When the cold weather starts blowing in, there's little more comforting than spending quality time by a glowing fireplace. And while most venues these days pass on burning wood for heat, all sorts of powered displays can make for a lovely winter's stay. Here are some fun places where you can hang by the hearth.
21 Montauk Highway, 631-567-0900
The hearth in the front lounge of 21 Main in West Sayville is powered by electricity and doesn't generate much heat - the ambience is enjoyable nonetheless, helped along by a piano positioned beside the fireplace that's played Wednesday through Saturday nights.
One of downtown Huntington's mainstays, Abel Conklin's prepares juicy rib-eye steak and filet mignon. The mood is friendly and the fireplace suits the restaurant.
The historic hotel stands out with steak au poivre, steamed lobster, duck with citrus-ginger sauce, an epic wine list (or book) and a fireplace near the bar.
It's not all that easy to find Barney's among the twisting roads in Locust Valley, but the good, old-fashioned fireplace that awaits - along with a menu of contemporary American fare and a coxy, New England feel - makes the hunt worthwhile. Try the crab cakes, seared duck breast and confit of duck leg, braised short ribs. And ask for a table near the fireplace.
107 South St., Oyster Bay, 516-922-9293, ilpiattooysterbay.com (Cost $$)
The Homestead is back, succeeding Il Piatto, with plenty of steaks, burgers, sandwiches and chicken wings. Revised menu, same management and fireplace.
La Cuvée Wine Bar & Bistro
326 Front St., Greenport, 631-477- 0066
Although the dancing flames in the corner gas fireplace at the trendy La Cuvée won't shake the North Fork winter chill from your bones, the international wine and Champagne list might help warm things up.
O's Food & Wine Bar
552 North Country Rd, St. James, 631-584-4600
A small but adorable gas-powered fireplace sets the tone at this St. James spot, which is busy until midnight most nights of the week. And no wonder, with cocktails like the "Starry, Starry Night" (Van Gogh espresso vodka, chocolate, hazelnut liqueur, 3-bean garnish) and "Pumpkin Pie Martini."
117 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-385-1515
At the north end of this upscale eatery, just past the cocktail bar, you'll find one of the prettiest, practically perfect places to take in the season. Sit on soft vinyl chairs and couches while feeling the warmth of a raging fire stoked in the large wood-burning fireplace that provides a freeze-proof view of the restaurant deck and Huntington Harbor . . . a lovely scene, no matter the season.
6319 Northern Blvd., East Norwich, 516-922-2500
While the electric fireplace doesn't generate much in the way of heat, it certainly sparks conversation. The massive moose head hanging high over the mantel was reportedly bestowed to the Rothmanns by Theodore Roosevelt himself, who is said to have ridden over on horseback for meals in his day.
"Peak Tuesdays" at the Velvet Lounge
10 Woods Corner Rd., East Setauket, 631-751-7575
Cover: $5 (ages 21 and older)
The dimly lit room has a long bar that tends to draw a surprisingly-large-for-a-Tuesday crowd of hipsters (and hippies). DJs spin dance rock to old school new wave. Outside, a good-sized patio stays quiet enough to allow for comfortable conversation - and it's here you'll often find patrons sitting around a blazing mobile fire pit, even in the colder winter months.
3264 Railroad Ave, Wantagh, 516-785-0809
The cozy dining room of this local eatery near the train station features a gas-powered fireplace that seems to be quite popular with patrons now that the weather has turned. The toastiest seats in the house (tables 16 and 17) can be had by calling after 5 p.m. a day in advance to log your request.