14 cozy NYC bars to stay warm at all winter

Posted On Tue, February 18, 2020 By

Posted On Tue, February 18, 2020 By In Features, NYC Guides, Restaurants

Winter in New York City can be tough — bitter winds, slushy sidewalks, walking to the subway in a massive winter parka. But these frigid temps and grey days (will February ever end?!) are the perfect excuse to escape to a cozy bar and warm up with a cocktail. To get you through the rest of winter, we’ve rounded up 14 of the coziest bars in the city for the coldest nights.

Photo of The Auction House by Troy Hahn

1. The Auction House

Though the Second Avenue Subway has ushered in a slew of more hip establishments, the Upper East Side has historically been known for upscale bars and Irish pubs. But the Auction House has long been a unique find in this neighborhood. With exposed brick, gold tin ceilings, red velvet couches, and classical art adorning the walls, it feels like a Victorian lounge and an intimate spot to spend an evening. The Auction House is tucked away on a residential side street, making it all the more secluded and cozy. Pro tip: During the weekends, the bar tends to enforce a 25-and-older policy.

Photo of Valerie by Liz Clayman

2. Valerie

This Art Deco cocktail bar in Midtown oozes luxury. Yellow lighting behind the bar and on the stairs gives the place a gilded feeling, while tufted leather seating, tile floors, and an arched ceiling drive home the luxe aesthetic. Also, it’s a spacious bi-level bar, and we all know how much space is welcome in crowded Midtown. You can choose to drink in the Gatsby Lounge or upstairs at the Blushing Bar. And there’s also a restaurant area for dinner.

Photo of the NoMad Bar by Benoit Linero

3. The NoMad Bar

The NoMad Hotel is actually home to a number of cozy, low-lit bars that exude a sort of old-world, masculine glamour. Bibliophiles will want to hang out in The Library, a two-story — you guessed it — library with a gorgeous spiral staircase that serves coffee, tea, and cocktails during the day; after 4 p.m it’s guests only. But at night, the NoMad Bar is a romantic, somewhat sultry bar/restaurant serving craft cocktails and upscale food.


Photo courtesy of Lumaca NYC

4. Lumaca

If you need to warm up, homemade hot chocolate with cayenne pepper and tequila seems like a good start, and you can find it at Lumaca in Nomad. Located inside the HGU hotel, the bar lounge is decorated with leather Chesterfield sofas, wood-paneled walls, and a chic art collection. When it’s time for food, the restaurant is a bit more modern, but a fireplace and velvet banquettes keep things cozy for winding down — in fact, the name Lumaca comes from the Italian word for “snail,” reminding New Yorkers to slow down a bit.

Photo of the Rose Bar by Lisa Kato Photography, courtesy of the Gramercy Park Hotel

5. Rose Bar

If you’re up for a posh night, the Gramercy Park Hotel’s Rose Bar is an exclusive lounge that’s quite selective about how many people can come behind the curtain. But once you do get back there, you’ll find, as the name implies, a trendy, rose-colored hideaway. On any given night, Rose Bar will have a big-name DJ playing an eclectic mix of genres, and on special nights, Rose Bar Sessions hosts live performances from the likes of Axl Rose and BØRNS. But despite all the fanfare, the space is about as cozy as they come. The plush furniture–velvet chairs, floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains, and fringed leather ottomans–was all custom designed by Julian Schnabel. The rotating artwork comes courtesy of “20th-century masters” like Warhol, Basquiat, and Haring, and it’s all set against a carved limestone fireplace, walnut bar, and wooden ceiling beams.

Photo of The Garret West by Paige Hogan

6. The Garret

You’ll find a few locations of the trendy Garret around Manhattan, but each has its own vibe, and none is cozier than the West Village spot. Somewhat of a speakeasy, the entrance to the Garret West is inside a Five Guys. Above the burger joint, you’ll find a narrow, dimly lit cocktail bar with a fireplace, tin ceiling, and booths made of reclaimed wood. Antique frames decorate the walls, giving the place a rustic-meets-Victorian feel. As for the drinks, the innovative cocktails are made with unique ingredients like Matcha green tea and fermented pineapple.

 

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Grab a seat at the bar for Happy Hour from 5p-7p! Because, $10 cocktails go well with everything. ⁠

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7. Bobo

This stylish West Village spot takes up two floors of a 100-year-old rowhouse. Upstairs, Bobo is an adorable French restaurant. Downstairs, it’s a cozy little cocktail bar with exposed brick and wood beam ceilings. The intimate setting is perfect for a romantic date, and you can even rent out the area for a chic private event.

Photo courtesy of The Jane Hotel

8. The Jane

The Jane Hotel has a storied history; it housed survivors after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Today, the West Village hotel is still in service, but the main draw is the Jane Ballroom, an electric, extravagant bar and lounge area that transports you to Colonial India. A disco ball presides over rich leather and velvet textiles, palm trees, chandeliers, and mounted big-game taxidermy. On weekend nights, the lounge resembles a rich kid’s house party when mom and dad are out of town. But during off-hours, it’s a cozy and unique spot to relax with a drink.

Photo of The Backroom by Troy Hahn

9. The Backroom

A Lower East Side staple, The Backroom is a classic New York City speakeasy — no really, it was actually a real-life speakeasy during the prohibition era. The bar claims to have hosted a number of Hollywood stars as well as gangsters like Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky during the 1920s. On Monday nights, there is a password required to enter, which can be found on the Backroom’s Facebook page. An unassuming storefront leads you down into an alleyway and into a dark room oozing with vintage decadence–velvet couches, patterned wallpaper, crystal chandeliers, Persian rugs, and a fireplace. The bar is famous for serving its cocktails in adorable painted teacups.

Photo of St. Mazie by Henry Hargreaves

10. St. Mazie

This cozy little Williamsburg jazz bar is perfect for a date night or just to warm up on a cold evening. During the day, St. Mazie is popular for its jazz brunch, but you’ll find live music there just about anytime you go. The decor has a rustic garden vibe that manages to be warm and inviting without dark, cumbersome paint colors or fabrics. Sip a glass of champagne or a craft cocktail while enjoying some of the bar’s snack orders like house pickles, beet tahini, or oysters.

 

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Winter is coming. We love it. Bring the snow, drink the whisky.

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11. Black Rabbit

With dark wood booths, mounted antlers, and a cozy fireplace, Black Rabbit is like a woodland hunting cabin in the middle of bustling Greenpoint. An unpretentious interior is complemented by a simple menu of comfort food like bratwurst and Frito pie. And on Tuesdays, trivia buffs can try their hand at “the world’s nerdiest trivia night.”

12. Camp

If you have fond memories of summer camp, you’ll like Boerum Hill’s Camp. The interior design scheme is sort of “log cabin meets Brooklyn dive.” But the big draw to this sleepaway camp-themed bar is the make-your-own s’mores platter. And if you need a little extra warmth, order a cocktail with a flaming marshmallow in it.

 

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You know you’ve been waiting for this.

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13. Black Mountain Wine House

You’ve never seen a cuter storefront in New York City than Black Mountain Wine House in Carroll Gardens. With a wood plank exterior, stained glass windows, a pile of firewood, and Adirondack chairs greeting you at the front door, you’ll feel like you’re away for a country retreat. Inside, the bucolic ideality continues with rustic country house decor, a fireplace, and tons of wine lining the walls.

14. The Studio at the Astorian

Head upstairs at the Astorian and you’ll find The Studio, a “Manhattan speakeasy setting” right in the heart of Astoria. A fireplace, candlelight, rich leather furniture, exposed brick, and a stylish bar serving up craft cocktails are what make this watering hole a great pick for a bitter cold night. Graffiti and classic movies playing on a projector make it a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

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