Brrr, It's Cold in Here: Chicago's Best Winter Hideouts

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:21pm

When the temperature in Chicago hits below 20 degrees, there's not much appealing about heading outside. Personally, on those days I'd give anything to stay cuddled in front of a fireplace, sipping hot chocolate with five blankets on top of me. Then I remember my college days, when a snow (or cold) day meant heading down to the local watering hole, playing darts all day and putting off our homework. 

Although we're not all in college anymore, we can still act like it sometimes...right? So, here are some of the best places in Chicago to hideout from old man winter. From wood burning fireplaces to delicious food to warm your tummy, these places have all it takes to cure your sub-zero blues. Maybe, if you're lucky, they may even let you hide out until summer.


Au Cheval (800 West Randolph Street) – The inside of this contemporary, chic diner is lit only by candle light and hanging globes over the bar, so it literally glows. On those cold, snowy days when you just don’t want to leave your bed, stop at Au Cheval and it will warm your soul. 

Try This: One of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever had in my life. A single cheeseburger is actually a double, and a double actually a quadruple. Add an egg ('Au Cheval style') to make it even more amazing. Pair this with something light and slightly hoppy, like Three Floyd’s Pride and Joy Mild Ale.

Four Moon Tavern (1847 West Roscoe Street) – Four Moons is the definition of “neighborhood favorite.” If you live in Roscoe Village and are snowed (or frozen) in, bundle-up for a few blocks and take shelter in this comfy local gem. Occupy your time with good beer, tasty food and a competitive game of pool. 

Try This:  This place is all about comfort food. My favorite is the Chicken Gyro with an Avery IPA, but they have amazing daily specials. Friday = all you can eat fish and chips!

Hopleaf (5148 North Clark Street) – Sitting in front of a roaring, wood-burning fireplace among friends, laughing with full bellies and sipping on some delicious brews. Snowed in at a country cottage? Nope, just chilling at Hopleaf. 

Try This: The mussels steamed in white wine with bacony leeks, Yukon Gold potatoes, oyster mushrooms and rosemary. Pair this with Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeux farmhouse ale. 

Sheffield’s (3258 North Sheffield Avenue) ­– In the summer, Sheffield’s beer garden is one of the most popular beer gardens in the city. In the winter, the inside offers a cozy, casual atmosphere filled with the scent of smoked barbeque and tons of great beer options. 

Try This: The Brisket Sandwich paired with Half Acre’s Alpenglow black ale. The roasted malt flavor compliments the smokiness of the brisket. If you’re feeling crazy, get the sandwich Sheffield style (Pimento cheese, grilled onions and pickled jalapenos.  Apply your choice of BBQ sauce as needed and enjoy. 

Honorable Mention

The Bad Apple (4300 North Lincoln) - Try the Edmund Fig-Gerald with a 5 Rabbit Cerveceria Ki'Chun.

Farmhouse (228 West Chicago) - Try the pan roasted Lake Superior Whitefish paired with Brewery Vivant’s Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale. 

Root's Pizza (1924 West Chicago) - Try the taco pizza with a Summit Brewing Company Pilsner.


Follow me on Twitter! @sa_oneill

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Sarah O'Neill
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