The Chicago Fireplace Power Rankings
These are the fireplaces you want to be sitting next to.
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 13 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.
This old-timey English-style pub is full of vintage charm. With dim lighting, 1920’s jazz, and overstuffed leather chairs, Armitage Alehouse already scores high on the coziness scale. But tying everything together is an ornately carved fireplace in the center of the dining room. It makes the table for two directly in front of it the most ideal spot in the whole restaurant to eat a pot pie with a pint of ale.
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photo credit: Michael Muser
Compared to some of the other places on this list, After’s fireplace area feels less like a charming cabin in the U.P., and more like a private nook in Lex Luthor’s evil (and expensive) lair. It’s dark, moody, and has a luxurious atmosphere courtesy of leather couches and modernist walnut paneling. And none of this is surprising considering that this upscale cocktail lounge is the sister spot of the fancy tasting menu restaurant, Ever. Plus, the reservable space is more isolated than the bar and the banquettes, so you and up to seven friends can sip on well-crafted (and expensive) cocktails with a bit of privacy.
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.”
This pioneer-themed restaurant in Wicker Park is determined to take us back to 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.
Park + Field
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 Green Post
The Green Post is a Lincoln Square pub that's open all day and has a welcoming atmosphere. It’s common to find people just hanging out in the morning eating pastries, or friends sitting in a booth, sharing rarebit and a steak and ale pie over pints of Guinness. But the best seats are in the back corner right by the fireplace. Situated right by a framed map of the UK, the comfy seats are a great place to relax and start your 24th attempt at finishing Ulysses.
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.
Liva’s double-sided fireplace ensures that two groups at a time can defrost at a time after walking around River North. It’s modern-looking and gas-powered, with sleek flames that flicker in a clean straight line surrounded by a pool of rocks—like an MCA piece that triggers unexpected pensiveness. Liva also has a variety of tasty pastas and dishes like grilled shrimp or duck breast to help provide additional comfort. And since it’s located inside of Chicago Winery, there’s plenty of great wine to choose from.