With the weather finally chilling up (took long enough!) the list of things required of a solid bar changes. Forget about beer gardens and cool breezes—for the winter months what we want are dark rooms with blazing fires where we can hibernate until spring. Luckily, New York City does not disappoint. Bars with fireplaces? We've got 'em in spades. Here are some of our favorites:
Angry Wade's: This Cobble Hill bar has the standard accouterment for the kind of place you can settle right into: A long, dark bar with a good whiskey selection, a pool table, free popcorn, and a nice fireplace right in the middle. Come to watch a game on one of the TVs, stay for the way the fire makes everything look better. 224 Smith Street, Brooklyn // 718-488-7253
Black Mountain Wine House: If you prefer your fire mixed with an unpretentious wine bar, then this friendly joint a block off the Smith Street strip should do you well. Good regularly changing wines, solid bites from a tiny kitchen, and a friendly fire add up to a lovely evening. 415 Union Street, Brooklyn // 718-522 4340
Black Rabbit: For a bit of fire in Greenpoint, look no further than this homey, dark, retro bar. Hard wood floors, a nice old bar and a lovely fire in the back. Not to mention some lovely booths for more intimate conversation. 91 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn // 718-349-1595
Brandy Library This dark and cozy TriBeCa brown spirits den is pretty much what you expect from its name—and that is not a bad thing. They've got cocktails, lots of brandys and, just beside the piano, a friendly fire. If its a romantic fire you are looking for, here you go. 25 North Moore Street // 212-226-5545
Daddy's: Three stops in off the L is this warm and dark joint that boasts a horseshoe bar, an Elvis pinball machine, some fair bites and a lovely little fire. 435 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn // 718-609-6388
LIC Bar: You will not be cold standing next to the stone hearth at this Long Island City standard. And if you need to cool down you are in luck, because if you step back to sip your drink you'll find a lovely antique wood bar beneath tin ceilings filled with a generally entertaining crowd. 4558 Vernon Boulevard // 718-786-5400
The fireplace at Black Rabbit (tienmao's flickr).
Molly's: There is still sawdust on the floor at this old-school pub where the Guinness's pour perfectly and the burgers are tasty (not to mention the Shepherd's Pie). The fact that there is a toasty fire to sip your brew by just adds to the charm. 287 Third Avenue // 212-889-3361
Metropolitan: If you prefer your Williamsburg fires a bit more flaming than what you get at Daddy's (groan), the fireplace at this long-standing Williamsburg gay bar should do the trick. Stop by to warm your toes and who knows, you might find yourself grooving on that tiny dance floor. 559 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn // 718-599-4444
Shoolbred's: After you've gotten your drink at this dark, wood-paneled Second Avenue haunt make your way past the bar to the set of club chairs placed around the always roaring fire and forget your troubles. Before you've even finished your first drink you won't know (or care) what temperature or time it is outside. And if you get hungry—well, the deviled eggs are spot-on. 197 2nd Avenue // 212-529-0340
484 Union Avenue // 718-609-0484
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.
Really though, there are more than a handful other solid bars out there with great fireplaces, including Art Bar, Blind Tiger, Gilbey's, The Slaughtered Lamb, Boat Bar, Clover Club, Reservoir Bar and The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel. What's your favorite?
Oh, wait, those fires are too hot for you? Why not sit back and enjoy a drink with a fire that will never burn you:
With Nell Casey