Stay Warm This Winter: Cosy New York Venues

Written by Julia O’Brien

It goes without saying that it’s bloody freezing right now! Whether it’s your first winter in New York or you’re a hardened local, with temps threatening to plunge into the minus degrees fahrenheit, it’s cold by anyone’s standards.

And while we very much endorse staying inside you apartment, binging on Netflix under the doona, with Seamless on the way, there are going to be times when you have to leave the house.

If you’re wondering how to stay warm this winter, here are a few of our top picks for cosy New York venues: bars and restaurants in New York City that offer a warm vibe. Spoiler alert: they all have fireplaces.

Alta | 64 West 10th Street 
This Mediterranean restaurant is one of my favourite places to get tapas in New York no matter what time of year (their brussel sprouts served with apple is what changed my mind on those little green cabbages). But in winter, Alta also offers a deliciously warm place to dine with not one, but two fireplaces! Complete with exposed wood beams and twinkling candles a plenty, you’ll forget the outside temps in a jiffy.

Top of the Standard | Standard Hotel, 848 Washington St
A tried and tested out-of-towner go-to, Top of the Standard offers a complete package: superior cocktails, sweeping downtown Manhattan views, people watching and (often) some live jazz music. At this time of year you can add to that list…yep…a fireplace. The owners have gone to great lengths to ensure every last details of this bar is in sync with their 1970 décor and the fireplace is no exception. Hot toddy!

Art Bar | 52 8th Avenue
Art Bar offers two things that you’re going to like this winter: a working fireplace and a cracking happy hour. This mainstay of the West Village offers a lounge room vibe in their cosy back room and every night from 4pm – 7pm beer, hour wines and basic drinks are half price. Warmth and savings? Yes please!

Tavern on the Green | Central Park West at 67th Street
I used to think Tavern on the Green was just a big, sticky tourist trap. I only ever went there to use their bathrooms when nature called during a Central Park picnic. Turns out, it’s actually kinda decent. And if you don’t feel like forking out for a meal, then grab a drink and some snacks at the bar and warm your cockles by their impressive open fireplace on a comfy couch.

What are you waiting for? Now you know how to stay warm this winter with our guide to cosy New York venues.

Rolf’s Bar and Restaurant: Like Dining in a Christmas Tree

Are you partial to a little sparkle during the holiday season? Maybe you’re one of those people with a secret soft spot for Christmas decorations? Then boy, oh boy, do I have the place for you.

Every year, the folks at Rolf’s Bar and Restaurant adorn their space with a jaw-dropping array of baubles, fairy-lights and festive cheer. It’s basically like dining inside a Christmas tree. Be sure to pop on your best/worst Christmas sweater and head over to check out the spectacle.

Rolf’s serves hearty German plates and giant schooners of beer. The meals are considered to be on the pricey side, even for Manhattan. On the other hand, you get to experience festive cheer like nowhere else at such a unique place that is so beautifully decorated – definitely an “only in New York” experience to cross off your NYC bucket list.

Reservations are recommended. You could chance it by taking your place in the queue before opening time at noon but be warned that wait times can be up to an hour long. However if you can’t get a table during holiday season, know that the decorations stay up until April.

In fact, it reminds me a little of Panna, that crazy Indian restaurant in the East Village chock-a-block with multi-colored lights.

Progressive dinner anyone?


Tavern on the Green – A New York icon back in a new guise

 by Cate Versegi

Only second lunch service since re-opening

……So I was willing to cut them some slack. Last time I was here was late summer 2005 , for dinner with friends . The tone of the place was overblown chintz , kitsch gift store offerings and pedestrian food – but a lingering sense of past glory pervaded. Faded and jaded it was – although to the hordes of tourists dining there for “the experience” (of which I was one…) this was the place the likes of Grace Kelly , Marilyn, JFK and Jacqui, Frank Sinatra and later John Lennon and ilk, chose to dine. Whilst this place indeed was New York dining royalty – I felt it certainly was time for the old girl to get a szhzooszh.

totg interior 1Four years later they closed their doors. Built in the 1870’s to house sheep that grazed on Central Parks Sheep’s Meadow , Tavern on the Green began its life as a restaurant in 1934. It later served as a public visitors centre 2010 – 2012, before being transformed into the very attractive , light , airy and accessible restaurant it is today.

I waited for my fellow ‘lady-who-lunches’ at the bar. Service was quick and my Prosecco well chilled. I was delighted to see a whimsical brass light-wheel above the bar and that all tables and chairs faced the bucolic view. Red studded banquettes started to fill with diners. It was here that I also noted the staff uniforms. Casual – tick, commis in black polo shirts – tick…but the wait staff all wore sad looking unironed shirts. Pet aversion of mine. If you are going to ask your staff wear a shirt and tie at LEAST make sure the fabric stands up to the rigours of hours of service. Continue reading