If you're currently suffering from the seasonal blues, fear not, the best remedy is to channel some summertime sunshine and head to a patio. But not just any patio.
When "Winter Is Coming," these spots do not fret about the chilly air -- they are armed with amenities and offer guests plenty of coziness such as wool blankets, robes, roaring fireplaces, and patio heaters. And let's not forget about specialty cocktails and comforting treats that are sure to warm you from the inside out.
The following are my favourite wintertime patios in Canada and the Northern United States that 'bring the heat'.
Big Crow - Toronto, Ontario
In the summer, the Big Crow feels like your best friend's killer talk-of-the town cookout; it is akin to a breezy picnic filled with brisket, ribs, and mile-high meat sandwiches. In the wintertime, the party doesn't stop; the space is transformed into an enclosed log cabin hideaway. Don't worry about missing it; although it's a bit of a tucked-away oasis, you'll usually see (and smell) BBQ smoke emanating down the alleyway and onto the street. At Big Crow, it's all about good grub and lots of sharing. The restaurant seats 60 guests at their communal tables.
No shivering here; they deck the space out with heaters, supply blankets to guests, and cover wood bench seating with leather hides for insulation.
Drink to order:
Root beer and bourbon is can be ordered by the glass or pitcher but the latter makes you more friends. Highly recommended. The magic is in the mix: bourbon, bokers bitters, root beer.
Little Brick Cafe & General Store - Edmonton, Alberta
The prairies get some much deserved love and warmth. At Little Brick, a cozy-country style vibe is offered; it is saddled with equal amounts of comforting fare à la favourites such as Chicken Stew with house-made fresh biscuits, and Pine Haven Bacon and Eggs featuring thick-cut porky goodness, apple cider hollandaise and local soft boiled eggs on toast. Don't forget to order it with a side of sautéed potatoes. Ideally located in the river valley, soak up some pristine views of mother nature with your meal.
Above -15°C, wood fire pits will always be available to get toasty by; heat lamps are nearby to provide extra warmth. It's an ideal spot to relax after a day of skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking through snowy trails.
Drink to order:
Sea Cider Pippins (Organic) - a sharpness from the Newton Pippin apples used as well as cool fermentation from champagne yeast gives this Vancouver Island cider pineapple and candy notes.
Assembly: The Logan Philadelphia - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A welcoming, chic environment and modern aesthetic greets you at Assembly's open-air lounge, bar, and patio. Located nine stories high and perched atop of The Logan Philadelphia Hotel, highlights include an illuminated bar, with charcoal and beige tones throughout the space.
There's plenty of room to mingle in with 2500 square feet of space; the patio itself seats 200 comfortably. Views of Benjamin Franklin Parkway are stunning, especially at dawn and at dusk where light illuminates the plentiful art gallery and museum scenes. Bundle up and head to the top of The Logan; linger over cocktails and gaze at the Logan Square neighbourhood whose energetic spirit will no doubt get you fired up.
Charcoal fireplaces stationed in front of cushy seating offer warmth as you nestle into wool blankets provided on site.
Drink to order:
Champagne cocktails are the specialties here. Opt for The Prince of Wales that features Whistle Pig Rye 10yr, maraschino, broiled pineapple, and "Cuvée 17" J Dumangin & Fils Premier Cru Champagne. It tastes like tropical paradise in a glass.
230 Fifth - New York City, New York
Literally and figuratively, this place offers that 'cool' factor we all seek in a patio. The semi-heated, vast rooftop bar and garden -- with 14,000 square feet of room -- accommodates up to 1200 guests.
At 20 stories high, you'll have prime views of the Manhattan skyline, including The Empire State Building; undoubtedly, there will be swoon-worthy images aplenty to capture and share with friends and family.
A piece of advice: It can be overwhelmingly crowded on the weekends, so plan to come here on a weeknight.
Patrons are loaned red robes to don; heat lamps are stationed throughout the patio space. But the talk-of-the-town feature would have to be the heated winter igloos. Fashioned out of PVC and PE plastic, they seat about 11 people; each one is supplied with a heater. Best of all, they're about 15 to 20 degrees warmer compared with that of the outside nippy weather.
Drink to order:
Popular winter drinks include Pumpkin Patch and Spiced Whiskey Martinis, or hot drinks such as Apple Cider, Hot Chocolate, Irish Coffee, or Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate.
A Bar+ Kitchen: Avenue Suites (a Modus Hotel) - Washington, The District of Columbia
Located in the Avenue Suites Hotel in Georgetown, A Bar + Kitchen's expansive outdoor terrace is located at the back of the building. Ideally situated, the patio is a mere mile away from landmark spots such as the White House, the National Mall and Memorial Parks.
Flowing out from the indoor lounge to the outside, plenty of privacy is afforded despite its city digs, thanks to greenery walls which offers intimacy and albeit, a bit of shelter from cold winds. With splashes of colour, its modern and relaxed environment is ideal for the after-work crowd and casual dates with friends. This is a spot to kick off your shoes and channel your inner child -- especially when you can order your very own s'mores kit and roast marshmallows on the open fire!
Two fire pits roar with heat on the patio; four area heaters are situated nearby as an added measure of warmth during the frosty, winter season. Blankets are also provided to guests.
Drink to order:
Guests can create their own seasonal libations at the do-it-yourself hot cider bar with cinnamon sticks and mulling spices; then add a big swig of Bourbon or Dark Spiced rum.
Boozy hot chocolate is also a winner: opt to add marshmallows, peppermint and other toppings, then add a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream, Bourbon, or Peppermint Schnapps.
Note: Bar selections may be limited or altered; A Bar + Kitchen is currently undergoing renovations, but the patio is unaffected and remains open for the winter season.
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