In Chicago, winter is as dependably terrible as the Bears' offensive line and the corruption scandals of local aldermen. Experienced Chicagoans are well aware of this, and know that the secret to surviving until spring is plenty of booze and a cozy local spot with a warm fireplace. Therefore, we've compiled a list of the best fireplace-equipped drinking spots in town, ranked from No. 20 to No. 1, so you're never caught drinking at No. 21. Gross.
Near North Side
A top-notch date spot, ENO wine bar boasts a cozy aquarium fireplace and a varied menu that will impress anyone who’s into wine, cheese, chocolate, or all of the above. And if your date isn’t into wine, cheese, or chocolate, then you should probably ask yourself what kind of person isn’t into wine, cheese, or chocolate. Because chances are they're probably a time-traveling cyborg sent to destroy you and stop your unborn son from saving humanity in the robot wars of the future. Watch your back. Or maybe just find another date.
There are few sure bets in life, but there's no denying that: 1) Everyone loves pizza, and 2) Sitting next to a fire ensures that you won't be attacked by an army of gigantiops destructor ants. Fortunately, you can do both of those things at Stella Barra Pizzeria, which offers tasty pies with toppings such as smoked bacon and goat cheese, or avocado and arugula pesto.
The “fireplace” at Table, Donkey and Stick is actually a fire pit, but it still makes it a great spot to visit because one can step outside and warm up on a chilly winter eve. It also works well with the overall theme of Table, Donkey and Stick, which prepares rustic mountain-fare inspired by the hearty folk of the Alps. As a bonus, stop by on Mondays for $0.99 High Lifes, $3 whiskey shots, and 25% off charcuterie.
The fancy rooftop lounge located atop the LondonHouse hotel is usually off-limits during the colder months, but visitors will still find an elegant indoor bar located on the 21st floor. Post up next to the aquarium fireplace and unwind with a stiff drink off the menu, which includes bottled cocktails, cocktails on tap, and group-ready decanter cocktails that serve four people.
Besides its stone fireplace, Grafton has plenty of other reasons to visit. Hungry? The kitchen whips up hearty eats such as a shepherd’s pie and fish and chips. Thirsty? The pub has a nice selection of whiskey, wine, and beer. Do you work in a quiet library, or a lighthouse, or a lighthouse library? Grafton hosts live music throughout the week, so your ears can get massaged by the soothing sounds of Irish folk tunes. Much better than seagulls.
Maybe skyline views, high-energy day parties, and leggy models voguing down a table-slash-runway isn’t your idea of “cozy.” But take one look at that stunning fireplace-setup and tell us you wouldn’t trade the shirt off your back for a reservation. Score a seat and order up a snappy El Diablo cocktail, made with Don Julio reposado tequila, St. George raspberry liqueur, lime, and ginger beer.
This slick new Bucktown spot not only offers a solid 4am option for late-night revelers, it's also a comfy hangout where visitors can order a cocktail and become hypnotized by the massive fish tank located behind the bar. The fireplace adds to the chill vibe, and comes in handy if you tend to lug around a pointy stick and bag of marshmallows when you go out.
RM Champagne Salon is classier than a man who doesn't wear sweatpants to Old Country Buffet, so it should be no surprise that it has an elegant fireplace that burns real wood. Order up a great bottle of Champagne and you'll be lounging like a monocle-toting railroad tycoon in no time.
Cantina Laredo boasts three fireplaces, including one that's located inside a wall in the dining room. It looks like something a Bond villain would have in his Arctic hideout, but for epic lounging, we prefer the one located in the upstairs lounge. It's a great spot to warm up while checking out bustling River North below and also keeping prowling polar bears at bay.
This cozy Avondale pub not only boasts a roomy patio that's perfect for summer lounging, it's also a great wintertime hang that will warm you up when the climate outside rivals that of the ice planet Hoth. Order up some rib-sticking pub eats with a Guinness, and kick back while the calories form a protective layer around your winter-worn body.
Massive wine selection? Check. Wood-burning fireplace? Check. A special room where you can smash bottles against a wall for fun? Well, not really, but perhaps some day! Until then, kick back with a glass of fine merlot while warming up next to the fire and swearing to never purchase boxed wine again.
When it comes to Scofflaw, come for the excellent cocktails, stay for the tasty kitchen offerings, stay even longer for the free cookies that are passed out at midnight, and then beg the staff to spend the night beside the warm fireplace because you’re convinced you’ll never make it home in the soul-crushing snow. Hey, it’s worth a shot.
For a restaurant that serves up entire wild boars, goats, and alligators, one fireplace simply will not do. Hence, Frontier offers spots to warm up upstairs in its elixir room, as well as on the year-round patio. The décor is heavy on the exposed brick and stained woods, making each visit feel like a trip to some mountain lodge. Specifically, a mountain where alligators roam and it’s OK to eat them.
Reminiscent of a historic London haunt, Wilde Bar & Restaurant has rows of books covering its walls -- which not only looks cool, but serves as a protective barrier against ghosts. (True!) It's one of the coziest joints in town, best enjoyed on a blustery winter night while lounging in a roomy booth or a sofa chair perched next to the fire.
Moody’s probably looks as medieval today as the day it opened in 1959 (or is it 1459?), and we mean that as a compliment. The Edgewater pub basically feels like a castle’s basement once the kitchen starts cooking up excellent burgers, the fireplace begins to roar, and the pitchers of sangria start flowing -- and fueling GREAT decisions.
Serving accessible New American cuisine in a chic setting, Taus Authentic is an Instagram-friendly spot that's perfect for group meetups. You can't go wrong with ordering an Old & Peppered (Bulleit rye, black pepper simple syrup, Regan's Orange, Angostura) alongside a plate of lemon-honey butter fried chicken, but if you grab a seat next to the crackling fire and you may never leave.
Stunning views. Elegant décor. Speakeasy vibe. Inventive drinks. (Such as the Ron Swanson, made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cynar, ancho chile, maple, soy, and Lagavulin rinse.) While Drumbar is a no-brainer destination spot in the summer, it also has plenty to offer in the winter thanks to its outdoor fire pits and a fireplace-lounge area that looks more inviting than plopping down on a bed of $100 bills.
We're pretty sure it's entirely possible that at the Chicago Athletic Association, fidgeting with a lamp or book can lead to the opening of a secret passage that will reveal skeletons and long-lost treasure. Until that happens, we'll be kicking back at the inviting Drawing Room, which has a downright majestic fireplace surrounded by a pair of tufted-leather couches. Hanging here almost makes winter enjoyable. Almost.
The elegant, clock-topped fireplace at Old Town Social looks like a fancy armoire that was picked up at Scrooge McDuck's estate sale, and we're totally into it. Clearly, this isn't just another sports bar where cheeseburger sliders are churned out at breakneck pace. There's plenty of good stuff on the menu here, but we recommend the excellent charcuterie, which is made in-house with local ingredients.
Hubbard Inn bills itself as a Hemingway-inspired restobar, and features classic dinner-club décor complete with tufted sofas and stocked bookshelves. However, it’s also imperative that Hubbard Inn keeps its bar well-stocked, since Hemingway drank like a storm drain in a typhoon. The establishment actually offers two separate fireplace lounges on two floors, both of which are great spots to enjoy a dry martini -- a favorite of Ernest's.
Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.
1. ENO505 N Michigan Ave, Chicago
2. Stella Barra Pizzeria1954 N Halsted St, Chicago
3. Table, Donkey and Stick2728 W Armitage Ave, Chicago
4. LondonHouse Rooftop360 N Michigan Ave, Chicago
5. The Grafton Pub4530 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
6. Roof on the Wit201 N State St, Chicago
7. Remedy1910 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
8. RM Champagne116 N Green St, Chicago
9. Cantina Laredo508 N State St, Chicago
10. Chief O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant3471 N Elston Ave, Chicago
11. 404 Wine Bar2852 N Southport Ave, Chicago
12. Scofflaw3201 W Armitage Ave, Chicago
13. Frontier1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
14. Wilde Bar & Restaurant3130 N Broadway, Chicago
15. Moody's Pub5910 N Broadway St, Chicago
16. Taus Authentic1846 W Division St, Chicago
17. Drumbar201 E Delaware Pl, Chicago
18. Chicago Athletic Association Hotel12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago
19. Old Town Social455 W North Ave, Chicago
20. Hubbard Inn110 W Hubbard St, Chicago
A top-notch date spot, ENO wine bar boasts a cozy aquarium fireplace and varied menu that will impress anyone who’s into wine, cheese, or chocolate. And if your date isn’t into wine, cheese, or chocolate, it might be time to find a new one.
From Lettuce Entertain You, Stella Barra is an upscale mini chain that focuses on artisanal pizza. The menu is split between red and white thin-crust pies (plus a few starters and salads), and there's an option to have your pie made the extra-thin, Roman way. The shaved mushroom pie, topped with parmesan cream instead of tomato sauce, is a signature. The Lincoln Park space is laid-back and homey with a center bar that serves cocktails, mostly-Italian wines, and draft and bottled beer.
Table, Donkey and Stick is all about the Alps: independent wines and Bavarian beers, cuisine influenced by the mountainous regions of France & Germany, even the cozy layout imitates lodges housing Alps hikers.
The rooftop at this super-luxe Loop hotel has not one, but THREE levels, each with views of the Chicago skyline that give all other rooftops a run for their money. Each floor is different: the 21st floor features an indoor cocktail bar, while the 22nd is all about the outdoor terrace. The 23rd floor is the most formal of the three with exclusive dining under the building's signature dome. Reservations are recommend for all levels.
The Grafton Pub has all of your favorite things: a huge whiskey list (separated by country of origin), an equally huge beer list (both bottle and draft, with a separate "Foreigners" section), hearty eats (like the Guinness beef stew), and live music. There are some surprises as well, such as Chocolate Cheery mead and Sump Imperial Stout.
Do you like models, bottle service, and DJs? If so, theWit's rooftop lounge is for you. More than just a glitzy bar, the 27th-floor hotspot features a retractable roof (it's open year-round, after all), a 3D video-mapping wall, and a sleek bar that turns into a runway. The food and drink menu is equally fit for a glam squad, serving up flatbreads, seafood towers, fancy craft cocktails, and punch bowls.
From the owners of Estelle’s in Wicker Park and The Owl in Logan Square, Remedy is a neighborhood watering hole in with a rock and roll style, craft cocktails, and an affinity for craft beer. Located on the border of Bucktown and Logan Square just beneath the Western blue line stop, the 2,000sqft, 70-seat Remedy is in good company as one of the neighborhood’s best 4am bars (5am on Saturdays). Stop by for your late night fix, or any time for drink cozied up next to the front room’s roaring fireplace.
In proper prohibition fashion, this unassuming brick saloon, tucked down a narrow cobblestone alley off of Randolph street, is relatively easy to miss. But beyond its speak-easy-style facade, the spot is anything but austere. The dining room resembles an elegant French bistro, with low-hanging chandeliers, a luxurious marble fireplace, and an eclectic collection of vintage mirrors. As the title makes clear, the bar specializes in champagne, offering 12 varieties of the stuff along with a bubbly-focused cocktail program -- not to mention the joint's full menu of bistro-classics like steak frites, charcuterie, and fresh oysters (yeah, the place has a raw bar, too). And in the warmer months, when the fireplace becomes somewhat superfluous, locals can carry their champagne flutes out onto the Parisian style brick patio, where round tables are framed with with tea lights and arrangements of block-printed Moroccan tile.
CL serves authentic Mexican food with a modern twist. Menu items include grilled fish, chicken or steak topped with one of a kind signature sauces like chipotle-wine and Portobello mushroom or sautéed artichoke heart and roasted red bell pepper. It’s an upscale spot, so be ready to dine like a king (there are worse things, right?). Stop in Monday through Friday, 3:30-6:30pm for a bangin' happy hour: half-off casaritas, house wine, draft and bottled beer.
Named after a Chicago policeman who supposedly saved Irish music (he reportedly collected and published the largest collection of Irish music ever), Chief O’Neill’s in Avondale is the place to go for an authentic pub experience. Its huge drink menu covers everything from Irish, North American, and Scotch whiskey to local craft beers, and is matched in size only by the food menu, on which you’ll find traditional dishes like corned beef and cabbage alongside vegetarian plates. Add a backyard patio, and you’ve got a great spot to take in some Irish jigs.
Everything about this place, from their chic fireplaces to their extensive wine list, screams sophistication. 404 Wine Bar is the perfect place to bring a date that you are really looking to impress, and their dinner menu is out of this world. Make sure to be on the look out for their awesome upcoming events.
This classy bar in Logan Square will make a gin lover out of even the most gin-averse of clientele. It's one of Chicago's top cocktail bars because it proves that the versatility of gin extends far beyond the usual G&T and because it's outfitted with antique sofas that are palatial AND comfortable. Scofflaw also serves a menu of better-than-basic small bites, and the kitchen is open until 1am daily.
It may not be the final frontier, but with ice-taps pouring 16 traditional and seasonal brews, a meat heavy menu featuring specialty sausages, steaks, and "Animal Service", flat screen TVs, and a beer garden, you won't need to explore any further. Allied: Ready yourself for Animal Service with some Smith & Forge, the hard cider that's built strong -- built from Apples and built to Refresh.
Named for Oscar Wilde (if you don’t know who that is, you should turn around, go home, and read a book), Wilde Bar & Restaurant is an Irish pub that pays homage to its namesake author through a literary theme. The mock library is anchored by a fireplace, the upscale, Irish-inspired menu is plastered with quotes from Wilde himself, as are the walls, and his portrait hangs above the fireplace. And there’s just something so... earnest about enjoying Shepherd’s pie and a cold beer from your club chair by the fire in the library -- in a bar in Lakeview.
Step behind the heavy, wooden door of Moody’s Pub, and into its ski lodge-reminiscent dining room in Edgewater for cheap drinks, locally acclaimed cheeseburgers, and free peanuts. The pub, born in 1959, features two fireplaces, oak wood tables, stained glass windows, and beamed ceilings, lending to the cozy, lodge-like atmosphere. During the few weather-permitting months, an enormous and extravagant (there are waterfalls and ivy-lined brick walls) beer garden fills up fast with pub goers, but in the winter, it’s the roaring fires indoors that draw the crowds. And the cheeseburgers, pitchers of sangria, and wallet-friendly prices, of course.
Chef Michael Taus' Wicker Park eatery is the kind of upscale neighborhood place that draws you in and begs you to stay a while. Everything about Taus, from the menu to the rustic dining room, is inviting. The dinner menu features cheese and charcuterie, shareable starters, and standout comfort plates like fried chicken and a burger with havarti cheese. Sunday brunch is equally heavy on comfort food, serving up steak & eggs and fresh-baked pastries.
Not only is Drumbar one of the sexiest rooftop lounges in Chicago, the 18th-floor bar atop the Raffaello Hotel has a brag-worthy selection of whiskey, scotch, bourbon, and cognac. The sleek spot has a cozy den-meets-gentlemen's club decor with dark leather couches, wood-paneled walls, and a marble bar. During the summer, the seasonal outdoor patio makes it even more of an after-work drinking destination near the Magnificent Mile.
Following a 2015 renovation, this historical building transformed into a boutique hotel with several food and drink options, including a patio-equipped Shake Shack, Drawing Room in the expansive second floor lobby, and a rooftop restaurant with views of Millennium Park. The epic game room has bocce and shuffleboard courts, a pool table, and foosball, while the restaurant, Cherry Circle Room, serves a beef-centric menu and tableside cocktails.
Old Town Social is setting out to seamlessly infuse turn-of-the-century elegance into its classic neighborhood bar confines. The upscale, spacious, high-ceiling'ed gastropub is as good a place to watch the game as it is to enjoy a nice dinner out on the town. Nestle up to the marble bar top for front row seats to the flat screens, cozy into the front room's fireplace and sip on signature cocktails, gather a group and dine on a slew of contemporary American share plates (don't skip the mac 'n cheese), and stop by the vintage shoe shine station on your way out, of course.
Inspired by Papa Hemingway himself, this upscale Chicago eatery is decked with heavy wooden communal tables, eclectic oil paintings, and endless rows of second-hand books. The paintings, set against vintage wallpaper, are backlit by a series of dramatic candelabras, dripping with wax. The menu boasts classic cocktail-favorites, hand-crafted with top-shelf spirits -- Aviation Cocktails, Old Fashioneds, and of course, the famous Hemingway Daquiri -- in addition to a full selection of house specialties. The Inn turns out snacks and small plates like bacon-wrapped dates and tuna tartare tacos, along with full brunch and dinner menus. The real reason to keep coming back, however, is the "reading room," tucked behind the noisy bar, built of brown leather couches, arranged around a beautiful brick fireplace.