All we want to do in December is find a cozy restaurant where we can wait out the cold — cold being a relative term for those of us who live in the country's warmer climates. Here are the coziest restaurants in 13 American cities.
Austin: Living Room Lounge
Make yourself at home at the appropriately named Living Room Lounge at the W Hotel, which consists of four different tucked-away spaces — the Living Room Bar, where a fireplace flickers all winter, the Secret Bar (which can be low-key or raucous, depending on the night), the Records Room (where guests can choose vinyl off the shelves for Off the Wall Tuesdays) and a screened-in porch.
200 Lavaca St.; 512-542-3600
Atlanta: Krog Bar
If the weather's nice, cuddling up on one of the outdoor couches at the Iberian-inspired Krog Bar in Inman Park, sharing a cheese plate or some shaved ham, can't be beat. If there's a brisk breeze, head instead into the atmospheric interior to enjoy wine under atmospheric globe lights.
112 Krog St. NE #27; 404-524-1618
Boston: Chalet at Bastille Kitchen
"Cozy" is not how we would describe the sparkling, 200-plus seat dining room of Bastille Kitchen, with its high ceilings and air-kissing clientele. But the subterranean cocktail bar Chalet is a totally different design: dim lights, dark woods and tartan upholstery that suggests a (still rich) alpine ski lodge. It's perfect for cozy post-dinner canoodling, although you can order food down here too.
49 Melcher St.; 617-556-8000
Start with a steak gently illuminated by the amber lighting that reflects in distressed mirrors. Then move to the even cozier cocktail den downstairs. Libations are served while you relax in a leather booth that's surrounded by Oriental rugs and vintage books.
218 W. Kinzie St.; 312-624-8154
Dallas: Bowen House
Located in the historic Ahab Bowen home, this Uptown cocktail den features several intimate seating areas for sipping craft cocktails and nibbling on savory bites near the flickering fire.
2614 Boll St.; 214-484-1385
Denver: 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
Houston: Rainbow Lodge
What could be cozier than dining at a lodge on the banks of the bayou? Maybe dining in a log-cabin lodge with a large stone fireplace and a menu of refined game specialties. Once you set foot into the wood-paneled dining room and dishes like lobster Thermidor and slow-roasted duck breast start landing on the table, you'll warm up fast.
2011 Ella Lee Blvd.; 713-861-8666
Los Angeles: Estrella
The Laurel Canyon folk-rock scene serves as a muse for this new West Hollywood hot spot, and the patio with its comfy banquettes, fireplace and plant-lined walls is where you want to be for cocktails and small plates by chef Dakota Weiss.
8800 Sunset Blvd.; 310-652-6613
NYC: Via Carota
This West Village newcomer is I Sodi's more casual sister, offering approachable Italian fare at lower prices. The rustic, wood-filled space is reminiscent of an Italian nonna's dining room and the window-lined restaurant looks out on a tree-lined street, offering excellent people-watching (and a chance to view the snow from afar). They don't take reservations, however, so come prepared for a wait.
Philadelphia: The Dandelion
Skip the busy downstairs bar and walk up the winding stairs into the bosom of Stephen Starr’s Rittenhouse English pub. Find a snug corner, of which there are many. Whether it’s on the tartan-covered sofas in the “Dog Room,” or the leather couch beside the fireplace in the lounge or the delicately decorated “Tea Parlor,” you’ll be surprised how chummy the British can be.
124 S. 18th St.; 215-558-2500
San Diego: Cowboy Star
One of Downtown San Diego's go-to restaurants for hefty, grass-fed steaks, chops and burgers also features a cozy dining room that beckons with comfy, leather-bound booths. Bucking the steakhouse trend of dark, moody lighting, Cowboy Star's interiors are on the lighter side, accented by wood-beam ceilings and an open-air kitchen. Whether you go for lunch and dinner, you can't go wrong by starting off with the signature steak tartare.
640 10th Ave.; 619-450-5880
Seattle: Old Sage
Sink into the deep leather couches next to the wood-burning fireplace at this Capitol Hill hot spot and tell the bartenders to keep the scotch coming. Try the roasted chicken with sage smoke, the pork chop with cinnamon smoke or the coriander-crusted hamachi with hickory smoke at this spot known for its smoked meats, and don’t forget an order of the puffed sour bread.
1410 12th St.; 206-557-7430
Washington, DC: Tabard Inn
This Dupont Circle inn is pretty much the first place 90% of Washingtonians think of when asked to name a cozy restaurant. Settle into one of the comfy couches for drinks around the fireplace, head into the labyrinthine dining room or enjoy the secret patio for a seasonal alfresco dinner. The brunch (and its donuts) remains a local favorite even in the face of growing competition.
1739 N St. NW; 202-785-1277