Can this winter get any worse? The great news: As of right now, the answer is a resounding no. But, once you visit the bars in the following slides — where drinking a cocktail goes hand-in-hand with sitting in front of a roaring fire — life can only get better.
From the hotel bar with a 50-foot-long Egyptian brass-screen fireplace to the wine bar with a roaring fire so cozy you'll never want to leave, these are spots where you can finally break free from your usual winter routine (a warm blanket and your couch) and actually be social without feeling your toes go numb. That, friends, is a beautiful thing — especially when there are craft cocktails and fizzy Champagne involved. Cheers to finally beating Old Man Winter at his game!
Photo: Courtesy of Cantina Laredo.
Why settle for one fireplace when you can have three? This margarita-toting cantina has identical brick hearths in its upstairs and downstairs lounges, plus a sleek fire wall to keep you extra toasty. We always said drinking tequila is like playing with fire.
Cantina Laredo, 508 North State Street (at Illinois Street); 312-955-0014.
Photo: Courtesy of Drumbar.
The rooftop patio at this Gold Coast bar gets all the buzz, but don’t overlook Drumbar as a winter nesting spot. Tufted leather couches surround a stately fireplace stacked with books and eclectic knickknacks. If we had a mansion, this is what one of the rooms would look like — a gal can dream, right?
Drumbar, 201 East Delaware Place (at Mies van der Rohe Way); 312-933-4805.
Photo: Courtesy of Joni Kat Anderson.
The Violet Hour
Push open the heavy velvet curtains to this sexy Wicker Park speakeasy to find a room of high-backed chairs clustered in pairs or foursomes — are groups bigger than that out of luck? Thankfully, no. Pass another curtain to discover a spacious area of candlelit booths that can seat at least eight, a glittering chandelier, and a gorgeous fireplace that’ll make you never want to leave.
The Violet Hour, 1520 North Damen Avenue (at Pierce Avenue); 773-252-1500.
Photo: Courtesy of La Madia.
Choosing a happy hour spot in River North? For a small group, La Madia’s a diamond in the rough. The cozy front bar offers stylish leather seating and a modern fireplace that looks all the better with a $6 glass of wine in your hand.
La Madia, 59 West Grand Avenue (at Clark Street); 312-329-0400.
Photo: Courtesy of theWit.
You might be too busy gazing at the beauty of downtown Chicago out of the floor-to-ceiling windows at this 27th story bar to notice the fireplace, but it’s there, keeping you nice and toasty as you sip a winter drink special like the Dad’s Daily Dose: Jim Beam Black mixed with apple-cider maple syrup, sage, and bitters.
Roof, 201 North State Street (at Lake Street); 312-239-9501.
Photo: Courtesy of The Gage.
The Irish whiskey flight at this popular restaurant/pub across from Millennium Park may warm you up enough. If not, head to the back, where a leather booth next to a tiled fireplace is the coziest seat in the house. Another round?
The Gage, 24 South Michigan Avenue (at Monroe Street); 312-372-4243.
Photo: Courtesy of the Thompson Chicago.
The lobby of this new Gold Coast hotel boasts an oversized fireplace decked out with Frank Lloyd Wright tiles. Order a craft cocktail from the bar and sip it on a velvet couch in front of the flames. There’s even a fur throw so you can really snuggle in.
Thompson Chicago, 21 East Bellevue Place (at Rush Street); 312-266-2100.
Photo: Courtesy of the Dana Hotel.
Vertigo Sky Lounge
An outdoor bar in Chicago in the winter sounds like a practical joke, but it’s the real deal at the Dana Hotel, where 26th story lounge Vertigo has the city’s only open-air patio open year-round. How? A stainless steel firepit that’s essentially a mega-bonfire, sans the requisite friend-of-a-friend playing his guitar.
Vertigo Sky Lounge, 2 West Erie Street (at State Street); 312-202-6060.
Photo: Courtesy of III Forks Prime Steakhouse.
III Forks Prime Steakhouse
This is not your grandpa’s steakhouse. III Forks has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking downtown, a sleek glass-enclosed wine cellar and one of the snazziest fireplaces we’ve seen. The flames are built into a stone wall with a peekaboo cutout that looks into a private dining room; enjoy it from the long bar with a glass of spicy red.
III Forks Prime Steakhouse, 180 North Field Boulevard (at Randolph Street); 312-938-4303.
Photo: Courtesy of the Godfrey Hotel.
I|O Urban Roofscape
A small fireplace casts just the right glow over I|O, an intimate lounge at the Godfrey Hotel decked out in warm hues of caramel and gold. As temperatures heat up (they will eventually, we promise!), look forward to the two-story firepit in the hotel’s outdoor space.
I|O Urban Roofscape, 127 West Huron Street (at LaSalle Street); 312-649-2000.