It’s Finally Raining! Where’s the Fire?
Cold, damp weather and yes, even a frizzle of rain, is the perfect excuse to spend an afternoon inside, playing games and enjoying the radiant warmth of a fire. In San Francisco, there is no shortage of restaurants, bars and hotels with fireplaces, but these five offer a great atmosphere and a hefty dose of old-school and new-school classic San Francisco.
Neighborhood Nob Hill regulars have long made Zeki’s Bar their home away from home and the recent remodel to add a second fireplace means Zeki’s is more welcoming than ever. Surrounded by leatherbound booths and stools, the two fireplaces offer enough room for everyone to sit by the fire. Grab a classic Manhattan and thaw out over a game of dice or battleship. The pool table beckons but to play a round risks losing your seat next to the heat.
Overlooking Ocean Beach, Park Chalet knows its fog from its winter rain and keeps the fires burning year-round, thank you very much. The newly remodeled floor-to-tall-ceiling stone fireplace has seating for 12 guests on stylish wicker chairs. Pull the curtains to eliminate the draft and make the room within a room a cozy parlor, ideal for sipping one of the IPA’s from the on-premise brewery. Park Chalet is so committed to keeping you warm, they offer a menu of firepits that can be pre-ordered for any outdoor gathering.
Inside the storied environs of the Tenderloin's Phoenix Hotel, midcentury rock ’n’ roll gives way to modern cool at the in-house restaurant, Chambers Eat + Drink. Golden-hued lighting casts a warm glow on shelves of LPs, 21st century art and beaming discotheque-ish ball lamps but it is the extended chaise in front of the glowing fireplace that anchors the long room. It is cozy here but with a seat this close to the bar, it is easy to order one of Chambers’ signature “drinks” or small plates. The unagi with foie gras torchon and strawberry umeboshi is not to be missed.
Swathed in green leather tacked to high polish wood, the classic, Edwardian-era club chairs in front of the tall fireplace at Big 4, the restaurant inside Nob Hill's Scarlet Huntington hotel, are appealingly classic. Once seated, you feel so cozy, it is almost impossible to leave. Never mind. Here, the Doric columned fireplace boasts a scene on its mantel of frolicking cherubs, a visual antidote to the season’s garish glitz. Grab a burger or grilled cheese and tomato soup from the bar menu or while away an hour with a barrel-aged cocktail before the demands of the season propel you back outside.
On the mezzanine level of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square, big red chairs and a fireplace garlanded with fir branches, holiday lights and seasonal Victorian icons of Christmas welcome guests. It buzzes here with everyone from blue-shirted dudes with laptops and cell phones to families checking out the scene, but the electric fire log (oh-so campfire!) manages to get everyone to pause, if only for a moment, before heading out to enjoy the downtown holiday scene.