The 9 Best Fireplace Bars In Chicago

By Staff in Food on Nov 20, 2013 8:40PM

Although we usually sip whiskey to stave off the cold Chicago winter weather, sipping it next to a crackling fireplace adds a whole new level of awesome. And with a cozy fire to keep us a warm, we aren't just dependent on libations only to do the trick. We've come up with a list of our favorite spots to enjoy a drink next to a roaring fire in Chicago.

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Ten Cat Tavern
This Lakeview tavern not only boasts one of the best (and underappreciated) beer gardens in Chicago, but one of the most highly sought after fireplaces around when the weather reminds you who’s the boss in the dead of winter. Located in the tavern’s backroom, Ten Cat’s sizable gas fireplace emits a ton of warmth—more than enough to have the people sitting around it shedding layers of clothing. It’s set against a beautiful brick sconce bearing the marks of years of use. Grab a hearty barelywine or a dram of one of your favorite single malt scotch and let your cares float away. -Chuck Sudo

Ten Cat is located at 3931 N. Ashland Ave.

Ten Cat Tavern Fireplace from Emma Renee Dutton on Vimeo.

The Grafton
For those of us for whom the Old Town School of Folk Music is a collective living room with killer acoustics, the Grafton next door is a true public house. A bowl of beef and Guinness stew with a glass of whiskey heats us better than an electric blanket through the cruelest, coldest evening. The fireplace anchoring the back room acts as a seamless extension of the warmth from both the ambience and staff. Weeknights at 9 p.m., folk ensembles and jug band jams from the neighboring school make the couch and tables flanking the fireplace a cozy kind of sound studio, one where you’re also invited to sit, sip and toast your feet. If we ever claim we’ve never nearly nodded off before the fire after a beer and shepherd’s pie, we would be lying. —Melissa Wiley

The Grafton is located at 4530 N. Lincoln.


RM Champagne Salon
Usually, we think of champagne as a beverage for summer, sitting in a chilled bucket next to a beautiful patio table. RM made us think again. The champagne-focused lounge (they also have a full menu of everything else) has a gorgeous patio, but is actually more of a destination for us in the winter. They've got a real wood fireplace, the lights are low and you can pull up a comfy chair right in front. Order some of Chef Jared Van Camp's signature charcuterie and dig in for a long night. -Anthony Todd

RM Champagne Salon is located at 116 N. Green Street.

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Moody’s Pub
Anyone who lives in Edgewater has probably spent a few summer afternoons hanging out in the beer garden, but we can’t get enough of the candlelit glow in front of the fireplaces at Moody’s Pub. Yep, fireplaces. Two. There’s not much of a standard bar, but there are plenty of tables and chairs to settle into at this dimly lit wood-beamed den. It doesn’t have an extensive menu, or artisan cocktails, but what you’re going to find at Moody’s Pub are dripping blue cheese burgers, giant onion rings and bone-warming drinks like the Cinnamon Toast (Amaretto, hot cider, whipped cream, sprinkled cinnamon). We prefer to contrast the heat from the fireplace with the “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” a glorified milkshake Brandy Alexander, but it also serves an impressive list of hot toddies and coffee drinks. We’ve heard complaints that Moody’s gets too smoky from the grill, but we say it’s perfect for a cozy date where you keep each other warm in front of the fireplace. Bonus for drivers: Moody’s has its own parking lot right on Broadway. [Editor's note: Moody's no longer has their own parking lot. Sorry folks!] —Jennifer A. Freeman

Moody’s Pub is located at 5910 North Broadway Street


Simon’s Tavern
The Andersonville mainstay is popular during the cold months for its Glogg and the fireplace that’s the centerpiece of its “rec room” which is perfect for sitting back and tippling a few mugs of hot mulled wine while the snow plows work to keep Clark Street clean. Throw some money into the jukebox and hibernate. -Chuck Sudo

Simon’s Tavern is located at 5210 N. Clark St.


Scofflaw
Scofflaw is a snuggly little cocktail gem in Logan Square that has not one, but two fireplaces. It’s inviting and charming with a lovely tin ceiling and exposed brick. The bar area has a rustic neighborhood vibe with bar stools and comfy leather chairs around the fireplace. Continue on to the lounge where a portrait of a bearded lady greets you among chateau inspired furnishings around another fireplace. The space is large enough that you don’t have to wait long to enter, yet still intimate as if you were at a neighbor’s house. And the drinks are surprisingly affordable: everything on the gin-focused cocktail menu is $8. I recommend the Sly Devil, with Scofflaw Old Tom Gin, Maurin Quina, chai syrup and lime. The selection of craft beers is also reasonably priced. Come before midnight and enjoy a complimentary cookie right out of the oven. —Erika Kubick

Scofflaw is located at 3201 W/ Armitage Ave.


Sheffield’s
Here’s another Lakeview bar that does a fireplace as well as it does al fresco seating. Sheffield’s fireplace, located in their “Beer School” back bar, is popular with customers and regulars who don’t want to belly up to the front of the bar and simply wish to enjoy a few beers and some conversation in normal tones of voice. It also serves as an ideal setting for events like the “Reading Under the Influence” series and Sheffield’s beer events. -Chuck Sudo

Sheffield’s is located at 3258 N. Sheffield Ave.


Blue Line Lounge and Grill
When I’m in search of a warm spot to hide away from winter, a main concern is proximity to transit. The less I have to trudge through snow, wind and cold, the better. Add in a good list of drink specials and I’m smitten. Which is why I love to stop by Blue Line Lounge and Grill to warm up with a winter cocktail. It is located directly under the Damen blue line stop, and they have a cozy alcove of velvet couches next to a roaring fireplace. The wide variety of specials doesn’t hurt either. My favorite is Wednesday night when they have all their specialty martinis for $5. They have the classics but also fruity concoctions (the peanut butter and jelly is a wonderful option for a boozy dessert). On Thursday they have $4 mojitos as well, my favorite is coconut. Who needs a winter cocktail when you are next to a warm fire? I’d rather sip a fruity summer drink and pretend like it isn’t below freezing outside instead. -Lisa White

Blue Line Lounge and Grill is located at 1548 N. Damen Ave.


The Dawson
The Dawson is a huge, new, bustling monstrosity of a restaurant, but if you know where to look, you can find some roaring coziness. Head upstairs past the bar and into a small lounge in the back. There's a big fireplace, the walls are covered with denim (which, in addition to looking awesome, keeps the noise down) and there's plenty of places to sit. Even better, you don't have to be drinking - try one of The Dawson's non-alcoholic sodas, made with fun ingredients like acid phosphate, and you won't need to get tipsy to stay warm. - Anthony Todd

The Dawson is located at 730 W. Grand Ave.