New York City offers no shortage of charm during the winter months: cafés dole out gourmet hot cocoa, skaters glide around the City's ice rinks and festive winter decorations sparkle in store window displays. But even the hardiest of urban wanderers occasionally needs an escape from the frosty air. Fortunately, a handful of NYC bars with fireplaces have coziness down to a science. Read on for a roundup of toasty drinking dens, serving up the perfect remedy for even the coldest City days.
Black Mountain Winehouse
415 Union St., 718-522-4340, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
You'll find warmth all around inside this neighborhood wine bar, from the welcoming dimmed lights to the hot mulled red wine. Farmhouse-inspired decor and a blazing fire (with extra logs piled near the front door) add to the appeal. Choose from a selection of international wines by the glass or bottle, order a plate of cheese or charcuterie and settle in near the fire for a mellow evening. For those who can't find something on the extensive list of whites, reds, rosés, sparkling and sweet wines, Black Mountain caters to beer drinkers as well.
52 Eighth Ave., 212-727-0244, West Village, Manhattan
When setting foot inside this West Village hangout, it's best not to judge on first impressions. Early on weekend nights, crowds pack into booths lining the wall adjacent to the bar, where seasonal cocktails like the Ginger Coolcumber and Peachy Keen Soda are trumpeted on a chalkboard. Those in search of the crackling fireplace must weave through this scene, past a curtain and into the much quieter back room, where an assortment of cozy couches and wooden tables invite guests to stay a while. It's here that the art that gives the bar its name—including a modern interpretation of Da Vinci's Last Supper—lines the wall. You'll be defrosted from a winter's night on the town long before the last song plays on the digital jukebox.
179 Smith St., 718-852-8086, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
The memories of childhood summers spent singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire that this rustic drinking den may inspire will warm your heart, and the fireplace on hand will likely warm the rest of you. Elements like wood-paneled walls, a deer-head trophy mounted above the wood-burning fireplace and a kayak propped up in one corner play up the wilderness theme, while traditional games (Jenga and Scrabble, anyone?) and s'mores drive home the re-creation of a quintessential childhood experience. Decidedly more adult are the cocktails, which range from fruity sangria to chocolaty concoctions—the latter topped with a warm marshmallow.
180 Second Ave., 212-979-9273, East Village, Manhattan
This New Orleans–inspired East Village hangout pairs fun bar food (think fried pickles and bacon-wrapped jalapeños) with an impressive happy hour and beer selection. Those ducking inside in search of warmth need only go as far as the bar, where a toasty flame works its magic. The dimly lit watering hole pours beers hailing from Brooklyn to Belgium (and two from Louisiana, naturally), plus specialty cocktails, bourbons, whiskeys and wines. From 4 to 8pm, happy hour brings extra warmth to the place, with 2-for-1 beers and well drinks. And while it may be tempting to spend all your time sipping craft brews near the fire, the heated backyard with its sparking lights and water feature is also worth a look.
2 Lexington Ave., 212-920-3300, Gramercy, Manhattan
This hot-ticket bar inside the Gramercy Park Hotel, with its wood-burning fireplace, checkered floors, rosy-hued walls and plush seating, has garnered a reputation for its exclusivity. Artist Julian Schnabel and hotelier Ian Schrager's creation attracts a chic crowd that fills the candlelit room to sip equally stylish spirits. Expertly crafted cocktails, like the ginger fig martini, play to modern tastes, while Champagne and sake do just fine quenching others' thirsts. Showing up without a reservation will likely garner a lukewarm response, but those who make it inside will be greeted by one of the most sizzling bar scenes in the City.
Blind Tiger Ale House
281 Bleecker St., 212-462-4682, West Village, Manhattan
This Greenwich Village bar attracts both beer aficionados and casual sippers alike with its inviting vibe and helpful bartenders, eager to find you a new favorite brew. For the ultimate warmth factor, snag one of the raised wooden tables near the fireplace before studying the list of 30 tap beers, plus wines and dozens more bottled brews. Make sure to come hungry: the menu features amped-up bar food like house-made pickled vegetables, pilsner-brined spicy chicken wings and sandwiches such as the Spanish Breakfast, with eggs, chorizo, Manchego cheese and saffron aioli.
533 Grand St., 718-782-7372, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Even Paris has a nip in the air this time of year, but East Williamsburg's Le Barricou brings France to Brooklyn, minus the frostbite. Thirsty guests line communal tables, drinking cocktails and French wines served by the glass, carafe or bottle. The furniture is antique, the drink list is extensive and the wood-burning fireplace in the back creates a quaint and cozy vibe. Looking to warm up by way of a hearty meal? Le Barricou also serves dinner and weekend brunch—at prices that won't leave you out in the cold.
25 N. Moore St., 212-226-5545, TriBeCa, Manhattan
While guests of this elegant TriBeCa destination are more than welcome to grab a book from the bar's library, the reading material is hardly the main attraction. Mellow jazz plays in the background while knowledgeable bartenders are poised to recommend the perfect choice from the selection of single malts and blended scotches. Two fireplaces, one upstairs and one downstairs, make the sophisticated space even more inviting. Settle in and open up the menu, a hefty piece of literature that caters to nearly any drink preference—especially that of those looking to mix it up with an adventurous or classic cocktail.