Best Bars With Fireplaces to Spend the Long Winter Nights

By Serena Solomon on January 17, 2013 8:04am 

NEW YORK CITY — With the holiday season over and months of winter still ahead, New Yorkers are looking to keep warm and entertained.

Bars and restaurants that add a fireplace to their ambience provide the perfect setting for a drink with friends, while lounging around a warm glow. While most establishments have embraced the modern convenience of gas flames, a few, such as Black Mountain Wine House in Park Slope or Bar and Books in Midtown East, will still give you the crackle and pop of a real wood-burning fire.

If a stiff drink and a raging fire are just what the doctor ordered, checkout these fireplace bars, from Brooklyn to Queens and all over Manhattan.

MIDTOWN EAST, Bar and Books, 889 1st Ave., Manhattan

Only blocks from the United Nations you will find plenty of diplomats and expats huddling around this gas fireplace. True to its name, the bar's walls are lined with books accompanied by reading chairs, like a dimly lit study. It doesn't hurt, either, that the waitresses are classically dressed in red, and wearing a string of pearls.

Recommended Drink: Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, St Germain, lime juice, apple juice, muddled apples, cucumber with a star fruit garnish — a refreshing and citrus cocktail in contrast to a cozy fireplace.  

PARK SLOPE, Black Mountain Wine House, 415 Union St., Brooklyn

From the front door resembling the entry of a country cottage to a rare crackling wood fire, Black Mountain creates a feeling of home. The mostly neighborhood crowd at this bar and restaurant extends their horizons with a constantly changing wine list providing those into taste testing an option of wine flights.  

Recommended Drink: Mulled wine, a warmed red spiced with cloves and cinnamon.

EAST VILLAGE, the Bowery Hotel Lobby, 335 Bowery, Manhattan

You are just as likely to find a celebrity warming their paws over the fireplace as you are a hotel guest. Despite the buzz generated by famous patrons who visit this bar, such as Kayne West, Liv Tyler or Jonah Hill, the crowd is mostly young and well-heeled, but leaning toward the creative and bohemian. The Bowery Hotel Lobby bar remains low-key and features dark wood décor, leather armchairs, peacock feather bouquets and lavish potted palm trees.

Recommended Drink: Vivien Leigh, made with Plymouth Gin Elderflower, grapefruit and lemon juice.

GREENPOINT, The Black Rabbit, 91 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn

The Black Rabbit likes to offer something a little different — drinking booths kept private by swinging saloon doors, a "we-need-more-drinks" button to call a server and a cozy gas fireplace tucked away in the back. Strip away all the bells and whistles, the Black Rabbit is a whiskey bar for serious drinks and draws a well-educated yet diverse crowd, according to a bartender who has worked there for 10 years.

Recommended Drink: An elegant and simple shot of Bulleit Bourbon straight up and to the point.

LONG ISLAND CITY, LIC Bar, 45-58 Vernon Boulevard, Queens

A destination for more than a century, LIC has preserved its story with this antique wooden bar, original tin ceiling and exposed brick walls. The back room's fireplace (only for private functions) and the courtyard are modern additions to entertain the friendly after-work crowd and those unwinding on the weekend.

Recommended Drink: Chocolate martini, made with chocolate vodka, crème de cacao topped with whipped cream.

PARK SLOPE, Sheep Station, 149 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn

Pinned as an Australian local pub that just happens to be in Brooklyn, Sheep Station is a family-friendly bar with plenty of stroller room, according to Aussie owner Jason Crew. The bar and restaurant warms its back room with a huge gas fireplace, as you down a schooner (an Australian measure of beer, approximately 16 to 20 ounces) while catching a rugby game or the odd game of cricket.

Recommended Drink: The Brooklyn Bitters cocktail packs a punch with rye, bitters and Benedictine, a herbal liquor. 

FINANCIAL DISTRICT, Raccoon Lodge, 59 Warren St., Manhattan

This longtime downtown bar is heavenly bliss for the high-stressed financial workers with its décor of old signs, dead animals and functioning video games. The fireplace in the back enclave provides a touch of class for this bar that is coming up on its 30th anniversary.

Recommended Drink: Golden Honey Martini — Crown Royal whiskey, honey liquor, squeeze of fresh orange, well shaken and poured into a glass rimmed with brown sugar from Raccoon's longtime bartender Christine Kiourtsis. 

FLATIRON DISTRICT, The Flatiron Room,  37 West 26th St., Manhattan

The Flatiron Room isn't a bar: it's a parlor where discerning patrons sip from a 500 strong collection of whiskeys, bourbons, single malts and classic cocktails, with all the bottles sit along backlit shelves. That, coupled with a fireplace full of burning candles, the Flatiron Room makes for a sophisticated evening.

Recommended Drink: 1920's — Rye Whiskey, Fernet Vallet, dash of orange bitters and house-made absinthe.

THE WEST VILLAGE: Tavern on Jane, 31 Eighth Ave., Manhattan

From the cold and lonely street outside, open the door to reveal the hum of a true neighborhood crowd at this West Village classic. The gas fireplace adds to the warm glow, as friends unwind together over dinner and drink. You will probably see owners Horton Foote and Michael Stewart as they mingle with their patrons, beer in hand.

Recommended Drink: A shot straight up of the Glen, a 17-year-old single malt and single barrel Scotch. As it is made in small batches, the Scotch has a controlled flavor that is not too smoky, according to the bartender.

EAST VILLAGE: Shoolbred's, 197 Second Ave., Manhattan

You could easily mistake this dark and cozy cave for the living space you once dreamed about. The leather armchairs, walls adorned with framed pictures, and rugs on the floor, go along perfectly with the fireplace. To get the prime seats near the fire, be quick. These always go first with the crowd of young neighborhood professionals that frequent the bar.

Recommended Drink: the Hot Toddy; green tea, honey, fresh orange, cinnamon and a shot of Scotch.

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