Whether it’s for their world-famous brunch (make sure to order the freshly fried donuts!) or an intimate dinner, Tabard Inn is a welcome respite in the winter. The Victorian mansion-turned-boutique hotel offers a wonderful ambiance complete with cozy restaurant. The rich, mahogany walls, antique furniture and hunt club feel are complemented by a roaring fireplace in the lounge area. On Sunday evenings (7:30-10 p.m.), live jazz in the lounge makes it the perfect place to warm up with your sweetheart.
If you were going to coin a term for the Blue Duck Tavern décor, it might be “Sophisticated Americana.” The award-winning restaurant features dark oak, handcrafted furniture—including a 29-foot long Windsor bench and a rocking chair—and a crackling, open-flame oven in the open kitchen. Even the Obamas gave it their presidential seal of approval last year when they shared a cozy date night there. And with a cheese & charcuterie expert on staff, sitting by the warmth of a fire for hours is twice as nice.
This Capitol Hill French bistro is usually abuzz when Congress is in session. You may find yourself seated next to a senator, but, at least in the winter, you should be more concerned with getting a seat by the fireplace. Cherry wood walls and tall columns add to the ambiance, but it’s the rib-sticking French fare—and the flames—that make it another great pick for a cozy winter dinner.
Opened in 1960 in a Federal home dating back to the mid-1800s, today this Washington institution has six distinct dining rooms. Be sure and request a table in the John Carroll Room, which comes complete with Currier and Ives prints from George Washington’s presidential days, early maps of the city, American antique furniture and, of course, a roaring fireplace.