As soon as the temperature drops below fifty degrees in NYC, a city-wide search for "cozy bars" commences. What makes a cozy bar? A fireplace certainly doesn't hurt. (You people LOVE fireplaces.) But there are many bars without a burning flame inside of them that are also particularly enjoyable to hang out in when it's absolutely terrible outside. And we're here to tell you about the best ones.
Thus, we present to you our list of NYC's coziest bars. And yes, there are plenty of fireplaces.
Scotland: land of sheep, kilts, and (what we imagine to be) the world’s coziest bars. Schoolbred’s is as close to a Scottish bar experience as you’ll find in NYC, conveniently located in the East Village. They really go all-in with the concept (old pictures of white guys on the walls, stained glass), and while we have no idea whether it’s authentic at all, it works. The prime seating is the big leather armchairs right in front of the fireplace.
So you’re finally bored of Netflix and HBO Go and Amazon Prime and reruns of SVU? And you’re finding yourself unrealistically angry that you don’t have someone in your life who is willing to pick up Roberta’s in a snowstorm and bring it back to your Manhattan apartment for your sole enjoyment? It’s officially time to get out of your apartment. Ease back into the world at Campbell Apartment, a fancy-ish throwback cocktail spot in Grand Central. Actually, it’s not that easy - there is a dress code. But you shouldn’t have a problem skipping the shorts or flip-flops when it’s twenty degrees.
Quite literally a cabin in the middle of Gowanus (complete with wood siding, a front yard, and firewood by the door), Black Mountain Wine House may very well be Brooklyn’s coziest bar. Step inside and you’ll immediately feel like you’ve left NYC for a place that is everything you would ever want from a weekend in the mountains. There’s a roaring brick fireplace, lots of comfortable seating, thirty different wines by the glass, and all of the feel-good vibes. And just so you don’t have to brave the cold to figure out your dinner plan, there’s a frequently changing menu of food way more satisfying than the typical cheese-and-charcuterie offerings.
The Library Bar at the nomad proves that “cozy” and “opulent” are not mutually exclusive. For an upscale experience particularly fitting to a freezing night, bring a date and hang out in what we imagine Bill Gates’ “study” would look like, only sexier.
Bar crawls are not an option when it’s so cold you immediately become sober the minute you go outside. But don’t let that get in the way of your weekend drinking needs - you and your crew simply need a spot where you can hunker down for the evening. Enter: Union Hall. With its bocce ball courts, fireplace, library, cushy living room-esque seating, and solid bar eats (including a Basket Of Bacon), this place feels like an adult playground. Still not convinced? There’s even a basement level downstairs where, depending on the night, there’s live music, comedy, and dance parties.
Hotel Delmano is so great, and so cozy, that we genuinely wouldn’t mind hanging out in the bathroom. It (the bar, not the bathroom) may be small, but every square inch is maximized for enjoyment. Come on a date and sit at the bar, or if you’re with a small group try to grab space in one of the back rooms - they make the place feel like you’re at your own private party. The cocktails, wine list, and raw bar are all impressive - this is consistently one of our favorite nighttime spots in Williamsburg.
Though the Wren doesn’t have a fireplace or cushy seats or any of the stereotypically ‘cozy’ elements of the aforementioned spots, it’s a bar we very much appreciate in the colder months. Maybe it’s the lively crowd, or maybe it’s the awesome fries, but this is the ideal winter after-work hang.
Bar Belly is one of those places that you immediately walk into and know that good things are happening. It’s comfortable, it’s cool, and, most importantly in the winter, it’ll make you want to stay a while - either at the spacious bar or in the back on one of the sofas.
We’re not sure whether wood burning fires in bars are safe (or legal), but at Achilles Heel, we’re more than willing to accept the risk. This is a simple little bar on a quiet corner in Greenpoint - and it's a neighborhood spot through-and-through. But the fireplace, excellent soundtrack, and oysters make this the kind of place anyone would want on their corner.