Winter Survival Guide: Hot Drinks, Cozy Cafes & More

By Danya Henninger  |  February 10, 2014

Stop! Stop with the cold! Nope, shouting won’t do anything (we’ve tried), so might as well make the best of it with boozy hot drinks, roaring fires, hearty bowls and satisfying comfort food. Make plans to check a couple of these survival ideas off your list each of the next few weeks, and spring will be here before you know it.

  • Hot Drinks, Adult-Style: Square 1682

    Hot toddies are anything but old-fashioned at the bar at the Hotel Palomar in Rittenhouse. Lead bartender Chauncey Scates offers half a dozen variations on the traditional Scottish warmer, spiked with spirits like High West double rye and Knob Creek bourbon and sweetened with syrups made with pumpkin or ginger. Add a basket of truffle popcorn and sip the night away.

    121 S. 17th St.; 215-563-5008

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Cuddle-Worthy Fireplace: Growlers

    Couples can cozy up on the leather couches in front of the wood-burning hearth at this Bella Vista tavern. The dining room is separate from the bar, so while you get access to all the same great beers, you won’t have to deal with neon light from the TVs, just the flicker of the flames.

    736 S. Eighth St.; 267-519-3242

    Check out more toasty fireplaces around town. 

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Meal-Making Soup: Cheu Noodle Bar

    Whether it’s miso ramen packed with soft eggs and pork belly or brisket ramen with belly-filling matzo balls, the bowls Ben Puchowitz puts out at this Wash West pseudo-Asian joint are as hearty as they get. The truly satisfying part, however, are the delicately nuanced flavors that wash over your tongue with each slurp.

    255 S. 10th St.; 267-639-4136

  • Coziest Coffee Shop: Milk & Honey Cafe

    Formerly known as Philadelphia Java Co, this cafe just off South on Fourth Street is filled to the brim with eclectic decor, menu items, staff and customers. Secure your made-to-order sandwich and espresso drink, and eke out a spot in the back room to let the communal chaos warm you through and through.

    518 S. Fourth St.; 215-928-1811

  • Comfort Food Worth the Calorie Splurge: American Sardine Bar

    Chef Scott Schroeder’s Twitter/Instagram handle says it best: he excels at making “foods you can eat.” At this Point Breeze tavern you can dig into his mom’s tomato macaroni, multiple kinds of cheese fries (served in huge bowls) and even breakfast cheesesteak sliders (“Sorry, calorie counters”).

    1800 Federal St.; 215-334-2337

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Ski-Themed Bar: City Tap House

    Get your “après-SEPTA” on and warm up at this lodgelike pub on the second floor of the Radian building in West Philly. Brave the fire pits on the terrace if you dare, or just stay inside under the wood-beamed ceiling and drink from the bounty of 60 craft taps.

    3925 Walnut St.; 215-662-0105

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Where to Warm Up After Ice-Skating: Yards Tasting Room

    After taking in the view of the Ben Franklin Bridge while you coast ‘round the RiverRink, skate your way up Delaware Avenue to the tasting room at this local production brewery. Open noon-7 PM daily, the bar serves the freshest beers on tap along with brrr-killing bites like bison chili and BBQ pork sandwiches.

    901 N. Delaware Ave.; 215-634-2600

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Heated Patio: Parc

    People-watch in comfort from the tables lined up beneath the heated awnings at Stephen Starr’s Rittenhouse brasserie. You’re just as likely to see fur coats as you are animal-ear pom-pom hats going by as you sip café au lait and spoon up French onion soup, and the mix is as entertaining as any reality show.

    227 S. 18th St.; 215-545-2262