Food

8 Great Places to Drink by the Fire

Plus where to find free s'mores and hearthside happy hour.
Sip hot cocktails and roast marshmallows by the fire at popular Washington bars. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Cold weather is officially here, but instead of dreading the chill we’re scheming where to get our next drink by the fire. Here are eight great spots that offer hot cocktails, happy hour discounts, and free s’mores, all by the light of live flames. When it gets frigid, faux-fires just don’t cut it.

Barcelona

1622 14th St., NW

Watch the lively 14th Street foot traffic from the restaurant’s front patio while warming your hands by the large fireplace. Blankets and heat lamps help keep things toasty. Get there early on warmer days, as space fills up fast.

Specials: A new “social hour” in the bar area runs Monday through Friday 4 to 6, with $5 specialty drinks and glasses of wine (four whites, three reds), $3 drafts, discount sangria, and $4 tapas like Spanish meatballs and pan con tomate.

Biergarten Haus

1355 H St., NE

One of the few year-round patios is a great place to perch with a group under heat lamps and down large liters of German beer to keep warm. Snag a spot by the outdoor fireplace or fire pits and get ready to toast s’mores along with your bratwursts.

Specials: Happy hour runs Monday through Friday 4 to 7, with $5 specials: beers such as Spaten lager and Oktoberfest, house wines, Jagermeister/Fireball, and eats like loaded fries or currywurst.

Bourbon Steak winter lounge

2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Faux-fur blankets, live fire pits, and heat lamps warm guests on the brick-walled patio, strung with twinkle lights. Barman Duane Sylvestre’s hot drinks include steamy buttered rum and spiked cocoa, among others.

Specials: No deals as of now, but here’s one big perk: You can call and reserve seats by the fire pits in advance.

Chez Billy

3815 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-506-2080

The original French bistro—recently joined by a sister eatery in Georgetown—boasts a large hearth, which warms the rustic dining room and bar. In addition to deals you’ll find hearty dishes such as boeuf bourguignon and French onion soup.

Specials: Weekend happy hour! Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to 7:30, look for $5 Stellas, glasses of wine, and a seasonal cocktail. The specials also run 5:30 to close on Sunday.

L’Auberge Chez Francois

332 Springvale Rd., Great Falls

While you’ll have to order a meal to sit near the hearth in L’Auberge’s more formal dining room, anyone can drop by the casual Jacques’ Brasserie and have a hot drink by the outdoor fire pit (open nightly, weather permitting). A new autumn menu includes a number of Champagne cocktails, mulled wine, and spiked cider.

Specials: Happy hour at the brasserie bar runs 5 to 6:30 Tuesday through Friday, and 3 to 4:30 on Sunday. The menu offers a variety of French dishes and drinks.

Poste winter lounge

555 Eighth St., NW

Snuggle under a blanket with your date in the outdoor lounge, set with comfy couches and warmed by fire pits and heat lamps. Hot cocktails like salted caramel rum cider and bourbon toddies keep things toasty, as do nibbles such as spicy chicken skewers. The lounge is open Thursday through Saturday 4 to close, at 42 degrees or above.

Specials: Free make-your-own s’mores with house-made marshmallows offered daily.

Murphy’s Irish Pub

713 King St., Alexandria; 2609 24th St., NW [UPDATE: Murphy’s DC location has closed]

Many Irish pubs claim fireplaces, but few fuel them with actual wood. That’s not the case at these lively sister spots in Alexandria and Woodley Park, which host trivia nights, musicians, and a $9 brunch deal.

Specials: In addition to daily specials, weekday happy hour runs from 4 to 7 and includes half-price drafts, appetizers, and Jameson.

Ritz-Carlton Georgetown

3100 South St., NW

Even locals can feel like luxury travelers in the swanky lobby, lit by a huge fireplace. A “s’more-elier” serves complimentary Valrhona chocolate treats nightly, while you’ll find specialty cocktails, wine, and beer from the adjoining Degrees bar.

Specials: More free s’mores! Nightly from 6:30 to 7.

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Anna Spiegel
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.