When it's the dead of winter and there are more icicles than rays of sun, fireplaces can be a lifeline. Because most New Yorkers don't have the luxury of a roaring fire in their living rooms, we are forced to find warmth out in the windy wilds of New York City. Luckily, there are dozens of bars and restaurants with fireplaces, but sometimes you just need some place to stop in to warm up without getting served at a table. Most of our favorite fireplaces can be found in bars, but also in the lobbies of hotels, meaning they don't require reservations or cover charges to sit next to.
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Our favorite fireplaces in NYC
The Jane Hotel's fireplace is topped with a stuffed ram, evoking an eccentric mansion with mismatched chairs and oriental rugs. The building, which opened to the public in 1907 as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors Home, is a 14-story landmark that became a residential hotel when hoteliers Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson took it over. Survivors of the Titanic even stayed here, which makes it even more of a must-see if you're in the area. You can grab a drink in its Old Rose Restaurant, too.
The McKittrick Hotel's rooftop bar Gallow Green has transformed into a comfy, cabin-like getaway–The Lodge–for the winter. You won't have to go upstate to get those woodsy feelings. And while it's not technically a fireplace, The Lodge does have a fire pit that is both dreamy and cozy. You'll need a reservation to take advantage of it, and make sure to check out the McKittrick's performance schedule so you can time it right. Speakeasy Magick, for example, is on Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm through Jan 5 and then Thursdays through Sundays from Jan 9 to March 8.
Swathed in rich velvets and dark wooden paneling, the Bowery Hotel offers an atmosphere that rivals the old stalwart hotels of uptown, but in a much younger, trendier hood. Its fireplace is grand and gothic like it was taken from an old castle. Sit by the crackling fire vibes and sip on a seasonal drink from the hotel's lobby bar to feel like master of the manor.
Arlene’s Grocery was one of the earliest rock-music venues south of East Houston, and it remains a hallowed hall of head-banging—Jeff Buckley, the Strokes, Vanessa Carlton and Beth Orton have all performed in its basement. But upstairs on the ground floor, you'll be welcomed by a toasty fireplace. It's not the most ornate you'll see, but it offers a cozy respite from the cold and a more romantic vibe in the dive. Hop in if you're in the neighborhood or warm up before catching a gig there.
This cavernous, bi-level venue may not fit the textbook definition of intimate, but the flickering stone fireplace is damn cozy. Commandeer the plush couch or one of the chairs near the hearth and settle in for the night with a hot Irish Nut with Bailey’s and amaretto coffee.
The downtown-grunge–meets–your-rich-aunt’s-house vibe at this Lower East Side den practically invites you to sink into the trendy velvet couches beside a stone-facade fireplace. Cuddle up by the hearth with one of Dirty French’s belly-warming concoctions, like the slow-burning but smooth Muddy Water (Irish whiskey, cumin-spiced rye, cinnamon, chocolate mole bitters) or the sweeter, more festive Chai Matsuda, which blends chai-spiced bourbon, espresso and cardamom.
Hightail it to the back of this long, narrow space to secure your spot by the gas fireplace. If the hearthside benches are already filled, you’ll still feel the festive spirit as you sit in a carved-wood booth beneath strings of colorful, twinkling lights. Wash down the traditional German bratwurst sandwich with a whiskey-laden hot toddy, which riffs on the recipe from an erstwhile bartender’s Scottish granny.