We're staring down the barrel at six more weeks of winter. Minimum. The optimists among us are chirping about how the worst is over, and mathematically speaking, they're right. But sometimes that last slog through sub-zero temps hurts the most. Our lips are chapped, our skin is pale, and our butt cheeks are in a permanent cold-induced clench. Barring a last-minute flight to Cabo, what's it gonna take to get through these last few weeks alive?
See also: The 10 Best Minnesota Beers
It's time to go back to the basics. The surest way to soften the winter blues is to sidle up to a blazing fire with a drink in hand. Let the warmth of the booze and the heat of the flames make your body forget about the misery that lies outside. Throw in a friend or two, a frivolous conversation, and maybe a basket of chicken wings, and spring will feel just a few sunny days away.
Bonfire on Grand, 850 Grand Ave., St. Paul Hours: Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-midnight, Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Happy Hour: Daily from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.- close, $2 off all cocktails, wine, and beer; half price on appetizers, wood-fired pizzas, and flatbreads. Type of fire: Indoor Ways to warm up: True to its namesake, this local chain delivers big in the roaring fire category. The Grand Avenue location features a large hearth in the center of the bar with lots of adjacent seating. Add a twice-daily happy hour to the mix (held during the times you'll actually want to drink), and you've got a solid inexpensive option for drinking and dining fireside.
Clubhouse Jäger, 923 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis Hours: Monday & Tuesday: 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Wednesday - Saturday: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 4-10 p.m.; $3.50 rail drinks, $3.50 tap beers Type of fire: Indoor and Outdoor Ways to warm up: Visit Clubhouse Jäger on Wednesdays when D.J. Jake Rudh hosts "Transmission." You can work up a sweat dancing to the new wave songs he spins, then duck out back for a blast of cold air. Thankfully it won't be too frigid, thanks to Jäger's outdoor fire pit. Stop by on another night if you want to throw a round of darts in the back room next to their indoor fire.
Grumpy's Northeast, 2200 Fourth St. NE, Minneapolis Hours: Daily from 2 p.m.- 2 a.m. Happy Hour: Ongoing specials everyday. Check their website. Type of fire: Outdoor Ways to warm up: The fire at Grumpy's is decidedly lo-fi. Okay, we're not gonna lie, it's just a barrel in their back yard. But there's something elemental about gathering with your fellow drinkers (and/or smokers) around a fiery blaze. Throw in some cheap beers and a bump or two of whiskey and it can be downright therapeutic.
The Happy Gnome, 498 Selby Ave., St. Paul Hours: Monday-Wednesday from 11 a.m.- midnight, Thursday-Friday from 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m.- midnight Happy Hour: Monday-Friday from 4 p.m.- 6 p.m., $1 off all drinks Type of fire: Indoor Ways to warm up: With 77 beers on tap, the Happy Gnome is a haven for craft beer enthusiasts, but did you know it's great for cheese-lovers, too? Try to score a booth in the main room, near the fire, and order an artisan cheese plate to accompany your pint. Or, if you're feeling more French Canadian than French, split an order of poutine fireside with a friend.
The Local, 931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis Hours: Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.- 2 a.m., Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m.- 2 a.m. Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. and Sunday, 9 p.m.- close, all pints, rail drinks and selected wines are $4.50 and Big Ginger cocktails are $5.50; weekly specials in addition Type of fire: Indoor Ways to warm up: Tucked in the back of this expansive downtown pub is a room known as the "Sanctuary." With its wood-burning fireplace and aged wallpaper the room has a warm and intimate feel. As you sip your tumbler of Irish whiskey, and stare blissfully into the fire, you'll feel you have nowhere else to be. And with snow on the ground until April, you don't!
Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis Hours: Monday-Friday from 4 p.m.- 2 a.m., Saturday-Sunday from 8 a.m.- 2 a.m. Happy Hour: Daily from 4-7 p.m. Type of fire: Outdoor How to warm up: The Nomad is another spot for more robust fire lovers to gather (see Grumpy's above). Warning: Standing outside near the bocce courts buried in snow may produce a strong pang for summer. Order another pint and meditate on how absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or, for the less sentimental, order shots of tequila until it doesn't matter what season we're in.
Pig & Fiddle, 3812 W. 50th St., Minneapolis Hours: Daily from 3 p.m.- 1 a.m. Happy Hour: Daily from 3 p.m.- 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.- midnight, $2 off Minnesota beers, well drinks, and selected wines Type of fire: Indoor How to warm up: This cozy southwest Minneapolis gastropub is an ideal spot for a weeknight pick-me-up. There are plenty of beers on draft to choose from -- 36 at last count -- and a sizable menu to go along with them. With a great late-night happy hour, this is an ideal spot to have a snack and a pint by the fire.
Riverview Wine Bar, 3747 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis Hours: Tuesday from 5 p.m.- 10 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday from 5 p.m.- 11 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 5 p.m.- midnight and Sunday from 5p.m.- 10 p.m. Type of fire: Indoor How to warm up: Why should beer drinkers have all the fun? The Riverview Wine Bar in Longfellow is a refuge for oenophiles and casual wine drinkers alike. The fireplace in the lounge area is the perfect perch for watching falling snow or watching moviegoers line up outside the blinking Riverview Theater marquee.
The W. Hotel, 821 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis Hours: Sunday from 3 p.m.- midnight, Monday-Wednesday from 3 p.m.- 1 a.m., Thursday-Saturday from 3 p.m.- 2 a.m. Happy Hour: Daily from 5 p.m.- 7 p.m., $6 drinks Type of fire: Indoor How to warm up: Ignore the obvious irony. You came to warm up and everyone around you is wearing very little clothing. The W. Hotel's Living Room bar is a sleek, sexy place for lounging next to a fire, not huddling. Forget for a minute that it's -2 outside. Order an overpriced cocktail and enjoy the heat against your bare skin.
W.A. Frost , 374 Selby Ave., St. Paul Hours: Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m.- midnight and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Happy Hour: Monday-Friday from 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.- 11 p.m. Type of fire: Indoor How to warm up: W.A. Frost's basement lounge is the coziest fireside haunt of the bunch. A bonus: In the winter they have one of the best hot toddy menus in the Twin Cities. Lounge next to the fire with your spiked hot cocoa knowing that soon that drink will be replaced by gin and tonics on the patio. And just like that, another winter will be done.
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