There are lots of exciting things to do during winter in Austin. But when the winter weather hits and you're looking to get extra cozy, try out one of these winter warmers around town. From local restaurants with fireplaces and fire pits to dark and cozy wine bars, here are some of the best Austin restaurants to while away the hours in this season.

The Living Room at W Austin
W Austin's Living Room. Courtesy W Austin.

Restaurants with Fireplaces

Snuggle up over holiday-themed drinks at one of W Austin’s two Living Room fireplaces. Choose from the Tequila Bar and the Records Room. Ask about the Secret Bar and check the event calendar for regular events.

Looking to impress a date or just relax with friends? The upscale atmosphere at Jeffrey’s always delivers. For a super-cozy gathering, head to the bar area to recline in one of the velvety chairs by the fireplace and order a soul-warming concoction, like the Bobby Burns — a Black Grouse scotch cocktail that comes with a shortbread cookie.

Even though the fireplace at Volstead Lounge is faux, the gilded wallpaper and intimate quarters provide a perfectly cozy spot for gathering with friends and sipping high-octane cocktails.

If backyard patios are more your style, the laid-back vibe at Moontower Saloon is the way to go. Grab a local beer at the bar,and venture outdoors for some homemade grub from one of the food trailers. Stay warm in one of the Adirondack chairs by the fire pit, and let the live music on the outdoor stage provide the soundtrack.

Ring in the New Year in swanky style at The Driskill Bar. Try their selection of specialty winter cocktails while warming up by the fireplace in this elegant and iconic Texas hotel bar. 

Wine Bars

Plan a relaxing evening at Vino Vino, a low-lit restaurant and wine bar with a sleek interior, wooden accents and floor-to-ceiling wine racks. The 350 by-the-bottle selections give oenophiles a chance to show off their wine know-how, while the outside patio is a romantic spot for sipping under the night sky and twinkling lights by the blazing fireplace.

When "Wine Enthusiast Magazine" names you one of the nation’s Top 20 Wine Bars, you know you’re doing something right. Experience for yourself the wine-lover’s heaven that is South Austin’s Winebelly. The neighborhood wine and tapas bar invites guests to settle in and linger over an internationally curated list while noshing charcuterie, steamed mussels and other lively bites.

Looking for a quaint, unpretentious spot to crack open a bottle? House Wine is located in an old house in South Austin, just off Barton Springs Road and Lamar Boulevard. A great wine selection, simple food menu, live music and local beer makes this a perfect hang out spot when it's too chilly to brave the outdoors.

Garganelli With Sweet Peas from Red Ash Italia
Red Ash, Garganelli With Sweet Peas. Credit Ashlyn Allison.

Where to Find Winter Dishes

Is there a better way to celebrate winter than to fill up on authentic, home-style Italian fare? Make a dinner reservation at Red Ash Italia, which serves up fresh Italian dishes straight from the blazing wood-burning oven and grill. Enjoy a walnut Old Fashioned with small plates and crispy country Italian bread, or dive straight into delicacy with a glass of wine and wood grilled cold water lobster tails. Either way, this hearty, rustic cuisine is sure to warm you right up.

Farm-to-table bakery and bistro Texas French Bread is Central Austin's go-to for tucked-away winter sipping. Classy and welcoming, cozy up with a loaf of freshly baked boule and order a glass of your favorite French red.

What Halcyon lacks in a fireplace, it makes up for in scrumptious s'mores. Part café, part lounge, this grown-up version of a coffeehouse offers table-side s'more service and tasty cocktails (as well as a menu of coffee drinks), so you can roast marshmallows while sipping on a signature chocolate espresso martini, as live acoustic music provides the soundtrack.

At the ranch-style Contigo, head outdoors (yep, even in winter) to cozy up around the fire pit with a drink in hand. Warm up over brunch with the hearty venison hash or fried chicken biscuit, while enjoying a mezcal-based Bloody Mary or the Moscow Mueller, their local take on the classic Mule.

Where do you go to keep warm in Austin? Share with us on Twitter or Instagram using #TrueAustin!