For winter lovers (you know who you are), there might not be anything finer than stepping into the stark cold on a Sunday and snowshoeing. Or cross-country skiing. Or skating. Or playing pond hockey until you almost sweat. (Almost.)
The rest of us? We’re in survival mode until May, just trying to keep our blood circulating as we shuffle along as formless blobs, bubble-wrapped in layers of goose down.
But around the Twin Cities’ thriving restaurant and bar scene, survival mode doesn’t mean you need to hibernate for eight months. A host of cozy establishments with fireplaces serve as the perfect fix for empty bellies and frozen toes — as long as your rebellious car engine decides to get you there.
Check out a handful of our favorites:
The Hewing Hotel Lobby
How you get warm: Embedded in a dramatic wall scheme, this fireplace, flanked by bookshelves and surrounded by rugs and cozy leather chairs, will do the job indulgingly.
You’re going to: Clink flutes of bubbly with your gal pals after a day of North Loop shopping.
Find it: 300 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 651-468-0400, hewinghotel.com
Peace Coffee, Capella Tower
How you get warm: This circular pit of flames feels like you’re at a campfire — you know, one surrounded by a marble counter, curved red banquettes and plaid throw pillows.
You’re going to: Fuel up with a midday espresso or craft latté and a great short story to burn through.
Find it: 225 S. 6th St., Mpls., 612-248-8677, peacecoffee.com
Punch Bowl Social
How you get warm: If you try to pull a book off the bookshelf wallpaper surrounding this fireplace, you’ve had a few too many. Still, the “Holiday Lodge” nook at PBS has some kitschy charm, complete with neon signage and faux taxidermy.
You’re going to: Go bowling, kick your friends’ butts in foosball and throw back a fried bologna sandwich and some rum punch.
Find it: 1691 Park Pl. Blvd., St. Louis Park, 763-400-3865, punchbowl social.com/location/minneapolis
W.A. Frost and Co.
How you get warm: When you cozy up next to the mammoth brick hearth in this St. Paul gem, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time. In a way, you are, as the building dates back to 1889.
You’re going to: Sip wine and eat a warming dinner with someone special.
Find it: 374 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-224-5715, wafrost.com
How you get warm: The slate-colored brickwork is the centerpiece of this quaint, arched-roof dining area. The fireplace itself is small, but striking.
You’re going to: Fill up on French toast and farmer’s hash with the family at Sunday brunch.
Find it: 15435 Founders Lane, Apple Valley, 952-891-8808, vivomn.com
How you get warm: A furnace that feels like it could be in the captain’s quarters of a wooden ship has a classic, old-school allure.
You’re going to: Celebrate something with a dry martini and a juicy prime rib.
Find it: 1928 University Av. NE., Mpls., 612-789-7297, jaxcafe.com
Wilde Cafe & Spirits
How you get warm: This metal-encased fireplace feels like you pulled it straight from your grandmother’s house and plopped it down next to the Mississippi.
You’re going to: Get some time in with your laptop and a bowl-of-soup-sized cappuccino.
Find it: 65 SE. Main St., Mpls., 612-331-4544, wildecafe.com
St. Paul Hotel Lobby
How you get warm: Lush rugs and colorful wingback chairs surround a small but ornately designed fireplace.
You’re going to: Nosh on some marinated olives while savoring a Boulevardier cocktail with business clients.
Find it: 350 Market St., St. Paul, 651-228-3804, stpaulhotel.com/ dining/the_lobby_bar
Revival, St. Paul
How you get warm: Flanked by swaths of that instantly recognizable orange wallpaper, this small but effective fire pumps warmth and coziness into the main dining area.
You’re going to: Indulge in the ultimate comforting meal: fried chicken, collard greens and clams in a steaming broth.
Find it: 525 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-340-2355, revivalfriedchicken.com