Here’s something we can all agree on: When the weather dips and the winds begin to whip, there’s no antidote to winter’s chill quite like a fireplace. Look at it our way and a fireplace is an invitation—to slow, to rest, to burrow in an armchair with a book or a stiff drink. If you don’t have a fireplace to call your own (and really, who does?), we have you covered. We traipsed the city far and wide to uncover the coziest locales—prime for warming your bones and whiling away a slow and lovely winter afternoon.
1447 N Sedgwick
Tucked away in Old Town, this coffee house adds a dose of vintage charm to the neighborhood. Spacious, without ever losing its cozy cred, Eva’s offers a host of seating options, from two-tops to kitchen tables. Our favorite, of course, are the deep leather armchairs pulled up to the café’s wood-burning fireplace—an arrangement just begging for an afternoon spent curled up with a book and bottomless coffee.
Eva’s serves up Intelligentsia brews, provides complimentary Wi-Fi, and is always filled with enough students, writers, and readers, that you’ll never feel out of place hunkering down for a whole afternoon.
2700 N. Western
When authentic fish & chips is what we’re after, there’s only one place that does it right: Bucktown’s Owen & Engine. A British-style gastropub boasting comfort foods from across the pond, Owen & Engine offers an extensive beer list and a cocktail menu that can certainly hold its own. But we’re here to talk ambiance, and in that regard, this pub delivers: Think gray damask wallpaper, worn Oriental rugs, and an enveloping couch set in front of a roaring fire.
Owen & Engine is laid out on two floors, inviting those who simply want to explore the drinks menu more space to spread out upstairs.
116 N. Green
Try as we might, we can’t think of a sweeter way to while away a winter evening than at the hearth at RM Champagne Salon. When the snow begins to fall, we recommend taking cover in the romantically rustic confines of this West Loop bar. Order a champagne cocktail and sit back while candlelight dances off the bar’s exposed brick and gold-gilded mirrors.
Truly, you’ll find no space quite as pleasant and inviting this winter.
3130 N. Broadway
Inspired by Irish writer Oscar Wilde, this namesake pub takes its design cues from the Victorian era. Dark and cozy with ornate stained glass ceiling domes, Wilde fulfills one of our deepest fantasies by feeling part restaurant, part library. In fact, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll nab a table set amongst floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and warmed by the crackling flames of the restaurant’s fireplace.
Oscar Wilde himself looks on from his perch above the mantel, the pub’s beer list is impressive, and the burgers and sandwiches are a safe bet.
2523 N. Kedzie
From the sidewalk, a simple storefront belies the magic awaiting behind this Logan Square bookshop’s doors. Push through and you’ll be greeted by one of the coziest places to curl up and read. Head to the back of the store—past the new releases and the selection of those culled from popular blogs and websites. There, you’ll find two leather reading chairs begging you to take rest in front of the shop’s fireplace. Seriously, books, soft leather chairs, and a roaring fire—could anything be more perfect for dreary weather?
The shop’s staff is certainly book savvy and seems eager to chat and recommend new reads. We’re partial to the local titles you’ll find displayed at the front of the store.
1400 S. Michigan
If you’re anything like us, you enjoy a nice glass of wine alongside your crackling fire. So when the weather dips, make like The Urbaness and head to Square One, a rustic and intimate wine bar in the heart of the South Loop. Here you can have a seat on the couch and warm your toes in front of the Living Room’s fireplace. Need a drink refresh? Flag your server or visit one of the bar’s self-service wine stations for a spout pour of your drink of choice.
The atmosphere is stunning and romantic with low lighting and chandeliers crafted from reclaimed wine barrels. Square One also offers ample distraction: A 12-foot projector plays classic black and white films above the bar—and a selection of board games is available for you and yours to play all night long.