Chicago's Winter Survival Guide

By Sarah Freeman  |  February 10, 2014

In the game of Chicago vs. winter, Chicago is not faring so well. So it's time for a new battle plan, because complaining won't make the snow stop. Here's what's going to happen. Get a hot cocktail, a bowl of braised shorts ribs and some French onion soup with enough calories to fuel you through summer, and cozy up in front of a fireplace until the city thaws. Behold our winter survival guide.

  • Hot Drink

    Cozy up on the couch in front of the fireplace with Scofflaw’s traditional winter warmer, hot buttered rum. The gin bar makes theirs with Banks Golden Age Rum, Cruzan Black Strap, butter and spices, available for the cool price of $8.

    Or sip on some hot toddies.

  • Winter Brew

    Cold, dark nights call for cold, dark beer. New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk is a strong ale that was aged in oak for more than 120 days. Time in the barrels leads to hints of bourbon flavor complemented by roasted malt. Drink it on tap at Hopleaf.

    Perhaps a local beer is your speed.

  • Hot Chocolate

    The restaurant that loves hot chocolate so much they named the place after it serves a fine selection of the warm beverage. At Hot Chocolate, opt for dark, made with 72% French chocolate; Mexican, with a mix of dark chocolate with cinnamon and cayenne; or a black and tan, with hot fudge and medium chocolate.

    Have you tried authentic drinking chocolate?

  • Meal-Making Soup

    Coming in at around a million calories, this decadent soup is served at Le Bouchon. La Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée, or French onion soup, is a heartwarming combination of rich onion soup topped with a soaked piece of baguette and bubbly cheese.

    Is chili more your style?

  • Comfort Food Worth the Extra Pounds

    Carriage House stakes its claim on serving Lowcountry cuisine with an emphasis on comfort classics like shrimp and grits and Lowcountry boil. Perfect for winter is the red-wine-braised short ribs served over a bed of buttermilk and blue cheese grits with creamed Brussels sprouts, red onion marmalade and horseradish vinaigrette.

    Or eat healthy this winter.

  • Where to Warm Up After Ice-Skating

    Take a spin on the Millennium Park rink and nurse those ice-skating-inflicted bruises with brunch at The Gage. Options include chilaquiles with fire-roasted tomato salsa and two eggs over easy as well as buckwheat flapjacks with caramelized orange syrup and pecan brittle.

    Fill up on food in The Loop.

  • Romance-Igniting Fireplace

    This sports bar has a secret: one of the coziest fireplaces in the city. Request to be seated in the parlor of Old Town Social, and if you are really lucky, snag the king and queen chairs in front of the fireplace. Carved wood frames, the roaring fire and walnut Manhattans - sounds like a foolproof plan.

    More fireplaces to spark romance.

  • Heated Patio

    One of the hottest patios of the summer does not shut down for winter. Instead, the wood columns that surround Frontier’s rustic outdoor seating and bar get covered in a tent so that the inside - including that stone fireplace - stays nice and warm.

    If all else fails, start dreaming of summer.