Cozy Bars, Warm Spirits

Escape the cold at these seven cozy bars around the state.

When knit hats and scarves pulled just to your eyes don’t cut it, banish Illinois’ chill from your bones at one of the state’s coziest bars.

I/O Godfrey

After a day shopping on the Magnificent Mile, you may be tempted to retire to your room at the Godfrey Hotel Chicago. Resist long enough to visit the rooftop lounge boasting marshmallows for roasting over the fire pits and transparent heated igloos, the coziest vantage point for city views—hot toddy in hand, of course.

Upstairs at The Gwen

Sure, guiding the granite stone toward the “button” (or bullseye) on Chicago’s only rooftop curling rink, located atop the Gwen Hotel, may turn your fingers to ice. Luckily, the fire feature at the center of the rink-side communal table is the perfect place to thaw them while sipping your buttered rum with a splash of apple cider.

Peninsula Sky Rink

Visitors work up an appetite for Chicago Restaurant Week’s prix fixe menus (served at more than 400 participating eateries starting January 24) on the 2,100-square-foot skating rink at The Peninsula Chicago hotel. Exercise isn’t the only way to combat the cold on the fourth-floor terrace, though. Space heaters outside the sapphire-blue Chalet, which stocks hot chocolate and mulled wine, keep onlookers warm.


Art prints at Logan Square’s Galerie F, a celebration of street art, are inexpensive enough that you’ll have cash leftover for a craft cocktail at Scofflaws. If the fireplace and soft orange glow reflecting off the pressed-tin ceilings didn’t already feel like a warm hug, the bar serves fresh-baked cookies at midnight.

Around the State

Pere Marquette Lodge

In the great room of this Grafton hotel, 50-foot vaulted ceilings soar above the hulking, 700-ton fireplace. It’s lit daily to help guests defrost after watching for bald eagles in Pere Marquette State Park (the best time to spot one is in January or February).

Obed and Isaac’s Springfield

A preserved Italiante-style mansion hosts a brewpub serving wood-fired pizza, less than a block away from Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois abode. Chandeliers cast a toasty light—as does the fire flickering behind an ornate iron grate. Bonus: The heated indoor pool at Wyndham Springfield City Centre is just a five-minute walk away.

Big Grove Tavern

If you need a change of atmosphere after cheering on the Fighting Illini at the State Farm Center, this Champaign eatery’s twinkly light and belly-warming rum with a smoky maple-sage syrup will ensure you feel snug—even if you don’t land a spot near one of the two fireplaces.

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