Fire, Dim Lighting, & Drinks: Seven of the Coziest Places to Go in Manhattan

New York apartments are small. But they feel their tiniest towards mid-march, when you know spring is trickling in, but it could be another two months of  cold. Holed up with a horrible roommate? Can’t stand that screeching radiator? Follow my lead and escape to some of these cozy Manhattan hideaways to seek refuge from whatever’s got you down this winter:

Tiny’s and the Bar Upstairs (TriBeCa)

Tiny's Bar

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Head to the back room at Tiny’s for a homey meal by the wood burning fireplace. The building dates back to 1810 and much of the original materials have been restored. Rooms are adorned with original tin ceilings, antique wallpaper, rustic wood paneling, and hand-made tile. Last time I was here, the people next to me were roasting marshmallows and making s’mores in between courses of exotic mushroom soup and roast chicken. This was probably frowned upon by the servers for obvious reasons, but the restaurant is so heartfelt and cozy it makes you want to embrace your inner camper.

Lucien (East Village)

Cafe Lucien

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It’s impossible not to snuggle up in this buzzing and beautiful little French bistro— it’s so tiny you have probably walked past and didn’t see it. Bring a journal or the newspaper, order a glass of the house red, call the bartender by his first name and feel right at home with some of the off-the-wall regulars who make this place a transportive experience unlike any other. If you really feel like indulging, get the Steak Frites Traditionnelle. and the Soup à lOignon. Not to mention Lucien’s fries are some of the best I’ve had. And I’m a fry connoisseur.

ABC Beer Company (Alphabet City) 

ABC Beer Company

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This Alphabet-city locals’ hangout is an ideal spot to hibernate from winter’s wrath. The rustic, unpretentious interior provides a cozy feeling akin to a mountain get-away. With a killer list of craft beer and a well-curated menu of charcuterie and cheese plates including a melted beer cheese that’s to die for, you can find me spending the entire afternoon here. I’ll be curled up in one of their big leather chairs with a book, catching the game (or more likely, The Oscars) on their movie-style projector screen, making eyes at one of the cute flannel-clad bartenders.

The Marlton Hotel (West Village) 

The Marlton Hotel

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The Marlton has played host to plenty of famous artists and poets since it was built in 1900, and continues to act as a refuge for the city’s artistic types to this day. Enveloped in gorgeous dark wood, covered in lush oriental carpets and boasting a roaring fireplace, this is everything a bar in winter should be. It’s toasty, intimate and serves up a strong Old Fashioned, which is the perfect combination to inspire you out of that winter funk and onto your next Kerouac-worthy breakthrough.

Sugo (East Village)


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Many hang out here while waiting for dinner at Supper next door. But for me, Sugo, is the best place to cozy up, still order everything from the Supper menu, and linger for a little while longer as long as you’re okay with the bar seating. I often escape to Sugo to indulge in comforting bowls of homemade kale gnocchi and a glass (or three) of Barbera.

Dopo East (Upper Eastside) 

Dopo East

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On frigid Saturday nights, Dopo East provides live piano and a beautiful diamond-wearing broadway-esque performer who encourages you to sing along to all the hits from Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald. It felt a little like I stepped into a Woody Allen film, or back in time, as I sipped Grappa and dined on imported burrata cheese and black truffle ricotta ravioli. Dopo East also has a wine cellar for private dining, and a covered patio so you can still sit outside in the winter. I’ve heard Mick Jagger has been known to dine here. I didn’t seen him on my last visit, but the Tiramisu was so good, I didn’t mind.

ShoolBred’s (East Village)


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This Scottish-themed bar has custom wood paneling that covers the walls and ceiling. The hot toddy will not disappoint, neither will the fireplace and comfortable armchairs.

Well, there you have it, seven cozy places to spend the next weeks exploring before the warm weather arrives. Maybe winter isn’t so bad, after all.

Have you been to one of these spots, or have another favorite place to cozy up for the winter?

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