When you find yourself this far uptown, you’ll eventually make your way inside the Harlem Public one way or another. It might be the warmth of the cast-iron fireplace that lures you in, or, more likely, the insanely good aroma of those damn delicious burgers the kitchen dishes out until 1 a.m. on weekends. This no-frills establishment is exactly where you’ll want to settle in—with one of the 16 craft beers in hand—when looking to shake off the cold. 3612 Broadway (between West 148th and 149th Streets), Harlem

Cozy nights are made cozier with roaring fireplaces…and a few recommendations from us.