Stop pretending that cracking fireplace loop on Netflix is worth a damn and get yourself to a bar with actual flames you can feel and smell (from a safe distance). All that’s missing from these nine spots is a bearskin rug and a little Boyz II Men -- well actually, who knows, MAYBE they'll be playing Boyz II Men. Regardless, these nine fireplace-equipped haunts will help you make it to spring.
Don’t walk into Georgetown’s Pizzeria Paradiso looking dumbfounded because you can’t find the fireplace on the first floor. You have to wind your way down to the basement, commonly referred to as "Birreria Paradiso" because of its top-notch craft beer program: 16 drafts, 250+ bottles, and 14 cans. There’s something about suds and a sweet little hearth that’s like flipping the bird to the worst part of winter. Pro tip: Pizzeria Paradiso’s Director of Operations Matt McQuilkin says, "The best way to score a spot is to get here early for happy hour and get your craft brews quickly! If you come in a group, someone can always hold down the fireplace fort and elect a member to replenish your beers!"
If you’re going to splurge on a seal-the-deal romantic tasting menu, it better be lit by a roaring fire. The fact that Iron Gate’s dining room doubles as one of the oldest eating edifices in the city also helps with the so-quaint-let's-get-it-on factor. There are four tables close enough for crackling action. Pro tip: General Manager Jon Barry says ask for table eight when making a reservation -- though anniversaries or birthdays get first dibs (in other words, be an opportunist and find or make a friend with an upcoming birthday).
U Street has a little bit of everything, including a lodge complete with a fireplace and sexy furniture. Fortunately, you don’t have to stumble around ski boots to enjoy the après-ski atmosphere. Find the lodge on the second floor of The Brixton and get a mug of mulled wine in your hands as quickly as possible. Also, don’t forget about their weekend happy hour from 1-5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The fireplace in the main lounge at the Tabard Inn got even more awesome a few years ago when they installed a free-standing wood-burning stove for ambiance. Ambiance indeed! You can huddle up on couches that are worn with love (though hopefully not love-making) while listening to live jazz and sipping on stiff drinks fireside. Hear jazz Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings and drink a top-notch Negroni, Sazerac, or a wintery "3rd District" made with Four Roses bourbon, spiced maple syrup, lemon, orange, and black walnut bitters. It has nothing to do with The Hunger Games.
To feel the heat, make your way upstairs to the lounge where a comfy couch faces the fireplace. From there you can nosh on impressive cheese and charcuterie displays, pizzas, or a bowl of comforting tagliatelle topped with duck confit ragu. Because the fireplace is located in the lounge, happy hour specials are fair game from 4:30-7:30pm on weekdays. Pro tip: call first to make sure a private event won’t spoil your plans.
You + a heaping pile of nachos and a pitcher of beer at a college bar = the ultimate Throwback Thursday. Get to The Tombs, located under 1789 Restaurant, for a casual meal lit by a brick fireplace embellished with rowing oars. The fireplace is no surprise, because the Federal-style townhouse has been around since the mid-1800s.
Intensify date night by hanging by the fire at Chez Billy. Ordering a dozen oysters is a good way to start, followed by something substantial for winter, like the steak frites. First timers should "get lost" on their way to the bathroom and explore the place. It’s quite cavernous, with cool little nooks and a whole lot of history. Sometimes live jazz contributes to the mood.
Picture yourself in the Circle Bistro lounge with a gourmet grilled cheese in one hand, a Sidecar in the other, and the gentle heat from a fireplace caressing your... whatever. Now that’s luxury (at not-so-luxurious prices). Because the fireplace is in the lounge area, you can gather around it to toss back $4 beers and $8 bar bites Mon-Fri from 4-7pm and Sat-Sun from 4-11pm. Other bar bites include pork belly with lentils, ham & aged-cheddar croquettes, lamb meatballs, and Clams Casino.
Paolo’s can one-up most restaurants in the fireplace department, because they have three sources of flames -- this modern fire display, a traditional fireplace, and a pizza inferno that puts out a fair amount of heat as it cooks your Margherita pie. Ten pasta options should help you get that crucial winter padding for warmth. Pro tip: get in for happy hour (Mon-Fri from 4-7pm and Sat-Sun from 3-6pm) when they serve Bolognese fries for $6. They’re exactly what you’re picturing -- hand-cut fries topped with a three-meat ragu, cheese, and pepperoncini slivers.
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1. Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown3282 M St NW, Washington
2. Iron Gate1734 N St NW, Washington
3. The Brixton901 U St NW, Washington
4. Tabard Inn1739 N Street NW, Washington D.C
5. Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar223 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington
6. The Tombs1226 36th St NW, Georgetown
7. Chez Billy3815 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC
8. Circle Bistro1 Washington Cir NW, Washington
9. Paolo's Ristorante1303 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington
Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown is actually TWO layers of paradise: delicious pies ranging from simple Margheritas to 10-ingredient Sicilianas on the first floor, and a beer haven with 16 taps and 263 bottles downstairs.
This is easily one of the most beautiful restaurants in DC. From the lamp-lit stone entryway to the back courtyard complete with a gazebo, Iron Gate in Dupont Circle was made for dining al fresco. Chef Anthony Chittum has been in DC for a long time, winning multiple awards along the way, and his understated Mediterranean dishes are made just right. Wine Director Brent Kroll’s tightly curated wine list pairs perfectly with the food, focusing on Greek and Italian varietals. Ask for a table out back in the courtyard, go all-in with Chef Chittum’s tasting menu, then just point to the wine list and order a bottle.
This sexy English pub is decked out with antler chandeliers, stuffed animals (the cool kind), and lots of Old World touches sure to make you feel like a true gent. Take in some gourmet pub grub on the wood-heavy middle level, or sip one of their inspired beer cocktails (like the Cider Snakebite: lager, cider, and black currant liqueur) on the elegant and spacious roofdeck.
After 90yrs of excellence, the Tabard Inn has finally made it -- "it" being our list of Favorite 5 Winter Drinking spots -- thanks to its cozy, fireplaced, mahogany hunting lodge vibe, and cocktails like the pisco/ Allspice Dram/ apple cider Cuzco Mass, and a spiced rum /cinnamon/ orange/ nutmeg mulled cider, which they've clearly put a lot of thought into.
Stay on the first floor of this cozy Capitol Hill spot for a good selection of Mediterranean eats. Head to the lounge upstairs for happy hour (4:30-7:30pm on Mon-Fri), where you can score a spot on a comfy couch facing a fireplace. Pro tip: call first to make sure a private event won’t spoil your plans.
Housed in a Federal-style townhouse that was built in the mid-1800s, The Tombs is a rathskeller-style bar named after a T.S. Eliot poem. Be sure to look for name inscriptions of people who’ve worked there -- they date all the way back to 1962!
A French bistro seated just north of the Georgia metro, Billy homages its previous tenant (Billy Simpson's House of Seafood & Steak), keeping its original marble floor & wood-burning fireplaces, while adding the vintage appeal of antique couches, chandeliers, and a wall-mounted goose -- so get down there.
The lounge at Circle Bistro features $4 beers and $8 bar bites during happy hour, 4-7pm Mon-Fri and 4-11pm Sat-Sun. Bar snacks include pork belly with lentils, ham and aged cheddar croquettes, lamb meatballs, and clams casino. In the colder months, you'll also want to set yourself up in front of the lounge's fireplace.
Paolo’s offers ten different types of pasta - but don't let that stop you from adding Bolognese fries to your order. That's right - BOLOGNESE FRIES. They’re exactly what you’re picturing right now - hand-cut fries topped with a three-meat ragu, cheese, and pepperoncini slivers. When it gets cold, Paolo's is king in the fireplace department. They have three sources of flames - a modern fire display, a traditional fireplace, and a pizza inferno that puts out a fair amount of heat as it cooks your margherita pie.