It appears the rumors of autumn's demise have been greatly exaggerated and you're going to have to start wearing a jacket outside after all. But the change of seasons is not without its perks; there are those hot winter drinks to look forward to, and a number of bars around town offer the perfect accompaniment for your hot toddy: a crackling fireplace. Below are some of New York's best places to chill out on a blustery autumnal evening.
Sure the pool table and afro-deco art add an elegant cachet, but it’s the grandiose fireplace (pictured) that makes the Gramercy Park Hotel's Rose Bar the ultimate place to seduce a date, wow an out-of-towner, or even revive a jaded New Yorker who hasn't been in since Julian Schnabel redesigned it. Grab a glass or three of tawny port and sink into a plush velvet seat by the flames. (It's also a great solution if you're in the exclusive Gramercy area and need a bathroom; well-kept facilities can be found by striding confidently through the lobby, past the fireplace and down the hall.)
Daddy's warm, dark interior is one of the best reasons to explore the Williamsburg/Greenpoint DMZ. The roomy, inviting bar boasts a charming little fireplace, a horseshoe bar, spacious tables and an Elvis pinball machine. Their spicy Bloody Marys will also ignite your insides while you nibble unlimited hot dogs and/or tofu dogs.
Could Park Slope's Union Hall get any better? Besides the working fireplace, the intimate downstairs music venue, the two bocce courts, the seated outdoor smoking section and the Boddingtons on tap, their extensive food menu features the unbeatable Union Flatbread: Grilled flat bread with herbed cream cheese and topped with confit of duck, bourbon caramelized onions and roasted cherry tomatoes.
Carroll Gardens residents have been warming up to Camp, the Smith Street bar that affects a sleep-away camp decor with log cabin-like walls and a nostalgic fireplace. There are s'mores, board games and a house cocktail called the Dirty Girl Scout, made with vodka, Bailey's, Kahlua, and creme de menthe. The only thing missing is a flag pole for a drunken panty raid.
The West Village's Art Bar specializes in thrift-store chic: Make your way to the back room and secure a seat near the fire on funky old furniture under crystal chandeliers. Once settled in you can sip a fancy martini and pretend to admire the art by local artists while ogling the fashion models who'd like to be mistaken for local artists.
Uptown girls and guys can find tony refuge by the fire at the Hudson Library Bar. Located in the Hudson Hotel on 58th Street – and not to be confused with the louder, busier main hotel bar – the library bar exudes a civilized, old-money charm with a purple pool table, art books, chess boards and a deluxe sofa positioned before a massive fireplace.
Cibar is another upscale lounge located in the Inn at Irving Place. The elegant little den is painted in "boudoir" pink and has cute love seats nestled around the fireplace. This is a great spot for a first-date nightcap, with lots of fancy specialty cocktails and a tasty appetizer menu. And if you want an excuse to warm each other up, step out into the secluded bamboo garden in the back and commence canoodling .
A fireplace in every room of Soho's Savoy makes for an elegant, romantic setting for dinner and wine. The menu stands out with such tasty choices as the grilled free range chicken with wild mushrooms and spaghetti squash rosti. For dessert we'll have the caramelized apple rosemary cake, with rosemary creme fraiche and calvados caramel sauce. And another bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Corison. Oh, and more logs on the fire, please! Now what were you saying about this downturn in the financial markets?
Those for whom a fireplace just doesn't give their clothes the right degree of smoky aroma will find olfactory satisfaction by the outdoor fire pit at Williamsburg's Union Pool. No matter how cold it gets outside, there's nothing hotter than sitting around the roaring communal fire and striking up an incoherent conversation with some possibly cute stranger. And if the winds are in your favor, the smoke will blow in her face at just the right moment, giving your appearance a soft, kindly glow through her teary eyes. Bring Kleenex and wear threads you don't mind saturating with that distinctive campfire scent.
This index is far from exhaustive; let us know all about your favorite bar to catch heat in the winter.
With contribution from Tamara Lover