Food & Drink | November 19, 2019 9:54 am

The 5 Best Fireplace-Enhanced Bars and Restaurants in San Francisco

A couple also make great chicken pot pies, which can’t be a coincidence

SF Fireplaces
Warm up at White Cap with a Murphy Manhattan.
John Lindse/Instagram/@whitecap_sf

’Tis the season. Cuffing season, that is. And nothing makes a first date fancy like a fireplace. 

Obviously the optimal destination would be a cabin overlooking Lake Tahoe, with a fireplace stocked with, say, some clean-burning birch branches. (Or, you know, non-petroleum natural wax logs. Whatever the heart desires.)

If you want to keep it cheaper and closer to home, though, you can combat that chill in the air (especially where it’s always chilly; see White Cap, below) and get cozy at our pick of the best fireplace-enhanced bars and restaurants in S.F., below. 

White Cap

Outer Sunset

Just a block and a half off the wild Pacific, White Cap makes good use of that back-room fireplace all year round. You might recognize the cocktail menu’s creative spirit from past projects by its designer, Carlos Yturria, of The Treasury; the last drink we loved there was the Mezcallica, with La Vida mezcal and fino sherry. 

The Big 4
(Huntington Hotel)

The Big 4 Restaurant at the Huntington Hotel

Nob Hill

The very definition of “clubby,” the Big 4 is named for four railway tycoons, including Leland Stanford. Unsurprisingly, it’s a special occasion sort of place, with a menu of straight-up classics: chicken pot pie, Colorado pork chops, an eight-ounce filet mignon and the like. 

Fireside Bar

Inner Sunset

A resolutely excellent place near UCSF: no website, no attitude — just good drinks and not too expensive, though not cheap-cheap in that dive-bar sense. It’s just … normal? Grab one of the seats next to the fireplace — the seating set-up makes true cuddling slightly awkward but not impossible. 

House Rules
(House Rules)

House Rules

Russian Hill

This is actually more of a third-date bar, when everyone stops being polite, and starts getting real — or at least won’t mind food best eaten with your hands. (The TVs are good, too.) It’s a cozy spot to take your favorite plus-one, with killer garlic fries and fish tacos with achiote-marinated cod. 

The Grove-Fillmore


Speaking of that Tahoe cabin: This spot, with a fireplace set within a stone-lined wall, is the closest you’re going to get within the city limits. There’s a certain après-ski vibe to the menu as well, with hearty options like a Gruyère-centric mac ‘n’ cheese, pork ribs and another take on the chicken pot pie.