Do you smell that? No, it's not what The Rock is cooking (though it could be any number of ethnically diverse pop-ups). It is the sweet, sweet, smoky smell of a bonafide wood-burning fireplace, the centerpiece – the pièce de résistance, even – of St. CeCe's Pub in Corktown. The place used to be the very Irishly-named Baile Corcaigh, and the fireplace (along with the stained glass panels and all of the wood) is a holdover from that. Now, it's only Irish inasmuch as it is located in Corktown, has "St." and "Pub" in the name, and celebrates St. Patty's Month along with the rest of Detroit. But it has the best damn fireside drinking in the city short of a bonfire in your Corktown backyard.
This brewery/bakery/creamery/restaurant has been a Midtown staple since 1965, and it has that worn-in comfort of being a familiar and reliable neighborhood joint that also happens to serve some pretty outstanding products. While it wouldn't be quite accurate to say that dining in the considerably large multi-room, multi-level space is like Sunday dinner at Grandma's house, it's still fair to say that going to Traffic Jam kind of feels like going home. The fireplace is just a bonus.
The Old Miami Midtown
Let's just get something really, really clear here: you have not earned your stripes as a Detroiter until you have taken a good, long nap on the couch at the Old Miami. You just haven't. And it doesn’t count if you merely passed out outside by the fire pit.
That wood-smoke smell! Ahhhhh, it's fall and winter and Up North and outdoors and Michigan and warm and childhood and s'mores and summer camp and boozy bonfires and all of the greatest things in life all wrapped up in one glorious scent. Local Kitchen and Bar in Ferndale features an indoor-outdoor wood-burning fireplace that fills the restaurant with the singular greatest smell in the world, and the menu is all upscale comfort food to match.
There are three fireplaces at the newly-opened Punch Bowl Social in Gilbertville, along with bowling, shuffleboard, ping-pong, pool tables, foosball, and other forms of big-kid entertainment for Quicken's break room.
Ignite at MGM Grand Detroit might actually define "grown and sexy," playing off the theme of "fire and ice" (read: lots of red and blue) with a dramatic wall bank of glass-enclosed flames. Sip on a cognac and watch the flames – and the ladies! – dance all night.
Only two of the historic Whitney mansion's 20 fireplaces are in use, but if your aim is to get super-fancy fireside, this is the place to do it. Even if you're less fire-"side" and more fire-adjacent. For the full experience, take a champagne tour through the opulent 22,000sqft mansion that recalls a time when people used to build mansions in Detroit, and not buy them for less than the cost of the new Ford GT.
Real talk: the best (only?) reason to go to Third Street Bar is for the Dangerously Delicious Pies. Which you can enjoy all cozily next to the fireplace. So now you know.
This one's a 5-for-1, because that which can be said for Deadwood can essentially be said for Camp Ticonderoga (Troy), The Moose Preserve Bar & Grill & The Iroquois Club (Bloomfield Hills), and Beaver Creek Tackle & Beer (Westland) as well. All of these places are under the same ownership and are essentially the same concept – woodsy, Up Northy-rustic lodge (some more Up Northy than others) serving upscale "roadkill." These restaurants are among the few in Metro Detroit where you can get venison, rabbit, duck, buffalo, boar, and quail, and certainly among the very few where you can do so in a decidedly non-fine-dining environment. These joints cater more to the Michigan hunter than to the local organic farmer, and every single one of them has a fireplace(s), because nothing pairs better with meat than fire.
The outdoor biergarten (translation: beer garden) has heaters and an outdoor fire pit, allowing for three-season seating at the communal drinking tables imported from Germany, where they know a thing about communal drinking tables and being cold. Sure, it might not be as "cozy" as huddling up indoors with a warm drink in your hands and a roaring fire at your back, but Germans are of a hardier stock... so suck it up, put on some mittens, and have a few beers. Plus, the colder outdoor temps keep the beer cold!
Red Coat Tavern Royal Oak
One of metro Detroit's most beloved burgers is served in this vaguely Brit-themed pub with a great beer list, an even better "SECRET" beer list, AND a big stone fireplace and hearth. Ahhhhhh "hearth." It's the kind of word that just makes you FEEL warm, you know?
Technically, the "fireplace" is filled with candles instead of logs, which just adds to the Pinterest-y charm of this Birmingham breakfast, brunch, and brinner spot. Woodsy-rustic by way of Williams-Sonoma, Toast is the grown-up version of its breakfast-and-lunch-classic-diner counterpart in Ferndale, in that it has booze (and brinner! Also, regular dinner). Order up a "Short and Sweet" cocktail in the "blue room" -- the one with the "fireplace" -- and keep it classy, not trashy.
Troy! Who knew?
A bright spot in Novi, which is soooooo Novi, Toasted Oak has a stylish interior (with stylish fireplaces!) and a menu that emphasizes a commitment to locally-sourced products and house-made items like charcuterie and porchetta, with an upscale Michigan-centric market attached.
BONUS: almost every single Irish pub in Metro Detroit
There must be a by-law somewhere that states that in order for a bar to market itself as an "Irish pub," it must have a fireplace (in addition to corned beef sandwiches and Guinness on tap, because no Irish pub worth its weight in Jameson can get away with NOT having corned beef sandwiches and Guinness on tap). Also an Irishy-sounding name, preferably O'-something. Exhibits A through D: John Cowley & Sons in Farmington, Dick O'Dow's in Birmingham, Sean O'Callaghan's in Plymouth, and Conor O'Neill's in Ann Arbor. All Irish pubs -- most with an O'-something -- all with fireplaces. Because Ireland can... apparently get quite chilly?
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This casual gastropub serves up delicious burgers, a make-your-own noodle bowl, and plenty of local craft beers and spirits. Though anything but austere, the woodwork, stone, and stained glass that deck out this pub make for a composed ambiance, a casualness continued in the patio in the summer and in the colder months, by the live fireplace placed smack-dab in the middle of the dining room for all to enjoy.
The Old Miami wears its heritage on its sleeve, starting with the “Thank you, Veterans” printed in large white lettering on the bar’s forest green awning. Established in 1975 as a haven for Vietnam veterans, the Old Miami has served Detroit for decades as a hybrid music-venue-meets-drinking-den. The walls are lined with military memorabilia, and a jukebox plays Patsy Kline next to the pool table. If you’re not swaying to the music on the dance floor, chances are you’re cozied up in one of the oversized couches or chairs near the fireplace chatting up a fellow patron whose past is inevitably a lot more interesting than yours.
"Life is short...eat real food." So says the mantra behind the menu at Local, replete with creative comfort food like chicken-fried chicken and baked mac and cheese + candied bacon.
Punch Bowl Social is the kind of entertainment megaplex that is big and bold in a way that fits right in Downtown. The Denver-based chain (with locations in Denver, Portland, and Austin) is sort of an adult arcade with bowling, ping pong, shuffleboard, darts, foosball, arcade & pinball games, karaoke, multiple bars serving craft beer & cocktails, and made-from-scratch food for breakfast, lunch & dinner. It’s also open 7am-2am, Monday through Friday, and 9am-2am, Saturday and Sunday... making it pretty much the first of its kind in Detroit based on hours alone.
A huge (12,000sqft!) brewery/taproom/resto that will not only serve you all of their delicious beers (many of them high-ABV!), it will also serve you goodies like baked beans topped with a layer of crispy, peppery bacon, plus CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON. Also, their beers will soon be hitting the shelves of Michigan liquor stores.