Best fireplace bars

  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

    Black Rabbit Bar

  • Camp

  • Daddy's

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Hot toddy at Schoolbred's

  • Photograph: Aubrey Therkelsen

    Manhattan Cocktail at Employees Only

  • Black Mountain Wine House

  • Union Hall

  • Arlene's Grocery

  • Art Bar

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    LIC bar

Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

Black Rabbit Bar

RECOMMENDED: See this year's list of best fireplace bars in NYC

Art Bar

The bar’s front room, with its big, curving booths, offers little hint of what’s in the back. Peek behind heavy velvet curtains and find an area crammed with overstuffed couches and puffy ottomans, arranged around a brick fireplace with a gas flame. Gaze at paintings by local artists, including a giant Last Supper scene with Jim Morrison as Jesus, and order from the bar’s fall cocktail list—it includes a Smashing Pumpkin Pie Martini ($8) and a Bakon Bloody Mary ($8), with bacon-flavored vodka. The rectangular room doesn’t afford much privacy, but it’s a good place to sink into a soft seat for some people-watching. • 212-727-0244,

  1. 52 Eighth Ave, (between Horatio and Jane Sts)
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Astoria BrewHouse

Flickering lights from 14 TVs can be twitch-inducing, so seek solace and quiet in the glass-enclosed patio, where padded chairs and benches provide seating near a gas-burning stone fireplace. This toasty section of the bar is a bit hidden, and it’s a pleasant corner to relax in. As the name implies, the best drinking bet is to mine the extensive list of craft beers for a Goose Island Harvest Ale ($6) or maybe a Wolaver’s Will Stevens’ Pumpkin Ale ($6). • 718-728-0050,

  1. 28-50 31st St, (at 30th Ave), 11102
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Arlene’s Grocery

The floors are slate, the interior is grungy, and the crowd on the cracked leather banquettes is mostly here for the rock: A basement music venue under the bar offers live music every night, usually for a fee. The gas fireplace behind an iron gate in the no-cover-charge bar upstairs is toasty, but you won’t find any fancy drinks at Arlene’s. Still, a can of PBR and a shot of Jack for $6 have their own way of warming you up. • 212-995-1652,

  1. 95 Stanton St , (between Ludlow and Orchard Sts)
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The Back Room

The secret has been out about this speakeasy-style joint for a while now, and weekend nights can get pretty packed. Still, the warm interior offers good reason to brave the crowds: The big brick gas-powered fireplace is flanked by antique globes, and red velvet covers the couches and the walls. Go on a weeknight, sit under a crystal chandelier and sip a whiskey cocktail from a teacup—like the PTZ, with Woodford Reserve bourbon, blood-orange liqueur, OJ and Angostura bitters ($12). • 212-228-5098

  1. 102 Norfolk St, (between Delancey and Rivington Sts)
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Black Mountain Wine House

The wood-burning fireplace here isn’t just for ambience. The unassuming brick hearth, tucked into a corner, is the only source of heat in this narrow space, which looks like an upstate cabin but has a big-city wine list.  You’ll find imported and microbrewed beer and small but filling meals­—try the mac and cheese with wild mushrooms, Gruyère and truffle oil ($10)—but wine is the raison d’être. There’s mulled vino ($7) to help keep the cold at bay, as well as bottles and glasses. The bartenders will discuss at length any varietal that piques your interest. • 718-522-4340,

  1. 415 Union St, (at Hoyt St)
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Black Rabbit Bar

This long space is elbow-to-elbow on weekends, but the revelry can be exhilarating: Colored lights evoke a year-round holiday spirit and bathe the patrons, tucked behind the swinging doors of carved wooden booths, in a rosy glow. The gas fireplace is in the back of the bar, but  benches allow a decent-size crew to get close to the flames. Hearty food, served until midnight, includes Welsh rarebit fondue ($7). Pair it with hot drinks like mulled wine ($8) and an authentic hot toddy ($8) based on a recipe from a former bartender’s Scottish grandmother. • 718-349-1595,

  1. 91 Greenpoint Ave, (between Franklin St and Manhattan Ave)
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Munch s’mores ($16) by the bar’s wood-burning fireplace, which you can’t miss—a taxidermied deer head hangs just above it. The loose camping theme (a kayak here, an archery target there) isn’t all-encompassing; AC/DC was on the stereo on a recent Saturday. Then again, Camp does have a Big Buck Safari video game, and the cocktail menu includes a concoction called the Thin Mint Cookie ($8), a potent blend of hot chocolate and crème de menthe. • 718-852-8086,

  1. 179 Smith St between Warren and Wyckoff Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn


Friendly bartenders and warm lighting give this place a nostalgic vibe: On one recent Saturday night the mood was so mellow, with ’60s girl groups on the stereo, that  sports playing low on the TV only enhanced the rec-room atmosphere. The small gas fireplace warms a semicircular bar, big cushy booths and a happy but not raging crowd. Most people drink beer here, although the summer special, the Maraveza (Mexican beer topped with frozen margarita mix, $5) is still served due to demand. Daddy’s also serves hot toddies ($6) when the weather gets cold. • 718-609-6388

  1. 437 Graham Ave, (at Frost St)
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Employees Only

This spot is a buzzy warren for serious tipplers who appreciate the well-made drinks and electric environment. There’s a back area lined with banquettes for dinner service, but the liveliest scene is up front by the bar, where a classy Art Deco fireplace warms well-dressed couples and singles alike. Dapper bartender and co-owner Dushan Zaric draws from a shelf full of exotic spirits, and even the house Manhattan Cocktail ($14)—his recommendation for cold-weather sipping—has a twist, namely, a beguiling hint of orange curaçao. • 212-242-3021,

  1. 510 Hudson St, (between Christopher and W 10th Sts)
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The woodsy interior and rough-hewn furniture at this unpretentious joint are comforting in their own right, but you’ll have to leave the bar to find the heat of LIC’s gas fireplace: It’s located in a carriage house off the leafy, tree-shaded garden. The back building, full of rustic chairs and tables around the stacked-stone fireplace, has the feel of a mountain getaway—albeit one with a flat-screen TV tuned to football. • 718-786-5400,

  1. 45-58 Vernon Blvd, (between 45th Rd and 46th Ave)
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Four leather club chairs surround a gas fireplace at the heart of this compact Scottish pub, where the walls are decorated with paintings of men in kilts and the scotch list totals more than two dozens. Two peaty favorites are a 16-year-old Lagavulin ($14) and a decade-old Ardbeg ($12).There are glasses of Delirium Tremens ($9) on tap for beer drinkers, but the cold-weather standout is a hot toddy made with Chivas, green tea, honey and pulpy orange juice. ($11). • 212-529-0340,

  1. 197 Second Ave, (between 12th and 13th Sts)
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Union Hall

The flickering of the fireplace is visible from the street, beckoning passersby with a tall, stone hearth, surrounded by built-in bookcases, plush couches and chairs. It’s hard to call a 5,000-square-foot venue truly cozy, especially since it boasts two bocce courts and a projection TV. But there are plenty of inviting, softly lit spots to settle into, and the bar’s winter cocktail list is awfully enticing—look for hot buttered rum ($10) and the indulgent Cafe Union Hall, featuring coffee, Kahlúa, Baileys and Frangelico topped with whipped cream ($10). Curl up with a hot drink and a Harry Truman biography plucked from one of the shelves. • 718-638-4400,

  1. 702 Union St, (between Fifth and Sixth Aves)
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