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Low key, cozy, cold weather place?

HELP! I'm desperately searching for a good place for a solid meal, good drinks and excellent cold weather atmosphere. Someplace like Brazenhead in SF or the Red Lion in Cohasset. The food need not be over the top, just solid, with good service. I'm not looking for a sports bar and I'm not looking for some super trendy pickup spot.

Think fireplace, dark wood, a nice hanger steak and a vodka gimlet.

Ideal location would be somewhere between backbay and the south end.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

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  1. I think Franklin Cafe is a great cold weather place. The only problem is getting a table. And you need to be careful there - 3 times we have had parties who came in after us get tables before us (has this ever happened to anyone else on the board? I'd love to know.). But we always seem to go back because it provides just the kind of atmosphere you describe.

    2 Replies
      1. re: pollystyrene

        No, but there should be! There are not enough places with fireplaces in this city. Upstairs on the Square's Monday Club Bar has two fabulous fireplaces that are lovely to sit next to, food is good, cocktails are solid. But for some reason, I don't put it in this category. May be all the pink and gilt, may be the way the room is laid out (no booths, everyone sitting all out in the open with just a couple of tables that are exceptions). I, personally, think seating is equally important in the ideal low-key, cozy, cold weather place. And, yes, it seems I am hijacking bacchanal's post!

    1. The very first place that came to my mind was Beacon Hill Bistro, on Charles. I remember being struck the first time we went there that the woman sitting at the next table opened up her newspaper and read it while she was having her pre-dinner cocktail at her table. It's the sort of room where someone could do that without being jarringly out of place. Food is more than decent: I'm a particular fan of the steak frites.

      1. I was at James Gate in JP on Sunday and it was pretty nice. Cozy with a fireplace...but I don't know much about the food or drinks. I had a couple pints of Guinness and the girl had a few Bloody's...both were good and it was perfect for a cold and rainy day.
        It was really quiet as well - but that could have just been as it was the tail end of a holiday weekend.

        3 Replies
        1. re: rknrll

          No hangar steaks, but some other good comfort food, including extremely good shepard's pie. I always choose from their solid draught beer line-up - it doesn't have a cocktail vibe (unless whiskey is your drink). Think more very good Irish pub. The food on the restaurant side is more upscale, but there is no fireplace on that side.

          1. re: rknrll

            Took some friends there recently and dined on the other side. This had been a favorite of mine for a while, but each time it has slipped a little more. The 'casual' side is the better of the two, at this point, and IMHO

            1. re: random amblings

              I agree with you on that 100%. As a matter of fact, if it's too crowded on the pub side and we end up sitting on the other side, we always ask for the pub menu. Other than a salad, I haven't had anything off the fancier side that I've enjoyed in a couple of years now. Strange, because the pub food is really, really good.

          2. Christopher's in Cambridge is pretty cozy and they have a roaring fireplace on cold days. Their food is mostly good, IMO.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hiddenboston

              I will dare to mention a chain on here, but Smith and Wollensky is in the right vicinity, has a huge fireplace and is not that unreasonable. I like going there for drinks etc. when there is a big blizzard going on.

            2. For pre-dinner drinks -- the bar at the old Ritz (have a hard time calling it the Taj) if you can get a seat by the window and look out at the Public Garden.

              1. In Harvard Square The Red House has a fireplace and is very nice and cozy, particularly in the front area. Food is good too.

                1. It doesn't fit your location request, but I always find the Washington Square Tavern in Brookline to be a great snowy-evening hang.

                    1. The Oak Room at the Fairmont Copley Hotel? Dark wood, nice atmosphere. I find it quite cozy.

                      1. I'll add Grotto (Gov Ctr) and Blue Room (MIT).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jajjguy

                          This might be on the higher end (but not too too high)- but the Sel de la Terre at the Mandarin is pretty cozy and feels great for wintery nights. I can't remember if there is a fireplace or not, but its that type of feeling.