Snuggling in front of a roaring fire is perhaps the ultimate indulgence for winter-weary city dwellers, whether sipping a warming cocktail in a cozy lounge or watching the flames flicker in your apartment as you lounge under that favorite old Pendleton. Here are a few of our favorite public hearths around the city, plus a few tips for adding a fireplace to your place:
Fireside Around the City
Classic Jewel Box: Roaring Twenties literary power couple Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald once sipped fireside cocktails in The Beatrice Inn when it was a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Today, the West Village space still boasts two warming fireplaces, including one in the dining room, where you can stay warm while sampling the updated chophouse menu.
Literary Fires: The Upper East Side’s legendary celebrity hangout Elaine’s has been reimagined as The Writing Room, a literary-themed hideaway. It comes complete with a book-filled “study,” where the original vintage black and white tile floors lead to a warming fireplace—just the spot to get inspiration on a winter’s night.
Lounge-y Vibes: Take a seat on a vintage velvet settee in the wood paneled lounge at The Marlton Hotel, and then order an afternoon coffee or classic cocktail to enjoy next to the marble fireplace. It’s easy to see why Vogue called this cozy space in the Greenwich Village boutique hotel “a portal to old world Paris.”
Club Life: When grand flames are in order, head to chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s luxe Midtown eatery The Lambs Club. The expansive dining room boasts an enormous 18th century French limestone fireplace, a gift from architect Stanford White at the turn of the 20th century.
Romance in Brooklyn: The Black Mountain Wine House in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood is perfectly positioned for a wintry night of wine and small bites for two —you can even indulge in gooey fondue in front of its rustic wood-burning fireplace.
Hearth at Home
For design and practical reasons, a fireplace ranks at the top of many city dwellers’ architectural wish lists.
“What’s special about having a fireplace in your home is that it really elevates a space, centering a room and giving it a sense of architecture,” says Manhattan-based interior designer Wesley Moon. “Plus, it gives you something to look at other than a television,”
Here are some tips for maintaining the home fires in New York City:
Know the Rules: Warming up in the glow of a fireplace in the privacy of your own home certainly sounds enticing. But if you have your heart set on a wood-burning version, you’ll have to purchase a home that already has one. In 2015, New York City prohibited the construction of new wood-burning fireplaces.
Go Ventless: The only ventless fireplace approved for use in New York City is made by HearthCabinet, which uses an alcohol-based gel cartridge that’s like Sterno canister. This allows the fireplace “to give atmospheric warmth with an audible crackle,” according to Arthur Lasky, the company’s president. HearthCabinet fireplaces, such as one used in the landmark restaurant Tavern on the Green, can be transformed to match any architectural style.
Real Details Enhance Faux Fireplaces: If you opt for a ventless model, you will want to style the mantel with photographers, candlesticks and other accessories to make for “a more believable fireplace,” Moon says. But don’t get carried away trying to mimic every aspect of a wood-burning fireplace. Birch logs may add a sense of realness, but tools or other accessories may prove too much. “There’s no need to add more to the design—keep the focus on the flames,” Moon says.