Cozy Up to These Restaurants and Bars This Winter
Chicago winters demand the nourishing solace of fireside dining and drinking comfort. Embrace the hearty libations and dishes at one of these warming Chicago spots.
Hopleaf: When it comes to cozy bar comforts, it doesn't get any better than Hopleaf. Chicago's preeminent Belgian beer haunt is an absolute winter must. Because beer-steamed mussels, crispy aioli-dipped frites, and a fireplace situated in a dining room that looks like a ski lodge is the ideal definition of winter respite.
Scofflaw: A gin-centric bar may not be the first place that comes to mind when on the prowl for toasty cocktail dens, but Scofflaw meets muster with its second room located around the corner from the actual bar. Here you'll find a parlor reminiscent of an Alice in Wonderland tea party, complete with regal, snug couches, chairs, and a glowing fireplace. It's the perfect setting in which to enjoy hot buttered rum, burgers, and enough gin to make you forget about the temperature outside.
SideDoor: This River North gastropub has a lot of Chicago clout as the young, casual sibling of venerable meat staple, Lawry's The Prime Rib, located within the same building. This casual sister spot has a personality all its own in the form of cozy, comfy lounge seats, dim lighting and the soulful stylings of classic American jazz, blues and rock, all of which lend themselves to a relaxed, intimate atmosphere ideal for tucking into meaty sandwiches, sipping whiskey or beer, and indulging in some solid conversation with your fellow winter travelers.
Sable Kitchen & Bar: The fireplace at Sable Kitchen & Bar is electric, sure, but it's just as comforting as the real deal. Plus it's nice to have zero chance of accidentally burning alive. The lively makeshift fireplace provides a pleasant backdrop for Sable's bites and sips. Get cozy with one of Sable's impeccable hot cocktails, and pair it with some housemade beef jerky, some bacon jam, some fried cheese curds with spicy ketchup glaze, and some shrimp and roasted pumpkin curry.
Old Town Social: Housemade charcuterie is at its most delicious when eaten alongside a roaring fire. Old Town Social excels on all levels; as close as you can get to fireside cured meats without wholly immersing yourself in flames. The Old Town stalwart is a go-to year-round for their impressive and unique in-house charcuterie program, complete with housemade hot dogs, but the space is especially alluring now that it's fireplace area is full steam.
Allium: Tucked within the opulent Four Seasons hotel, Allium is a lush, awe-inspiring respite from the cold. And let's not forget the fact that the restaurant is adorned with couches, sofas, and other mindful lounge ware befitting a royal fete. Allium also sports a nifty fireplace to warm your soul while you tear into Burrata, Brussels sprouts, and Allium's crowd-pleasing housemade Chicago-style hot dog.
- Matt Kirouac