Fireplaces make the best cool-weather accessories.
Let’s be honest, though – no matter what the weather, fireplaces are just plain FIRE. (Get it?!) They make amazing places to snuggle by, to enjoy beverages around, to read in front of, have lively conversations with friends next to… you get the picture!
My obsession with fireplaces began at an early age – growing up we would always put a lot of emphasis on building fires in our wood-burning fireplace at home, especially during the frigid winters of the Midwest (they were a welcome treat!). The older I get the more appreciation I have for this simple idea.
Whether it’s just me slowly morphing from moderate party animal to hip grandma or a more widespread appreciation for the Danish idea of hygge, I’m confident when I say fireplaces are so in vogue right now. I’ve rounded up 6 of my favorite snuggly spots in Chicago to head to next time you feel like getting your cozy on!
Believe it or not, I get a lot of questions about Greektown restaurants – the top question being which is my favorite. I always respond that while I normally order roughly the same dishes and that the food is good at all of them, the spot you should check out really depends on what kind of atmosphere you’re looking for (i.e. the summertime rooftop deck of Pegasus, or perhaps the shielded yet sunny courtyard of Athena for the cooler days of spring or fall).
Santorini is absolutely my go-to spot in the winter, because they have a gigantic wood-burning fireplace. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything more romantic than the warm glow of a flickering flame while shoveling a giant piece of flaming saganaki in my mouth. It’s also a perfect spot pre Bulls or Blackhawks game – Greektown has a shuttle that will take you to the United Center 45 minutes before any home game!
RM Champagne Salon
As you can tell, I love nothing more than soaking up the ambience of a restaurant or lounge and pretending I’ve whisked myself to some other part of the world. RM Champagne salon is another perfect spot for this purpose (also for happy hour deals, check out that post here).
RM Champagne Salon is a French-inspired speakeasy spot that screams feed me champagne and oysters (which, you can also actually do). In addition to the seeming hundreds of candles lining the tables, shelves and bars, the pièce de résistance of the room is the glorious marble fireplace. If you plan to dine, be sure to ask if they can seat you by the blaze! It also makes a great local for those with a liquid diet in mind too.
Frontier is definitely the chameleon of the group. With a dining room, outdoor patio area AND a giant covered indoor/outdoor all-season room, this is a go-to spot for almost any type of event. And as you may have guessed from the topic of this post, the focus is most definitely their giant hearth. It plays well with one of their other specialties, which is full animal roasts/group dining. Word on the street is that they hosted the Chicago Blackhawks after their Stanley Cup win!
Bonus feature: in addition to the different spaces listed above, they also have a 2nd floor private party room that can fit 70-100 people comfortably that boasts its own fireplace. Sip a Frontier Hot Toddy (bourbon, honey, lemon, allspice, clove, angostura & hot water) and put your feet up!
Need to get your creative juices flowing? Look no further than the Broken Shaker at Freehand Chicago. This patchouli-scented lounge is the perfect place to cozy up with some friends during happy hour, or take advantage of the relaxing yet stimulating environment and get some work done.
Seek out one of the two upper-level landings for your very own hearth hideaway, stocked with plenty of seating and even board games if you plan to camp out for a while. Best to head over around midday, though – later in the evening one of the alcoves turns into a dj booth.
Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
Obviously, my infatuation with the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is pretty apparent from its prime place in my 4 Places to Go in Chicago When You Just Want to Be Harry Potter post – so was no secret it would also hold a spot in my fireplace roundup.
Channeling all the magic and mischief of the Gryffindor common room, the lobby of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, better known as the Drawing Room, is a gorgeous spot to meet a friend, read a book or simply people watch. With a grand total of 3 stunning fireplaces, you will have no trouble finding a cozy corner to lounge in. Each of the fireplaces were hand-carved and part of the interior décor of the original Chicago Athletic Association, which opened in 1893 during the Chicago World’s Fair.
As you, lovely readers, are probably aware, this post wouldn’t be complete without some serious trivia. Sure, I’ve peppered in some fun facts throughout this post, but here’s where it gets REAL: the Dawson, from the Gage Hospitality Group, is named – get this – for Henry and William Dawson, who arrived to Chicago from England in 1880, and by 1885 owned one of the most successful fireplace mantle companies at the time. (Shout out to my wonderful bartender Matt, who kept me company through brunch and shared these nuggets of wisdom I otherwise probably would not have discovered!).
Rightfully so, then, that the main attraction of this eatery is the gorgeous stone hearth and patio seating area outside – a perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail & conversation, or get your eat on with one of their many amazing southern-inspired dishes.
Bonus feature: given the history of the space, it seems totally apropos that the Dawson houses not one, but two gorgeous fireplaces. Head up to the 2nd floor and you’ll find “The Foundry” – complete with a full bar and seating, which is perfect for any private event. Wind your way even further to the back to discover a very hidden, very sultry lounge area with plenty of seating around a roaring fire.
Thoughts on Fireplaces
Is it just me or is it getting hot in here? Be sure to check out one of these spots the next time you’re in the hibernation mood. Know of a spot I missed? Let me know in the comments!!