We know the snow isn't falling quite yet, but we're already priming ourselves for a Love Actually-cum-Bridget Jones moment—you know, a romantic smoocherooni amidst the flakes. But, of course, you gotta set the scene—nothing will put you more in the mood for that frosty lip lock than a cozy fire. We know, we know, fireplaces aren't exactly a dime-a-dozen in the typical NYC apartment, meaning we have to get a serious warm-up somewhere else. Enter our guide to New York's most hospitable hearths to heat up your night, and we mean that literally! The best part? All these chimneys are in bars, setting up a steamy scenario super lubricated with lots of winter cocktails. Just think of it as a refuge to get those with no kindling cracklin'&mash;i.e…most everyone.
Make a date at one of these 5 romantic bars to turn up the heat:
1. Black Mountain Winehouse: Nailing that clean rustic feel, the Winehouse is more ski-lodge than Brooklyn bar, stocked with Adirondack chairs and neatly lined bottles of wine. A charming addition to quirky Carroll Gardens, grabbing a seat in front of the brick-lined fire is key, but the squashy back booth is lovely, too. Our favorite drink? The spiced mulled wine.
Black Mountain Winehouse, 415 Union Street (at Hoyt Street), Brooklyn; 718-522-4340.
2. The Dove Parlour: With elegant candlelight, velvet wallpaper, and laced doilies, The Dove Parlour feels like something out of The Great Gatsby—if Fitzgerald frequented bordellos. The dainty-ness is in appearance only; the Parlour hosts some serious cocktails, like classic sidecars or rum teas ($11 each). Tip: Reserve a table ahead of time. You'll thank us when you're fireside.
The Dove Parlour, 226 Thompson Street (between Bleecker and West 3rd streets); 212-254-1435.
3. Black Rabbit Bar: Low-key and antique-filled, the Black Rabbit is a bit like having a drink at an old friend's house—if the old friend makes delicious Welsh Rarebit. Each booth's double doors keep things intimate and cozy, and to hail your waiter, the patron-activated lightbulb is an adorable touch. Think Brooklyn beers and a curated selection of whiskeys, and if you want a quiet evening, skip Tuesdays (unless you love their borough-famous trivia night).
Black Rabbit Bar, 91 Greenpoint Avenue (between Manhattan and Franklin avenues); Brooklyn; 718-349-1595.
4. Bowery Hotel Bar: The epitome of elegance, there's good reason the concierge asks, during busy hours, if you are a guest: the baroque atmosphere is flame lovers' crack. With ornate chairs, tons of antiques, and a killer drink list, guests are guaranteed a spot. But a chance to curl up next to the fire atop a plush Persian rug might be worth the risk (and the price!) for interlopers. If this was our hotel, we'd never get out to see the sights.
Bowery Hotel Bar, 335 Bowery (between 2nd and 3rd streets); 212-505-9100.
5. Southwest Porch at Bryant Park: Enjoy a toasty firebowl and some self-made s'mores...outdoors. Though probably not ideal in a blizzard, the Southwest Porch boasts Manhattan's largest (and only) outdoor firepit, complete with campfire fixins and 'wichcraft sammies from across the way. However, unlike 'wichcraft, enjoy a swig of spiked cider or Irish coffee ($9 each)—and relive your favorite Fashion Week memories (without the blisters and paparazzi, of course).
Southwest Porch, Bryant Park on 6th Avenue (between 40th and 42nd streets).