It’s that time of year when Snow Miser makes his mark, and everyone is talking about how the key to comfort is wearing layers. But layers only last so long, and though that jacket of whiskey might seem like it’s keeping you warm, it’s actually making you colder.
But you know what’s not cold? Fire. It’s actually quite warm, and if you stare at it long enough, you can get lost thinking about your ex and if she’s happy now or how you should’ve taken that job in Denver when you had the chance.
But that’s all in the past, and the only things that remain are the flames and your drink. So we’ve rounded up a couple of our favorite bars that feature worthwhile fires to stare into or huddle around or stick your hand in. [Editor's note: Please don’t stick your hand in any fires.]
The fireplace at Cedars Social on South Lamar trades the normal box set-up for a large circle bench that wraps around, offering out-of-sight warmth. It also means multiple parties can sit close without interfering with the others’ conversations, and everyone gets his or her fair share of the fire. It’s a purely democratic enterprise. Granted it’s indoors, but in those vital minutes between walking in the door and waiting for a table, there’s nothing more important than defrosting a bit.
The bar half of the Chicken Scratch/The Foundry compound is one of those spots that seems tailor-made for a little cold weather action. Long picnic tables encourage a little close contact with your person of choice, and the shipping-container alcoves are a good way to escape the wind. But the flying-saucer fire pits make the gravel yard a great place in Oak Cliff to cuddle up in the great, if chilly, outdoors.
This is where the grown-ups go for a night out, and when the temperature dips, the best seats in the house are at the table next to the outdoor fireplace, tucked in the corner of the patio. Hillstone is always a zoo, so it’s likely these seats will be occupied. But watch carefully for their occupants to exit and seize the opportunity to grab appetizers, drinks or dessert. (Those are the rules.) You’ll forget all about those fools packed inside.
An expansive outdoor area with long tables sounds like a different spot on this list. But if The Foundry is a compound, Lee Harvey’s is your neighbor's backyard in South Dallas. The chain-link fence lends an openness to everything, and the live music and cheap beer is perfect for a group to take over a table for a night of good times. Fortunately, the fire pits are plentiful to keep you warm at this dive patio. They’ll even keep your pooches warm during Dog Days on Sundays.
The Standard Pour
In the right setting, fire is downright sexy. Part of it is the inherent danger, to say nothing of the language. “Licked by flame,” for example, is wrought with sexual undertones. The Standard Pour’s patio fireplace in Uptown does away with the undertones and gets to the point. Enjoy an old fashioned and stare into the flames and then talk to someone attractive and make it happen.
Eschewing a pack of fire pits for one giant outdoor fireplace — which is not a fire pit because it cannot be moved even though it looks like a fire pit — Whiskey Cake in Plano invites you to enjoy farm-to-table bites with craft beer and cocktails. A smaller affair than some of the expansive patios on this list, Whiskey Cake’s space is cozy and homespun with a stovetop box that provides just enough space around it without losing the heat.