Too cold to go out and eat or get a drink? Not necessarily. Here are some Lexington restaurants and bars with great fireplaces to warm you up while you eat; some are wood-burning, others gas, and a few are used for cooking.
▪ Charlie Brown’s, 816 East Euclid Avenue. This old-school Chevy Chase and UK hangout feels almost homey, with its squashy couches around a brick fireplace. Open for lunch and dinner, serving burgers and sandwiches.
▪ Middle Fork Kitchen Bar, 1224 Manchester Street, has gotten rave reviews from locals and national media alike. When it reopens Jan. 18 after a winter break, come for a seat around the wood-burning grill that chef Mark Jensen uses to cook on nightly.
▪ The Elkhorn Tavern, 1200 Manchester Street, is another option in the Pepper Distillery campus with a fireplace. Attached to the Barrel House Distillery, the tavern is installing a kitchen to also provide pub-style food with a Kentucky influence such as burgoo, local cheeses, elk meat burgers. Open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday; closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
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▪ Merrick Inn, 1074 Merrick Drive, has four fireplaces so your odds of getting a seat near one are good. You can ask to be near the wood-burning one in the newly redecorated bar or one of the three gas ones in the dining rooms. And right now, two people can get dinner for $50, with a shared appetizer and dessert. Ask for the 50 for 50 special.
▪ Brasabana, 841 Lane Allen Road, has a fireplace in the main dining room so you can warm up while you dive into some spicy Cuban chow.
▪ Drake’s and Malone’s Prime Events and Receptions at the Lansdowne Shopping Center both have fireplaces you can gather around. Malone’s Events and Receptions is open only for special booked events (good excuse for an office party?) but Drake’s is open daily for casual dining, featuring burgers and more for lunch and dinner.
▪ Harry’s, 3735 Palomar Center, also has a big patio enclosed with glass during the winter months so you can eat out there year round. Gathering near the fire is a guest favorite.
▪ Oscar Diggs, 155 North Limestone, is the new place from the chefs of the Gastro Gnomes food truck and Rooster Brewing of Paris. Opening any day now, the entry and bar area features a gas fireplace.
▪ Distilled at Gratz Park, 120 West Second Street, has a cozy bar centered around a fireplace. Every Tuesday the bar has live music from Ben Lacy and you can eat in there, too.
▪ Belle’s Cocktail House, 156 Market Street, is only open Thursday through Saturday and doesn’t serve food but it has a beautiful bar and a warm fireplace if you are looking for a great place to get a drink.
▪ Carson’s Food & Drink, 362 East Main Street, has a fireplace in the middle of the front wall and a firepit on the front patio, although that isn’t open for seating at the moment. Right now Carson’s has happy hour drink specials from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and check out the new mural of champion racehorse Rachel Alexandra.
▪ Brontë Bistro in Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 161 Lexington Green Cirlce, has a huge double-sided fireplace that warms the main part of the restaurant and bar nicely. On the other side are all the books you could want. Pretty much a perfect indulgence.
▪ Coles 735 Main, 735 East Main Street, has an elegant fireplace in the heart of the intimate dining room, perfect for a very special dinner. Open every night except Sunday.
▪ Blue Heron Steakhouse, 185 Jefferson Street, has a great wood-burning fireplace, terrific steaks and a full bar.
▪ The Grey Goose, 170 Jefferson Street, is another option in the heart of the Jefferson Street dining district. Open for lunch and dinner, it has an enclosed patio with a firepit to warm things up. Serves pizza, burgers and more.
▪ Bella Notte, 3715 Nicholasville Road, also has a large enclosed patio with a big fireplace if you need an excuse to carb up with great pasta and ricotta doughnuts for the winter.
▪ Crust, 2573 Richmond Road, has a gas fireplace in addition to the wood-fired pizza oven to keep you warm.
▪ Dudley’s on Short, 259 West Short Street, has a lovely fireplace in the Elk Room. It’s mostly for show but puts out a little heat, so you can be warm without roasting even if you’re sitting right next to it.
▪ Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, 110 Marion at The Summit, has a coal-fired oven in the open kitchen so you can watch your pizza go in and come out piping hot.
▪ Cracker Barrel, 2220 Elkhorn Road and 1927 Stanton Way, has a fireplace in every restaurant and their breakfast is hard to top. Unless you try their lunch or dinner.