When a winter chill hangs over the country there is nothing better than curling up in a leather chair with a strong cocktail, watching a fire burn to embers. And in the freezing and rainy corners of the United States, these bars, along with their fireplaces and wood burning stoves, offer up a respite from winter, leaving you feeling like you were just wrapped in a warm blanket. Here, seven of the coziest bars in America.
Currently there are three outposts of the Broken Shaker, with a fourth coming soon to New York City, and each one is unique. The original in Miami feels like a nonchalant pool party. In Los Angeles the bar occupies a downtown rooftop space that feels simultaneously welcoming and sceney. But in Chicago, the River North version of the bar is a homier spot with couches surrounding coffee tables, a corner fireplace and games. And the cocktails are plenty cozy as well, like their version of an Old Fashioned, made with Laird’s Applejack, baked apple cordial and cinnamon bitters.
Not only is Clover Club one of the more influential bars in recent memory, but it’s also one of the more inviting ones. A crimson banquet, dark floors and intricate woodwork call to mind the pre-Prohibition hotel in Philadelphia that helped inspire the Brooklyn bar. And a smattering of Victorian couches and chairs will let you pull in close to the fire or just to whomever you came with. The dense cocktail menu has something for everyone, from strong stirred drinks to bubbly fizzes. Between the drinks and the ambiance, you’ll want to stick around all night.
The food at Zak Pelaccio’s restaurant is a mix of fine dining and rustic comfort—whole lamb shoulders turn on a spit in an open hearth right in the dining room. But the small, rotating cocktail program at the adjoining bar certainly holds its own. Sink into one of the weathered leather sofas near yet another fireplace and escape the cold of the Hudson Valley for a spell.
Despite a recent remodel, the deco Fireside Room at the Hotel Sorrento looks like it was plucked straight out of an earlier decade and plopped down in 2018. On one of Seattle’s 150 rainy days a year, there’s nowhere better to be than in the mahogany paneled room with a warming cocktail in front of a roaring fire. If you’re lucky, there will even be live jazz coming from the nearby baby grand.
The Multnomah Whiskey Library has a couple things going for it: the soothing feeling that you are in the personal library of a railroad magnate at the turn of the 20th century and, more importantly, 1,500 different bottles of whiskey to choose from—one of the best selections anywhere in the world. Relax in one of many deep leather chairs with a pour of some rare, hard to get bottlings. Or if, for some unfortunate reason, you aren’t a whiskey fan, pick one of the precisely made vodka or aquavit cocktails.
To be clear, the name of this new cabin-like bar at 600 T Street Northwest in the Shaw neighborhood is not called “Unnamed Bar.” Its owner, Stephen Lawrence, just elected not to name it. News of Lawrence’s bar hasn’t hit all that widely yet, probably because it has no name, no sign and no website. But inside, it has the look of an aprés ski bar in the Rockies and the cocktail menu of a high end mixology joint that would be at home in any big city. If you want something particularly woodsy, you can get the Rye (the cocktails, like the bar, don’t really have names)—a mix of High West Campfire Rye, pine syrup and walnut bitters.
Technically this is a sit down restaurant, but over the four hour-long meal there is plenty to be drunk, and the coziness factor is too overwhelming to ignore. To get to the yurt, you have to ride an open sleigh pulled by a Snow Cat up 1,800 feet of elevation. After a 20-minute ride through the snowy mountains, you’ll get to the only structure in sight, the Viking Yurt, and its warm, Valhalla-like glow. Inside, load up on aquavit and Scandanavian fare for four hours before taking the sleigh back down the mountain.