By Melanie Rud Chadwick

Published on December 29, 2016

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Photography by Jude Goergen

As any Chicagoan will tell you, you don’t live in the Windy City for the winters. And while it can be tempting to hibernate from January to March, these eight cozy spots are actually worth venturing outside … even when the temperature drops to Arctic levels. Grab a hot cocktail or snag a seat by the fireplace, and you may even forget that summer is still months away. 

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Photography by Jude Goergen

Scofflaw

While the front bar at this Logan Square staple is charming, we suggest walking around to the back room where you can snuggle up at one of the booths or tables near the roaring fireplace. Sip on one of their innovative cocktails, and definitely order the burger (it’s one of the best in the city).

3201 W. Armitage Ave., scofflawchicago.com

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Photography by Anthony Tahlier

G.T. Prime

Grab a high-top table by the bar at this recently-opened steakhouse. The seats are covered in faux fur—could it get any cozier? You’ll have a view of the open wood fire grill and can enjoy one of the 18 red wines offered by the glass.

707 N. Wells St., gtprimerestaurant.com

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Photography by Brandie Armento

The Barrelhouse Flat

The downstairs is perfectly nice, but it’s the upstairs of this Lincoln Park bar we adore. Kick back in the overstuffed red velvet recliners, and order a Hot Toddy. Or reserve the intimate private room where there’s a large fireplace and pool table—the perfect place to host a winter party.

2624 N. Lincoln Ave., barrelhouseflat.com

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Photography by Eric Kleinberg

The J. Parker

A staple during Chicago summers, the rooftop bar at the Hotel Lincoln is surprisingly great for winter nights, too, thanks to a retractable glass roof and seasonal hot cocktails. It’s the ideal spot to watch the snow fall over Lake Michigan (and be thankful you’re inside, not out).

1816 N. Clark St., jparkerchicago.com

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Heavy Feather

With a total 1970s feel (complete with a menu of retro-inspired cocktails), this hidden gem will remind you of being back in your parents’ old school basement. Dark and dim, the best seats are right in front of the fireplace.

2357 N. Milwaukee Ave., heavyfeatherchicago.com

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Photography by Scott Shigley

Mindy’s Hot Chocolate

By day, this Bucktown restaurant does an amazing brunch; by night, the full bar offers a complete list of wine, beer, and house cocktails. Either way, don’t miss the hot chocolate (spiked or not), and the mac and cheese … hey, it’s not bathing suit season.

1747 N. Damen Ave., hotchocolatechicago.com

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Photography by Anthony Tahlier

The Dawson

While the outdoor patio and fire pit are amazing in the summer and fall, the intimate second floor lounge is the place to be in the winter. Sip and nosh by the fireplace, and don’t miss the excellent happy hour.

730 W. Chicago Ave., the-dawson.com

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Photography by Richard Shilkus

Spilt Milk Tavern

Dark and cozy, this recent Logan Square addition has a homey neighborhood vibe and a vintage feel. (Fun fact: The building housed a pharmacy in the 1920s.) You’ll find super creative cocktails, too, including seasonal winter additions like the Fernet Me Not—hot cocoa, Branca Menta, and marshmallows.

2758 W. Fullerton Ave., spiltmilktavern.com