Maybe it's the fact that we actually had a great summer, but for some reason we're even less capable of putting up with a London winter than usual. That's why we've come up with a list of places in London that will warm the very cockles of your heart, not to mention your extremities.
Try any of the eating places on our list in the sure knowledge there’ll be an open fire of sorts, somewhere on the premises, to keep you toasty while you dine.
33 King Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8JD
Regularly referred to as London’s most romantic restaurant, you can blame your blushing cheeks on the roaring open fires at Covent Garden’s Clos Maggiore. Both its dining room and glass-roofed, blossom filled conservatory have log wood fires in the winter months. Add to this simple, Provencal food and an award-winning wine list and it’s easy to see how a little bit of romance may be kindled.
252 High Holborn London, Greater London WC1V 7EN
Holborn workers are wondering just what they did in a previous life to deserve this fabulous bar. Park yourself on the table by the fire at the back of this bar and keep up your energy with some cracking Black Pudding Scotch Eggs or Hampshire Brie Croquettes bar snacks.
48 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4EF
Score a table in the front dining room looking over Greek Street and you'll find a lovely fire adding to the tonnes of atmosphere this historic restaurant already has in spades. Obviously you're going to have the snails, but to ward off the cold we'd recommend the pistachio souffle too.
51 Lamb's Conduit St, London WC1N 3NB.
Stick to the bar rather than the restaurant and if you're lucky you'll nab a table by the fire in this lovely space which doesn't look like it's changed much since Dickens was knocking around. Right now, there's a Snails, Garlic & Parsley Risotto on the menu with our name on it.
25 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F 0DF
Descending to this boisterous basement restaurant, the seat you really want on a cold day is one of the counter ones, right up by the open fire. Kick things off with a bowl of lamb fat popcorn before spicing things up with a red curry beef skewer. And it's also worth checking out nearby Temper Covent Garden and sitting right down in front of their fiery pizza oven.
5 Vigo Street, London, W1S 3HA
The upstairs room of this superior store restaurant may be more popular, but if it's a fire you're after, head for one of the tables at the back of the dining room and order hot buttered crumpets from the aga.
Cambio de Tercio
163 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 0LJ
This longstanding modern tapas joint in Knightsbridge offers cutting edge Spanish gastronomy. Visit at the weekends for a three-course twist on the classic roast. Try flame grilled pluma or oxtail braised in red wine and finish with hot chocolate and churros – all served up in front of the fire.
10 Thornhill Road, Islington, London N1 1HW
In Summer, the Albion's huge garden is a draw, but in the winter you'll want to sit in the snug interior with a real fire, just inside the front door - perfect to huddle around while trying out its award winning Sunday lunch. We recommend the rib of beef with all the trimmings followed by apple and blackberry crumble with custard.
44 Barnsbury Street, London N1 1ER
This Barnsbury gastropub has much more offer than just its fabulous beer garden. In winter there are two open fires on either side of the downstairs dining area. The menu changes daily, but there's usually some sort of pie on offer (a suet crust salt beef pie at the time of writing - where 50p of the price goes to Action Against Hunger) to help you keep away the chills.
91 Junction Road, London N19 5QU
Like the sound of French onion soup with a cheese crouton, followed by roast partridge with squash, bacon and kale served up to you in front of a real fire? Then head to St John’s Tavern dining room where bread is baked daily on site, stocks are homemade, and ingredients are all as locally as possible.
26 Wenlock Rd, Hoxton, London N1 7TA
Nestling between City Road and the Regent's Canal, this award-winning pub has a cracking wood-fired stove keeping things warm and snug. Order yourself a pint of great beer, plus a Pieminster pie or toastie and settle in for the day (or night).
42-44 Gaisford St, Kentish Town, NW5 2ED
If you find yourself in Kentish Town and you’re looking for somewhere to warm up fast, head for the Lion & Unicorn for some good food and a chance to huddle by the fire. Aberdeen Angus beef stew with horseradish and parsley dumplings will warm your insides.
35 Wingate Road, Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith, W6 OUR
This busy, buzzing pub in Hammersmith has its seasonal menu chalked up on board. Warm up with some hearty fare - a recent dish or Roasted duck breast, caramelized chicory, kalettes and spiced cranberry jam sounded great - and warm your cockles by the roaring fire. The wine list’s vast and there’s a range of ales on tap. What more could you want from your local in the winter?
28 Chilworth St, London W2 6DT
The downstairs dining room of this Paddington pub is perfectly situated for the annual fireworks display in nearby Cleveland Square, and great frankly for any other wintry day when you're after somewhere to park yourself out of the cold. Although with open fires upstairs and downstairs you're spoilt for choice on where to enjoy the food - just don't forget to order their amazing chips too.
225 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 6HQ
This old Victorian inn at Ladbroke Grove is set over three floors, with an open plan bar, lounge and bistro. Baroque antique mirrors, stained oak floors, Victorian chandeliers and wood paneling provide a marvelous background for a warm, winter hangout. Enjoy exotic mushrooms risotto with truffle oil and buttery parmesan cream sauce by the fire. Still can’t face the cold? Then crash in one of the 12 upstairs bedrooms..
91 Lordship Ln, East Dulwich, London SE22 8EP
With not one but two working fires, this East Dulwich gastropub is a perfect spot for when the weather's Baltic. We love a menu where even the salads are warm and mozzarella comes crispy fried with a spicy harissa yogurt.
67-69 Abbeville Road, SW4 9JW
This cosy spot just south of Clapham Common has all manner of nooks and crannies so you can squeeze together to make the most of your fellow diners' bodily warmth as you eat. Or, you can sit next to or near the fire in the back section of the dining area. Right now a pumpkin and mushroom wellington would do very nicely.
31 Peckham Rye, London SE15 3NX
It may be known for its huge conservatory and garden, but the Rye also has a lovely fire if you're lucky enough to get close to it. We'll be ordering the beef shin and mushroom pie with mashed potatoes, charred greens and gravy to help keep the cold out.
41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, London SW18 1TB
This Wandsworth pub is a big favourite of locals. There's a huge roaring fire in the middle of the room, perfect if you've just come in from a walk along the Thames. Winter drinks include a mulled Loxley cider.
1-3 Parsons Green, London, SW6 4UL
This boozer on Parson's Green is looking good for its age. Recline in an old Chesterfield beside the roaring fire with a bunch of mates and order the whole rosemary & garlic Camembert baked in sourdough. We hear the ales are top notch too.
27 Coldharbour, Docklands, E14 9NS
This east London pub is a popular spot and you can take respite from the cold by having dinner in the Red Room with its large open fire. Desserts currently include a hearty warm banana sponge with caramelised coffee bean ice cream and bourbon sauce.
49-50 St John's Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JJ
Actually scoring a seat here is a big enough win in itself, but when you settle into your armchair and note the roaring fire while you peruse the seasonal cocktail list and order yourself a hot salt beef bun, you're going to feel like you've nailed this London winter lark.
10 Arcola Street, E8 2DJ
This tiny Turkish restaurant gives more space over to its ocak grill than it does to the tables, so you’re bound to enjoy a toasty evening. Better still, it’s BYO so if all else fails, you can use a nip or two of a hipflask filled with raki to numb the pain of frostbite.
55 Britton St, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 5UQ
Owned by the St Peter's Brewery, you know the beer's going to be great at this wonderfully atmospheric Clerkenwell pub. The food doesn't stray too far from solid pub grub, but the fire is real and it's very cosy if you manage to get the right table.
And for just drinking....
There are no fewer than three fires in the upstairs Boulogne Bar at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town.
The Goring Hotel has fires in both the dining room and the bar. Further south, the newly refurbed Queen Adelaide pub in Wandsworth has a roaring fire inside to enjoy a mulled cider by.
Everyone loves the Berner's Tavern restaurant in the London Edition hotel, but the Lobby Bar is the place to go if you want to enjoy a Pina Colada made with coconut fat-washed rum by the fire.
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