It’s next to impossible to get people to leave the house and go out to eat during Chicago’s brutal winter. That’s why this city has a four-month-long restaurant “week,” and why a lot of restaurants have fireplaces in a desperate attempt to charm you. But for every roaring fire that makes you grateful it’s cold and snowy outside, there are 15 useless ones that came from a Property Brothers HGTV starter package. Don’t waste your time - only warm yourself by the ones that are worth it. We’ve scientifically ranked each one based on flame height, heat output, and overall coziness.
Here are the 11 best fireplaces in Chicago.
The fireplace on the rooftop patio of the Hoxton isn’t f*cking around, and that’s why it’s number one. For one thing, it’s located outside, meaning it’s strong enough to withstand the elements. It’s also surprisingly shallow in-depth, and the leaping flames are almost frighteningly close. But this also means this thing works - it will actually keep you warm, and make the exposed rooftop feel cozy. It’s our favorite fireplace to sit near while waiting for a table, which is something you can definitely expect to do here.
The wood-burning fireplace at The Moonlighter is in its own little caged-off section, surrounded by a bunch of wooden benches. It basically looks like where people huddle in a post-apocalyptic hide-out. But, in actuality, it just makes sure there are plenty of seats available. Plus, it provides a totally different feel than the rest of the space, which is a glorified sports bar. As a bonus, there is an auxiliary fireplace outside.
Scofflaw is the perfect winter bar: it’s dark without being depressing, has fantastic gin cocktails, and is home to a large and very cozy fireplace you can sit next to. There are even free, freshly-baked cookies. Basically, this place will turn you into the Celestial Seasons sleepytime tea bear, but with booze. Just try not to fall asleep too close to the flames.
Moody’s up in Edgewater has two stone fireplaces from the Misanthropic Old Man collection. They’re old (which makes sense since this place has been around since 1959) with stovepipes and clearly belong in a cabin in the middle of the woods. It’s exactly where you go to drink alone, hide from the government, and burn any deeds to the land because “you’ll be damned if they take your property.”
The fireplace at this Irish pub will make you feel like a Stark of Winterfell. One, it’s way up north in Lincoln Square. Two, it’s made of stone and burns real wood just like the CGI fireplaces on Game of Thrones appeared to do. Is the food amazing? Not really. But the burger is tasty enough to make this bar a great winter destination. Just make sure to BYODE (bring your own dragon’s eggs).
This pioneer-themed restaurant in Wicker Park is determined to take us back to back the time when fire was primarily used for cauterizing wounds and keeping warm. And it succeeds - the large wood-burning fire out on the all-season patio provides a perfect backdrop for eating things like wild boar, and rather on-the-nose options like antelope (yes, seriously). This is a perspective-giving fireplace that will make you grateful that we live in the age of hand sanitizer and heated car seats.
This two-floor cocktail bar is designed to look like an old English manor. Come here and have a drink by the fireplace while being surrounded by old-timey bookshelves and elegant leather couches. Then pretend you have a team of servants that lives downstairs while you talk about duck hunting, suffrage, and prohibition.
While most of the fireplaces on this list are primarily great for sitting around and/or looking at, the ones at Park and Field make it a serious utility player. This place has a giant outdoor patio with multiple fire pits that are functional, surrounded by Adirondack chairs, and designed for making s’mores. Do you want to sit out here in a blizzard? Probably not. But we’re not going to try and stop you.
Spending wintertime at Hopleaf in Andersonville feels a little like being in a Swiss ski lodge, complete with a fireplace. And the one here is very enjoyable - it’s wood-burning with actual logs and centrally located so every table can enjoy it. The one drawback is that because it’s real, it gets very hot if you’re sitting close by. Another drawback: it’s not really a ski lodge, and you’re not actually in the Alps.
The cute fireplace at Beermiscuous reminds us of the kind you find in a nice apartment. The type you’d play Settlers Of Catan in front of (if people would ever commit to your “game night”), and can easily turn on and off. This bar has plenty of board games available, and the cafe-like feel makes it great for reading a book by yourself next to the fire. Which is useful, since you can’t get that book club off the ground, either.
The first thing you see when you walk into Cira at the Hoxton is a gas fireplace dominating the lobby. And while it doesn’t have the same rustic charm as some of the other ones on this list, it’s still large enough to be impressive. It also has a very civilized-feeling glass barrier, so there’s no risk of getting drunk and setting the hotel on fire like the Sleepytime Bear. Plus, there are plenty of comfortable chairs and couches nearby. On second thought, we’re not even sure it’s technically a real fireplace. But it’s the thought that counts.