When the temperatures dip, these DC bars and restaurants heat up with fireplaces, outdoor fire pits and more.
If you’re not fortunate enough to have a fireplace at home or space for a bonfire in the backyard, no worries – these bars and restaurants in the District have you covered with roaring fireplaces, warm wood-fired ovens and outdoor fire pits. So mosey on over to these prime spots for getting cozy, shake off the brr of fall and winter and warm up with an open fire and dishes and drinks sure to satisfy the appetite.
At the Michelin-starred Maydan, which also happens to be Bon Appétit's second-best new restaurant in America in 2018, the roaring flames from the copper-topped, oak-fired hearth are the star of the show. Discreetly set in the back alley of a 19th century building off 14th Street and marked only by a heavy wooden door, the two-story Maydan will warm you up on even the coldest of days with a menu that tells the story of the restaurant team’s travels across the Middle East and North Africa. Imaginative cocktails are mixed with the likes of cardamom and sumac, while lamb shoulders dressed in Syrian seven spice and beef-with-saffron-kebabs crackle over the fire.
This upscale restaurant set in a Federalist home exudes cozy elegance. Request a table in the John Carroll Room, which comes equipped with a roaring fireplace and an all-American ambiance that's perfectly suited for an important date or dinner. Revel in seasonal fare like pheasant ballotine and keep the cocktail menu close at hand for creations like the Brown Butter Old Fashioned touched with chocolate bitters.
The historic confines were once the home of General Nelson Miles, a former secretary of the Army. The restaurant’s decadent courtyard is adorned with wisteria, Edison bulbs and, of course, firepits that allow for nearly year-round dining, giving the eatery another cozy lounge area.
Officina – “workshop” in Italian – is Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s masterpiece and the place to be for all things Italian cuisine. The extraordinary complex at The Wharf is home to an all-day cafe, a gourmet market, a casual Italian restaurant, a “library” devoted entirely to amaro and Terrazza, a year-round rooftop bar. Eat your way through this culinary playground and cap off your night with views of the Potomac River and a cocktail by the cozy fire pits at Terrazza.
The Red Hen
This neighborhood restaurant delights visitors with an in-view wood-burning stove, decor reminiscent of a rustic farmhouse and an Italian-influenced menu featuring delectable pastas, like the mezze rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu. In true neighborhood fashion the Red Hen accepts walk-ins, but we also recommend cozying up to the open bar and sipping from the exceptional wine list of this Bib Gourmand honoree.
Blue Duck Tavern
Sophisticated, new American fare like pasture-raised half chicken and pan-seared Arctic char with a roasted corn succotash and clams chorizo make any experience at the Blue Duck Tavern memorable. But ask to be seated next to the kitchen, outfitted with an open-flame oven, and you’ll have a new appreciation for the food artisans at work. Sit back in the handcrafted furniture and enjoy seasonally themed cocktails.
Top of the Gate at The Watergate Hotel
Top of the Gate, one of the District’s most popular rooftop bars at The Watergate Hotel, blends fireside vibes with Instagram-worthy views of the city skyline and nearby Arlington, Va. Lace up your skates and take a turn around the rooftop’s synthetic skating rink, or if you’re more into lounging, warm up by the fire pits for the ultimate chill experience. An à la carte snack menu and seasonal cocktails both warm and cold (think spiked hot chocolate and mulled wine) complete this cozy experience.
Set in the buzzworthy Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, District Winery will warm you up with housemade wines and an array of comfort dishes ideal for the season. Can you say crispy soy-glazed chicken bites? (We sure can.) Pair your vino selection with fire pits and riverfront views on the restaurant’s 80-plus person patio for the coziest of evenings.
Nestled in an unassuming location between garages and warehouses in NoMa near Union Market, chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s Michelin-starred Masseria is the definition of warm and cozy. The farmhouse-style restaurant transports diners to the Italian coast with a tasting menu inspired by the flavors of Puglia. We recommend arriving early and warming up by the patio fire pits while sipping on a signature cocktail like the Fumo di Uva, starring brandy and black walnut liqueur.
Pull a chair around the fire, order some s'mores and tell a story on the patio of Bourbon Steak. The outdoor fireplaces, the crowd circled around the pit, and meticulously perfected cocktails mean you’ve finally found an enchanting outdoor retreat. Bourbon brings a southern twist to the classic American steakhouse cuisine while the bar offers both classic and modern cocktails in a plethora of styles.
A 10-foot wood-fired open hearth is the main attraction at The Dabney, chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s Michelin-starred farm-to-fork eatery in the Shaw neighborhood. The crackle of the hearth, which was custom-built by Langhorne’s father and brother, creates a soothing ambiance amidst the dimly lit dining room while diners dig into Mid-Atlantic-inspired fare from the ever-changing menu.
Savor the atmosphere of a French country inn in the heart of Georgetown. A central stone fireplace makes La Chaumière a must-visit for those who enjoy a rustic and romantic setting. The menu is filled with French specialties and a variety of red and white wines. It all adds up to refined coziness in one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods.
Don’t let anyone fool you – sangria is a pleasant sipper even in chilly weather. That is, as long as you have blankets, heat lamps and a fireplace close by. Thankfully, this Spanish wine bar and restaurant on 14th Street does. Go light with cava and Spanish cheeses or heavy with a Rioja and paella, either way you’re in for the royal heat treatment.
Quadrant Bar & Lounge
Enjoy a fireside nightcap with craft cocktails, delicious apps and reserve vintages at Quadrant Bar & Lounge in The Ritz-Carlton Washington, DC. This luxe locale also hosts live jazz music every Saturday night, a smooth complement to the swanky setting. And while you’re there, make sure to keep your eyes peeled. You never know which celebrities you’ll see checking in at The Ritz-Carlton.
Farmers Fishers Bakers
Set against the idyllic backdrop of the Potomac River on the Georgetown waterfront, the year-round outdoor patio at Farmers Fishers Bakers is the perfect spot to warm up by the fire while the kids skate at Washington Harbour’s ice rink (which is open mid-November until March). Cozy entrees at this farm-to-table restaurant include steaming mussel pots, the Mad Pig jambalaya and plenty of delightful house-made pizzas.
Le Bar à Vin
Sure, you’ve probably heard of Chez Billy Sud, a tiny jewel box of French cuisine that Michelle Obama frequented, but did you know the restaurant has a sister wine bar, Le Bar à Vin, just across the patio? The 50-seat abode radiates comfort on a chilly fall or winter day, and that’s not just the warmth from the fireplace that you’re feeling. Velvet-covered walls with wood paneling and dark-stained hardwood floors set the mood as you cozy up to the glow of the fire with a glass of vino and graze from the small, but mighty, snack menu.
Art and Soul
Situated in the heart of Capitol Hill, the comfortable Art and Soul is ideal for a cozy group gathering. As you lounge beside a roaring fire pit, spy the U.S. Capitol dome while sipping on a gin cocktail or a beer from local purveyors. Snag your beverage of choice inside before setting up a fireside chat, as outdoor service wanes in winter.
The Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse
Ivy City, a small neighborhood located just north of Union Market near the U.S. National Arboretum, is gaining major buzz in the District. Tantalizing smells of savory smoked meats emanating from the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse make this Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand restaurant and bar a must-visit when in the area. At the center of the rooftop patio is a large, gas-powered fireplace – perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks.
This distinctive restaurant and bar in Chinatown, which blends Gotham-inspired decor and classical architecture, is home to an open-air courtyard with fire pits, as well as a fully enclosed patio for when even a fire doesn't do the trick. During winter, the outdoor patio is transformed into the Dirty Habit Firescape, complete with warm libations.
Calling the wood-and-brick-lined 600t cozy might, in fact, be an understatement. With its moody lighting and crackling fireplace, this unmarked basement bar at 600 T Street NW (hence the name) in Shaw is the definition of intimate. Relying almost entirely on word of mouth, the sanctuary draws speakeasy seekers from the District and beyond with drinks named solely for their spirit.