With the memories of one of the hottest English summer far behind us, it is only natural that we may be in slight denial about the impending winter months. Whilst we can’t prevent the air getting colder and nights getting darker, we can prevent it from ruining our fun when it comes to eating and drinking out.
Granted, the alfresco days may be over, but this simply opens new opportunities to head inside and escape instead of embracing the great outdoors. Whether your wanting to wet your palette with a new cocktail bar, enjoy a festive feast with friends or cosy up with a new date: the following list of original, fun and snug venues will guarantee to keep you as far away from getting cold feet as possible.
If there’s one thing which instantly exudes warmth, it’s the image of cosying up in front of a roaring fire. Drawing on traditional methods, The Coal Shed specialises in cooking quality fish and meat over natural fire and charcoal. Located on the banks of the Thames near Tower Bridge, the meat and fish served here is both ethically and locally sourced, making it feel good food in more ways than one. If you aren’t toasty enough already, then let the dark wooden interior and vaulted ceilings take you away to a country cottage like surrounding. They’ve even introduced a festive feasting menu, especially for the winter months, with carefully selected, delicious dishes for either £45/£65 per person.
The capital is awash with old wine bars, but none are quite like Fino’s Wine Cellar. Fino’s opened in 1971 and claims to be “the original London wine bar”. The extensive wine list is accompanied by traditional Italian fare such as pasta and meat dishes, whilst sister venue Delfino serves pizza next door. The venue is made up of a copper-topped bar and passageways leading to secret alcoves and private dining rooms. So, get yourselves down to one of London’s best places to not only get cosy but sample great wine too.
Inspired by one of the greatest boxing promoters in history, Jack Solomons is a secret speakeasy located in the heart of Soho on the site of Solomons’ old gym. From street level the bar is completely hidden; you must locate the inconspicuous bell to be invited down. The basement is decked out with decadent velvet furnishings, a metal counter and red leather walls, giving it a plush yet modern vibe. The wooden bar is lit up, as are the endless amounts of spirit bottles – used to create both inventive and classic cocktails to warm your insides. Only open from Thursday through to Sunday, each night hosts an array of different music acts: a decidedly cool venue, hidden snugly away in a Soho basement.
[Image credit: Squaremeal]
Clarette is the only venue on this list which is potentially cosier from the outside than the inside. Set in a mock Tudor house, complete with stained glass windows, the exterior is as cosy as they come. Wine is at the forefront of the agenda, with a selection of the finest available and discovery wine flights available daily. The menu is described as ‘French dishes with a twist’; presented as canape style snacks and small plates. They also have a Festive private dining menu, ideal for the company Christmas dinner or a special group meal.
A list of the cosiest establishments in London wouldn’t be complete without a traditional British pub. A pint after work, a comforting meal and an escape from the cold – Brits are known for their pubs (and for how much they love them). The Ship Tavern is most certainly amongst the cosiest pubs within the city centre. The main bar is surrounded by dark wood and panelled windows, making you feel as though you have stepped back in time. In the upstairs dining room, mahogany walls lined with books, old clocks and antique paintings are complimented with a crackling open fire: the ultimate way to ensure your customers are feeling as snug as possible. Offering a comprehensive wine list, six ‘Cask Marque’ accredited real ales, and a brilliantly British menu, The Ship Tavern is the place to be when things get really chilly.