Get the Glow: Portland's Best Fireplaces

It's not quite ski lodge time just yet, but to get you in the mood for sharing slope stories, we've put together a list of the coziest places to curl up without having to get in your car.

By Kasey Cordell and Sally Powers October 23, 2012

 “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is one thing. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire while you snuggle up to the massive slate hearth, steaming mug of cocoa in hand, as muting layers of snow pile up outside, silencing everything except the crackle and pop of the fire and the laughter of family and friends—now, that’s what the velvety-voiced Nat King Cole really had in mind. It’s not quite Timberline time just yet (though we did get a sprinkling of snow this week), but to warm you up for the season—and for our soon-to-be-released Best Northwest Lodges feature—we bring you a selection of the city’s best fireplaces, where you can get the same kind of glow, without getting in the car.

And for the brave we also offer the top outdoor options, like Del Inti (pictured above). Photo courtesy Stem Architecture

Stoked seven days a week by the hotel staff, the marble fireplace inside the Heathman’s Tea Court Lounge harbors a truly eternal flame. Surrounded by overstuffed chairs and pillowed benches, it’s the perfect gathering spot for chatting over tea with friends or simply curling up and getting lost in a copy of Wuthering Heights. For a fireside rendezvous with a bit more sizzle, drop in on a crisp fall evening for classic cocktails and live jazz.

In the winter months, this Northwest restaurant encloses its patio, which features an intimate copper-roofed gazebo. Beneath it sits a 15-person dining table with a built-in gas fire pit as the centerpiece. Gather at least 10 friends and you can reserve the coveted corner warming hut, where your party will feast on pork and clam stew and pumpkin pots pots de creme around low, warm flames—while all the other tables merely twinkle by candlelight.

A 700-degree wood-burning pizza oven may not sound as cozy as a traditional fireplace, but there’s something about the white, rustic, adobe-walled inferno that’s anchored in the center of Ken’s Artisan Pizza that we just can’t resist. To understand our obsession, grab a stool at the bar, where you can bask directly in the oven’s warmth with a pint of Lagunitas IPA while digging into your soppressata pie—which arrives piping hot, having been prepared just a few feet away.

During downpours, we’re especially thankful to be able to toss our keys to the valet and duck into this 68-year-old steakhouse, where the dining room—reminiscent of an old-school country club with white tablecloths and waiters in black ties—is small, intimate, and illuminated by a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace. Tuck into a filet mignon and a vintage Burgundy from the reserve cellar for one of the most romantic fireside feasts in town.

When winter weather chases you inside, there is perhaps no cozier place to wait it out than fireside at Paragon. Pick a seat next to the Pearl District restaurant’s massive fireplace, and listen to the rain pelt against the glass roll-up doors while you tuck into a steaming plate of mussels soaked in an orange-sambuca butter sauce and smugly welcome back old man winter from your perch. 

It takes only a potbelly stove to heat the tiny, one-room Honors Bar off the front entryway of the Kennedy School. Order a scotch and squeeze onto the velvet-covered bench lining the wall—you’ll feel like you’ve escaped into your own private cabin adorned with Persian rugs and wall-mounted candlesticks. When the embers die down, simply reach for the pile of logs under your seat and rekindle the spark.

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