As we swap out autumn's easy breeze for pre-winter colds snaps, it's time to snuggle into restaurants and bars that have fireplaces, flickering candlelight and intimate nooks. Here are a dozen of our favorite watering holes and restaurants where we can chase away the shivers.
At this enchanting Park Hill sanctuary, couples converse over sweetbreads, quail and seared scallops amid lovely, low-lit quarters fitted with farmhouse tables, mismatched chairs, reclaimed barn doors and countrified accents. A robust selection of off-the-radar wines, including a section dedicated to "Tiny Bubbles," adds to the allure.
2267 Kearney St.; 303-388-0299
Alex Seidel's date haven is a dime-size space that exudes undeniable warmth — especially on snowy evenings when the dining room swells with romancing couples. More impressive still is the faultless service and season-intensive suppers that take full advantage of the bounty Seidel — a fierce ambassador of locality — harvests from his nearby farm.
1313 E. Sixth Ave.; 303-831-1962
Accessorized with opulent antiques, regal chandeliers and snuggle-ready sofas, this softly illuminated restaurant/bar/lounge also features live piano music. It's an elegant backdrop for sharing plates of bruschetta or antipasto, along with soul-warming cocktails that are concocted from Colorado-distilled spirits.
1446 S. Broadway; 720-353-4701
Desmond Bar & Grill
The hours go too fast at Sean Kelly's rusticated restaurant, where dark woods, flattering lighting and brick accents set the mood for an amorous night out — especially if you snag a table near the crackling fireplace. And with a menu of shareable plates, including polenta with wild mushrooms and creamy mascarpone, you'll find plenty of warmth in Kelly's cooking too.
2230 Oneida St.; 720-542-9035
Ryan Fletter's oh-so-romantic sanctum is a cherished spot for celebrations and delightful plates of Northern Italian cuisine that's punctuated with luxurious ingredients (foie gras and black truffles). And if you happen to be marking an anniversary with your flame, the two-top that parallels the fireplace is the table to book.
3030 E. Sixth Ave.; 303-393-1040
Beatrice & Woodsley
Beatrice & Woodsley has all the elements of a lusty fairytale. The enchanting space, which mimics a remote cabin retreat, features intimate curved booths separated by translucent curtains, a thicket of Aspen tree trunks and flickering miner's lanterns that cast a moody glow across the dining room. Gold-tinted windows that peer over the streetscape of Broadway. To seal the deal, the menu is stacked with dishes that encourage sharing.
38 S. Broadway; 303-777-3505
Colt & Gray
This snug and sensuous head-turner from chef-owner Nelson Perkins courts couples who know to book a table near the centerpiece fireplace, order a cocktail from brilliant barman Kevin Burke and share a plate of the sublime gougères.
1553 Platte St.; 303-477-1447
Against a backdrop of dark woods, antique mirrored glass and windows that overlook the idyllic courtyard, Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch's bewitching French bistro is pure joie de vivre — especially when it's a jubilant occasion that begs for bubbles.
1420 Larimer St.; 303-825-3232
Prim white tablecloths, walls brushed the hue of honey and secluded nooks set the stage for chef-owner Frank Bonanno's sentimental date-night destination. It charms guests with exceptional service and contemporary French cooking that champions seasonality and unapologetic indulgence.
225 E. Seventh Ave.; 303-832-4778
Boasting two fireplaces — one in each elegantly appointed dining room — an alluring patio and a spectacular menu of richly comforting, seasonal foods, Bittersweet is the kind of warm and welcoming restaurant that's matchless for a romantic rendezvous.
500 E. Alameda Ave.; 303-942-0320
Bull & Bush Brewery
When the weather outside is frightful and Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, the Bull & Bush may be the city's best hideaway to snap the frostbite. Slip into one of the slouchy leather sofas, toast the season with a Yule Fuel (the brewery's coveted Christmas ale) and warm your bones against the flames dancing in the brick-framed fireplace.
4700 Cherry Creek S. Dr.; 303-759-0333
Artistic, New Orleans–style voodoo glam pervades in this snug RiNo haunt, where whiskey wizard Robert Sickler, beer authority Thomas Taylor and Noah Price, co-owner of Crema Coffee House and The Populist, have created a remarkably cool bar that specializes in balanced, innovative cocktails (the spirits lineup is epic), funky ciders and craft beers. If the diminutive space starts to feels too cozy, head outside to the huge patio and explore the different food-truck options, which offer everything from real-deal barbecue to addictive bao buns.