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Four Warm Bars to Melt Away Winter Blues

Dec 20, 2013
Four Warm Bars to Melt Away Winter BluesHot drinks and warm hearths make these watering holes worth a trip out in the freezing cold. Old Oak Tap (Ukrainian Village | 2109 W. Chicago Ave.) The ceiling is high and the decor is gothic at Old Oak Tap, but it's well-suited for warming up in the winter. If you can, sit right in front of the fireplace at the small, two-person table. Otherwise, take a seat at the bar and start working through the formidable beer list. It includes the great Rocky's Revenge bourbon brown ale, among about 70 others—more than enough to get you through the winter. – Molly Metzig The Radler (Logan Square | 2375 N. Milwaukee Ave.) A former industrial loft with soaring ceilings and bare brick walls, The Radler has no fireplace. But it does have a bright, open kitchen that fills the space with warmth, as well as comforting smells of European dishes: knockwurst with apples, venison schnitzel, and lemony spaetzle, to name a few. There are other warm, homey details: two-top tables, each made from rough-cut wood (mine boasted a knot-hole big enough to stick your finger through); and three massive grandfather clocks that anchor the bar. – Will Landon The Monkey’s Paw (Lincoln Park | 2524 N. Southport Ave.) This whiskey-loving, farm-to-table restaurant would be in the running for coziest bar in this stretch of Lincoln Park simply by virtue of not being wallpapered in flat-screen TVs. Of course, the exposed-brick walls, warm lighting, and rustic chalkboard menus help a lot, too. So does the fireplace, which is set off in a library-like nook lined with bookshelves. Absorb warmth from the embers as you lounge in one of the nearby easy chairs with a craft cocktail or whiskey flight. – Nathalie Lagerfeld Galway Arms (Lincoln Park | 2442 N. Clark St.) Though there are no shortage of Irish bars in Chicago, Galway Arms is really the only one worth a trek in the cold, blustery winter months. Its cozy booths tuck into a somehow unending supply of corners, which all seem private, yet connected to the bar’s jovial cheer and laughter. Strung with Christmas lights year-round, the bar itself pours foamy pours of Guinness and mixes a full menu of warm drinks (in the winter months). There are staples like hot cider, as well as more unique options like the Cinnamon Toast Crunch—a blend of Captain Morgan, cider, and a cinnamon stick. If you’re really brave, there’s the patio, where you can still bask in the warmth of the heat lamps while watching snow fall onto Clark Street. – Jasmine Feldmann Photo courtesy of Old Oak Tap