10 Places to Drink by the Fire (With Specials)

The warmest spots in Washington to hole up during the “snowquester.”

Stay toasty at one of these local watering holes. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

So it’s freezing out, and we may be faced with heavy rain, snow, increased federal spending cuts, or a mix of all three. What to do? Drink alcohol, preferably somewhere warm. Fortunately, a number of Washington bars are equipped with fireplaces, perfect for huddling up on a chilly day and unwinding over happy hour discounts, hot drinks, live entertainment, and more. Don’t see your favorite hearth on the list? Feel free to make recommendations in the comments.

Birreria Paradiso

The scene: The Georgetown branch of Pizzeria Paradiso just reopened its downstairs beer bar after an extensive renovation, though you’ll still find the gas fireplace casting a nice glow over your pizza and beer.

Specials: An expanded happy hour arrived with the new look. From 5 to 7, find $5 snacks like pizza nachos and white bean dip, half-price drafts, and discounted pies.

The Brixton

The scene: You can watch the flakes fall from the laid-back second floor of this U Street pub, decked out like a Scottish lodge and equipped with two gas-powered hearths.

Specials: A happy hour from 5 to 7 includes $5 Stella, Newcastle, and Carlsburg beers, and $1 off wines. Keep your fingers crossed that work is canceled Wednesday and stay late for Tuesday reggae night, which brings an island vibe to the British Isles setting.

Eighteenth Street Lounge

The scene: There are two original fireplaces in the first-floor rooms of this converted Dupont mansion; head upstairs to dance by firelight in the Jazz Bar.

Specials: Happy hour runs from 5:30 to 8 Tuesday through Friday, when you’ll also likely find less of a clubby scene. Drink deals include $5 glasses of vino and $8 specialty cocktails.

Farmers Fishers Bakers

The scene: It’s like a winter wonderland at this Georgetown Waterfront spot, perched at the edge of the new ice rink. Grab a hot drink at the inside bar—there is a Kahlua-spiked Mexican coffee or a New Orleans version with brandy and chicory bitters—and head out to the toasty outdoor patio equipped with heat lamps and two fire pits.

Specials: There’s no happy hour, but with everything from tiki drinks to shareable scorpion bowls and beer growlers, the breadth of drinking options should please every booze fan.

McGinty’s Public House

The scene: Silver Spring’s relaxed public house claims two faux fires, which are ringed by Irish turf and old stone originally brought over from the Green Isle. Perk: They’re pretty powerful, blowing plenty of warmth.

Specials: Happy hour from 3 to 7 brings specials like $3 drafts and a $5 food menu, plus evening entertainment such as traditional Irish music on Tuesdays and karaoke Wednesdays.


The scene: You can warm yourself by wood-fueled fires at both the Woodley Park and Alexandria locations of this traditional Irish pub while sipping Guinness and noshing on hearty fare such as corned beef and cabbage or beef stew.

Specials: Jameson whiskey and pints of Guinness are $4 during happy hour from 4 to 7, plus you can wait out the storm on Tuesday with trivia and half-price burgers.

The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown Lobby Lounge

The scene: The stylish, industrial-chic hotel lounge is one of the swankiest spots in town to bask next to the hearth, making it a destination for tourists and locals alike. Points if you can score the deep sofa right by the wood-burning fire.

Specials: Each day between 6:30 and 7, the hotel’s “s’more-melier” serves complimentary campfire treats with Valrhona chocolate and house-made marshmallows. We’re also fans of the classic cocktails—especially the Manhattan—and the crabcake sliders.

Sign of the Whale

The scene: Late evenings can get rowdy at this Dupont bar popular with the college crowd, but you can enjoy both the large stone fireplace and the extensive happy hour deals in the earlier hours.

Specials: Pretty much anything you’d want to drink is half off from 4 to 7, including all beer, wine, and liquor (yes, that includes fancy sips such as Grey Goose and Maker’s Mark). There are food discounts, as well.

Smith Commons

The scene: The two upstairs fireplaces aren’t equipped for roaring flames, but a host of candles in the hearth cast a gentle glow over the room and give you an extra excuse to snuggle for warmth.

Specials: Offerings include $5 craft beers on draft from 5 to 7, as well as discount wines, premium rails, and various bar food specials.

Tabard Inn

The scene: Low-lit and cozy, this classic Washington hotel lounge/bar is perfect for snuggling up to your date on an antique sofa next to the wood-burning fire or gathering with a few friends.

Specials: The hot drink menu includes build-your-own toddies—pick different liquors, sweeteners, and teas—as well as a classic whiskey version and a Spanish riff with sherry and brandy. Other toasty options include mulled cider (with or without booze) and hot buttered rum.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.