Where to Find the Coziest Restaurant in Every State
The German word gemütlich loosely translates as "cozy"; but, like many German words, it means so much more. It has been said that its English counterpart refers principally to the softness of a corner armchair, for example; gemütlich, on the other hand, refers to the feeling of sitting in that armchair beside a crackling fire, cupping a hot mug of spiked wine, surrounded by your friends. It’s more than just physical comfort and warmth; it’s that holiday-time feeling of friendliness, familiarity and relaxation. The spots that we’ve compiled on this round-up aspire to that designation. Many offer warmth in their wood paneling, fireplaces and choice of libations—think heavy on the wintertime spirits like brandy and rum. Many also feature Western themes that seem to lend themselves so well to these concepts. We’ve picked the places that we’d like to spend away a night in: places that aren’t too loud, that offer soft lighting (and even softer cushions). Some places on our list are located in old lodges with high ceilings; almost all feel intimate, regardless of size.
Alabama: SpringHouse Restaurant
When you dream of your wedding day, the backdrop is probably something like what SpringHouse offers. It’s surrounded by forests of pine; there are rolling hills and stables. The main dining hall is cabin chic in the most restrained of ways, and everything about it is Instagrammable—the verdant view outside its windows; the pork legs that hang for curing, ready to offer themselves up to chef Rob McDaniel’s prowess. There’s bacon and eggs and biscuits of course, in true Southern style, but also hickory smoked sweetbreads with jalapeno white barbecue sauce, and Brussels sprouts with nduja vinaigrette. You would be remiss not to experience it all. On a roundup such as this one, it’s tempting to dismiss SpringHouse as making the cut for its aesthetics, not its food. But we assure you, the food is the reason you’ll want to return.
Alaska – Moose-AKAs
Moose-AKA’s was exactly what you were craving on your way back from Denali National Park. Located in downtown Denali, this Serbian restaurant is a respite from the endless iterations of overpriced pasta and pizza that are so prevalent in the tourist-heavy area. Inside the dim, wood paneled interior, underneath chandeliers crafted from silver spoons, sit down to a cup of thick Turkish coffee. Once you’re warmed through, follow it up with a hearty meat-stuffed pepper, and generous tears of pita bread. Sadly, there isn’t a fireplace, but the service offers warmth enough.
Arizona – Mix Up Bar
Like so many of the bars and restaurants you’ll find on this list, Mix Up is nestled within a hotel: the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, in this case. Hotel bars often have a higher design bar because budgets that allow for really plush build outs—and Mix Up is no exception. The cream colored walls soften the experience as the fireplace lures you in; plump leather couches beckon, and a hot buttered rum is the only thing you should be ordering. You’re welcome.
Arkansas – Ozark Cafe
Founded in 1909, this century-old cafe is actually on the National Register of Historic Places. Though it’s had more than a handful of owners over that time, they’ve tried to keep the rustic ethos of the place constant. The walls are covered with black and white photos commemorating the restaurant’s history; one side of the restaurant is exposed stone for a more rustic feel. As far as food goes, it’s diner style in comfort and quality. The cafe is probably best known for its deep-fried burger and Excalibur, a half-pound burger patty between two grilled cheese sandwiches. If you’re looking for something a little less over the top, their omelets and steaks are the best go-to orders. If you’re driving through Arkansas, there might not be a homier place to settle into on a Sunday morning.
California – The Majestic Yosemite Dining Room
The dining room at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, and the hotel itself, exemplifies the most romantic ethos of the West. Founded in 1927, it quickly became the place for the well-heeled to experience the beauty of Yosemite’s cliffs and valleys; in the almost one hundred years since, it’s hosted heads of state like Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and more. Although the hotel rooms still cost a pretty penny, weekend brunch here is a more affordable way to luxuriate in the grandness of its Parkitecture (as architecture at America’s National Parks are termed). The ceilings in the grand dining room are 34 feet high and studded with chandeliers.If you can snag a window seat, you can stare out at the park’s iconic cliffs while noshing on smoked trout and eggs benny. Really, there are few experiences more sublime.
Colorado – Ranch House Restaurant & Saloon
Although the age of the Western is over, our obsession with the West—and its landscapes—still hold. To that end, the Ranch House at Devil’s Thumb Ranch does not disappoint. Just an hour and a half away from Denver, it feels like a whole world away: wind through mountain passes and find yourself amidst wide verdant fields, speckled with pine. Many resorts that provide activities and spas—as Devil’s Thumb does—can sometimes let the quality of their cuisine slip by the wayside, but that’s not the case here. The Caesar salad might be the best item you can order, perfectly balanced with the salt of anchovy and pucker of lemon. Sit outside on the terrace for a stunning view of rolling hills and purple mountains majesty; inside, wood beams beckon with warmth for chillier days.
Connecticut – Griswold Inn, Essex
According to many, the Griswold Inn holds the title as the oldest continuously operating inn in the country. Having opened in 1776, it was briefly occupied by the British during the War of 1812; today, it continues the tradition of a Sunday hunt breakfast, although these days the titular hunts are no more. The dark, wood paneled dining room sports New England nautical themes to great effect; there are black and white photos too, and whole walls of bookshelves in the dining room. Of course, there’s a fireplace: the perfect backdrop for a dark ale and a lobster roll, with a side of creamy carrot soup.
Delaware – Hotel Du Pont
Having opened in 1913 and built in Italian Renaissance style, Hotel Du Pont was intended to rival the gilded beauty of Europe’s finest hotels. Today, it’s probably one of the most ornate backdrops for a wedding–—or, as it were, a weeknight dinner. And The Green Room is the place to do it. Dark with an oak-beamed ceiling and gold chandeliers, there are also thick draperies and Italian mosaics to offer a sense of opulence that is at once cozy. Even if you’re not craving food as rich as the surroundings, the wedge salad here does not disappoint.
Florida – Casa Tua (Miami location)
Unlike many of the restaurants on our list which nod to the tradition of the Wild West, Casa Tua goes in another direction entirely. The dining room has maritime blue striped cushioned seats and a clean white vibe that’s beach-forward. Venture out on the patio, and that’s where it’s really at. Amidst a canopy of trees, there are lanterns strung all about to transport you to another world: and we want to go there. A roaring fire pit might not make sense in Miami’s humidity, but, in Florida, this is as cozy as it gets.
Georgia – Krog Bar
With its dim lighting and dark décor, Kevin Rathbun’s Krog Bar is an intimate ode to a Spanish-inspired wine bar. In colder months, grab your Cab Sauv and head outside to snuggle up beneath the heat lamps; there, get warm from without and within. When hunger strikes, order pimento cheese dip and spiced Marcona almonds for the best of Spain and the South. We wouldn’t blame you if you had to get the coppa and beef carpaccio as well.
Hawaii – Livestock Tavern
This exposed-brick restaurant isn’t what you might traditionally think of as “cozy”: there’s no roaring fire or overstuffed couches. But, at night, the mood lighting’s just right, and it’s an intimate place to duck into, if a bustling one. And if you’re craving autumnal flavors, the menu is worth the trip alone. There’s a pork belly with hen of the woods mushroom doused in truffle vinaigrette, topped with a poached egg and frisée. The root vegetable hash with grilled octopus and gremolata is also promising. Livestock Tavern may be the best of new American comfort cuisine, and definitely more than just bar food—despite what the name may imply.
Idaho – Trail Creek Cabin
Calling all Hemingway fans: believe it or not, this restaurant actually used to be the author’s hunting cabin. Hemingway visited Sun Valley for the first time in 1939; he later bought a house here and spent long seasons hunting and fishing over the next twenty odd years until he sadly took his own life. Today, the cabin is a testament to how the author would have wanted it: a rustic escape from the hustle and bustle of what is still a very desirable ski town. Accessible by sleigh (or car, if you insist), it’s the perfect place nto gaze out onto Bald Mountain. The fire is sure to be crackling close by as taxidermied birds are caught in mid-flight. However you get here, the food here is worth the trek: cedar-plank wild salmon and Teton Waters Ranch steaks await, along with a rib-sticking root vegetable Shepherd's pie.
Illinois – Broken Shaker (Chicago location – original location Miami)
With a James Beard Award-nominated flagship location in Miami, this second iteration of Broken Shaker channels the original’s culinary cocktail approach: the Cocoa Puff Old Fashioned is made with bourbon that’s been infused with cereal, for example, and is a super popular pick. While the Miami location has more of a beach-forward vibe, the Chicago spot is apt for Midwestern winters, featuring dark and intimate interiors craveable in the Chicago cold. Aesthetics aside, the food here goes beyond buffalo wings and tortilla chips: both the naan nachos and chilled soba noodles with peanut sauce are highly recommended.
Indiana – Meridian Restaurant
Built in the 1880s, the log cabin structure that is now the Meridian still features some of its original woodwork. The dining atrium is large and airy, but still manages to clinch that cozy feeling with a rich woodwork interior and chandeliers. There are white tablecloths, but it’s not stuffy; just refined to the right level. To dine on, there are silky smoked corn soups with bacon, bien sur; prickly pear risotto with walnuts; charcuterie boards with housemade terrines, and foie gras with honey oat granola. Like much of the natural world, we believe fall is a time to fatten up for the impending winter, and we welcome the opportunity to do it here.
Iowa - Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ in Bellvue
At first, Flatted Fifth might seem like a jumble of contradictions: New Orleans-style jazz and southern BBQ at a historically midwestern grist mill (that’s 170 years old). But it works. Order the burnt ends, a mainstay of Kansas City barbecue featuring flavorful morsels of brisket. They come over a bed of fries, which soak up the gravy in just the right way if you demolish them quickly enough. There’s also traditional cuts of brisket and prime rib; save room for the plates of bread pudding as big as your face. If you can’t roll yourself home—and we wouldn’t blame you—a room for the night is just up the stairs at the adjoining inn.
Kansas – Restaurant at the Woodward
Built in the early 1920s, this Tudor style mansion was once one of the most expensive in Topeka. It features imported timbers and stones from England; there’s also collection of surrounding guesthouses you can stay at, each compellingly decorated. Unlike almost all of the other places on this list, the restaurant at the Woodward Inn is open only to its overnight guests. Although we prioritize traditional restaurants on this roundup, The Woodward fits the cozy criteria so well that we are including it here. The larger living room conjures up feelings of being in an English hunting lodge, while the dark wood paneled dining room is more intimately inviting. Because it’s not a traditional standalone restaurant, there isn’t a set menu per se; but everything from the sugar cookies with lemon cream frosting to the more formal sit down dinners get rave reviews.
Kentucky - Elkhorn Tavern
Let’s be clear: Kentucky is so much more than bourbon, but bourbon is still Kentucky. To that end, the tasting room at Barrel House Distillery is a great way to experience it. The microdistillery crafts small batch whiskey, vodka, and rum. Settle down with a glass of whiskey, neat. Sit in front of the fireplace, or on a chair repurposed from old barrels. If you’re not a fan of straight liquor, no need for embarrassment here: their craft cocktails are solid, and you can’t really go wrong with their Big Ass Mule (their words, not ours).
Louisiana – Bar at the Columns Hotel
You might have seen the Columns Hotel in 12 Years a Slave, but its claim to fame goes beyond Hollywood. It was built in 1883 by renowned architect Thomas Sully, who shaped much of the design feel of New Orleans. Set apart from the chaos of the French Quarter, it was originally commissioned to be a private residence. Today, what once was the family dining room is now the Victorian Lounge bar. It beckons with twelve foot mahogany doors and fifteen foot paneled ceilings; it’s the perfect place to sip your mint julep in classic Southern style.
Maine – Dining Room at Squire Tarbox Inn
The Squire Tarbox Inn is ready and willing to fulfill all your Maine fantasies: nestled in the woods in the tiny town of Wiscasset, just forty five minutes from Portland, it’s as much of a getaway as they come. There are barns with chickens and goats on the property; nearby, a saltwater marsh offers itself up to rowboats. The restaurant doesn’t disappoint; tuck into farm fresh eggs in the morning, or enjoy a pizza from the outdoor forno at night. At the time of this writing, the inn is for sale from the owners who have owned it going on sixteen years. We hope that it goes to good hands to continue the tradition.
Maryland – Ambassador Dining Room
Cited by many as one of the most romantic restaurants in Baltimore, the patio room at the Ambassador Dining Room is where it’s at. Cozy up to one of two fireplaces by the big garage door windows, and get comfy; the chairs have thick fat cushions that we wish all dining room seating emulated. Grab a loaded plate from the weeklong midday buffet and cancel plans for the rest of the day: dhal makhani and fish tikka are calling your name. Dinner is à la carte, and just as cozy.
Massachusetts – Wink & Nod
We have a pet peeve at bars and restaurants: super hard-backed seating. We can never quite get comfy on bar stools or chairs without cushions; we’re always shifting around. To that end, we dream of a place filled with overstuffed chairs and couches, the kind you can get lost in while you’re sipping your old fashioned. Wink & Nod is that dream come true. In the wood paneled den, there are plaid den reading chairs in which you can do just that. A speakeasy vibe permeates the place, although it’s not a hidden entrance bar; the cocktails follow suit, being heavy on the gin, whiskey, and rum. As far as bar bites go, Wink & Nod actually partners with a different chef every six months, so the menu rotates between substantially different concepts. Currently on offer are Basque-inspired plates of salt cod with potato and garlic, and pinxtos of olives and pickles to snack.
Michigan – Camp Ticonderoga
On wintry days, cozy up near the fire at this cabin-esque restaurant, complete with antler chandeliers and mounted deer and moose heads. The fare is just as rustic as the aesthetic, featuring generous portions of fried chicken and mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese with sharp cheddar and pulled pork. Although Camp Ticonderoga is owned by a restaurant group with other similar concepts in the Detroit area, this place has a unique history. In the mid-1800’s, the building was a family home, and today is rumored to be haunted by a gentleman named Charles Blount who grew up there. Whether this is true or not, you’ll just have to see for yourself.
Minnesota – W.A. Frost and Company
Built in 1889, the building currently housing WA Frost and Co. is on the National Register of Historic Places. It features original tin ceilings and a stained glass window that’s a copy of a Tiffany design. The back bar and marble tables were both salvaged from buildings in Superior, Wisconsin. Their lounge area is probably our favorite, however: filled with overstuffed wicker chairs amidst a natural stone wall interior. Best of all, it’s not just for cocktails; you can get the full menu down there. There are plates of roasted mushrooms with Fresno chile and coddled duck egg; seared scallops with brown butter and sage; and burrata in a compelling vanilla vinaigrette which is calling our name.
Mississippi – King’s Tavern
Some say King’s Tavern dates back to 1789; others, 1769. Regardless, almost everyone agrees that it’s the oldest building in Natchez. It was originally settled as a British fort, and then, over the next two hundred-odd years, it operated as an inn and a private home. It became a restaurant and tavern in 1973, closest to its current iteration, and has remained that way since. Some say it’s haunted; we believe it. Still, despite over two centuries of compelling history, the food and drink don’t take a backseat to their settings. Get the woodfired brisket-topped flatbread, which is closer to a pizza in its substantialness. It’s drizzled with horseradish cream. There are also woodfired crawfish pot pies and traditional pizzas, with fresh mozzarella and basil, or brussel sprouts and bacon.
Missouri – Fox & Hounds Tavern
Inside the Cheshire Hotel, Fox & Hounds is a tiny tavern that’s an ode to its titular British hunting ethos. There are overstuffed red plaid chairs, a crackling fire, a robust list of Irish and Scottish whiskeys, and yes, fish and chips. The chicken wings doused in a hot sauce of Newcastle Brown Ale aren’t bad, but the lamb sliders on brioche buns are the go-to. Even though hotel bars sometimes dismissed as being choices of convenience, make no mistake, Fox & Hounds is a destination by itself.
Montana – Bar N Ranch, West Yellowstone, MT
A stone’s throw from Yellowstone’s western entrance, Bar N Ranch is one of the better places to eat at if you’re near the park. The inn’s restaurant serves foie gras with huckleberries, elk tenderloin, and pork chops: they’re just what you’re craving after a day romping around Yellowstone’s plains and geysers. Vegetarians, for you, there are mushroom gratins and veggie burgers. Cozy up to entire taxidermied deer and elk in the main dining room.
Nebraska – Brother Sebastian’s Steak House and Winery
Inspired by the monasteries sprinkled throughout California, restaurateur Loren Koch aspired to create a theme restaurant that compiled the best of the best. There’s Gregorian chant that plays through loud speakers as you walk up to the restaurant; servers wear monastic-inspired robes. Underneath dim lighting, there are plush booths cozied up to bookshelves; there are also wine barrels decorating the walls. One might be tempted dismiss Brother Sebastian’s as derivative or kitsch; but it’s been around for four decades, and that’s no easy feat.
Nevada – Pioneer Saloon
Like many places on our list, the Pioneer Saloon doesn’t just feel historical; it is. Built in 1913 in the tiny town of Goodsprings—population 229 as of the 2010 census—it was once a watering hole for miners that set up camp here. It’s also where Clark Gable drank away the sorrow from his wife Carole Lombard’s death, which occurred in a nearby plane crash. Today, it’s one of the oldest bars in Nevada that fiercely defends its history, which is evident everywhere. The ceiling tiles are stamped “Sears and Roebuck;” there’s even a “memorial room” to Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. And yes, it’s cozy, although it can get bustling: there are red leather booths to recline in, and whiskey outside by the firepit as the sunsets is a Nevada requisite.
New Hampshire – Tavern at The Horse and Hound Inn
Originally the site of an 1830s farmhouse, it was developed approximately a century later to be an inn. In subsequent decades, it became a hot après ski spot for those having spent the day on Cannon Mountain’s slopes. Today, its tavern bar and dining room preserve what is so beloved about New England ethos: a tangible sense of history, a nod to the British influence that was culturally aspirational even as it was politically oppressive. The tavern’s bar is the original 1946 construction; it features mounted antlers that are a nod to founder William Ruxton’s love of hunting culture in England, where he “ran the hounds.” Today, there’s also a garden out back that grows herbs and a small amount of vegetables for the adjoining restaurant; the resulting dill brightens crab cakes and basil makes the perfect garnish for pepper-stuffed portobellos.
New Jersey – Rat’s Restaurant
Rat’s Restaurant is situated on Grounds for Sculpture, a scenic park that’s probably best described as being inside some of your favorite paintings. There are full color, 3D sculptures of the couple from American Gothic, Manet’s Olympia and several Renoirs; many are larger than life. The whole outdoor museum is situated on verdant grounds with a lily pond inspired by Giverny, where Monet painted. Rat’s Restaurant—in equally fanciful fashion, named for a character in Wind in the Willows—mirrors the Impressionistic color schemes in some of the most recognizable sculptures. In the spring, patio dining feels like being in Giverny; in the wintertime, the best spot to be had is decidedly the spread of cushions in front of the fireplace. The menu reflects the French influence that permeates so much of the art: duck breast and thick, cheesy cauldrons of French onion soup make a welcome appearance.
New Mexico – The Pink Adobe
Unlike so many of the restaurants on our list which reflect a Wild West or New England aesthetic, The Pink Adobe manages to be cozy in characteristically Santa Fe style. Established in 1944, it sports classic adobe architecture with a New Mexico pops of turquoise and (of course) pink. The best spot in the house might be in front of the molded fireplace on a December day; warm up with the green chile stew, which as been a menu staple for almost 70 years at this point.
New York – KANU restaurant at White Face Lodge
New York has its fare share of cozy bars to hole up in during its brutal winters; White Face Lodge in Lake Placid, however, takes it to another level. Though it was built in 2005, it manages to channel a rustic cabin aesthetic with great fidelity. Many of the logs the high-ceilinged dining room features were milled on site. There’s a stone hearth fireplace that’s perfect to cozy up to on chilly winter mornings; there are also skylights that give the room an airy feel. For dinner, order the wild Scottish salmon with lemon garlic beurre blanc, and a side of spaetzle in brown butter.
North Carolina – Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro
Yes, Storm is a rum bar, but it might be a bistro first. Chef owner Owen McGlynn’s culinary prowess shines in Southern specialties: pimento cheese and bread and butter pickles on baguettes, shrimp and grits with leek remoulade, even humbled boiled peanuts (elevated here with bacon). There are also crispy pig ears with buttermilk dressing, and grilled swordfish with Carolina Gold Rice grits (yes, grits from rice are a thing). In addition to your usual cocktail suspects (mai tais, pisco sours, mojitos), Storm offers rum flights—check your bravado at the door.
North Dakota – 40 Steak + Seafood
If you’re in Bismarck, it’s probably worth stopping by here for a drink, because happy hour just might be when this restaurant is at its best. Tuck into blue cheese and beer queso and truffle fries with asiago, with a Manhattan or Moscow Mule. Each of the five rooms in this restaurant is meant to represent a different aspect of North Dakota’s history.
Ohio – Blind Lemon
The Blind Lemon, named after the legendary early 20th-century Texas blues musician, is a hidden entrance bar concept. Walk down a flight of stairs and through a lush courtyard—perfect for balmy summer nights, although firepits make it palatable in winter–and into the tiny bar. It’s heavy with accents of leather, stained glass and wood; the ceilings are low, and the spirits are anything but. There’s almost always music on any given night; grab yourself a hot Hookn Effer Coffee: it’s spiked with Baileys, Frangelico, Kahlua and Grand Marnier for good measure.
Oklahoma – R&J Lounge and Supper Club
In titular ode to the supper club, R&J channels midcentury nostalgia with Mad Men restraint. Traditionally, a Midwestern supper club was a place that was open evenings only, with homey fare. It wasn’t just a restaurant; it was a whole event unto itself that included drinks, dinner, and maybe dancing afterwards. To that end, the focus at R&J is definitely on the food: chef-owner Russ Johnson straddles the line between Southern and Midwestern sensibilities purveyed in modern style. There’s a relish tray with pimento cheese and collard greens, as well as warm buttered olives to whet your appetite. There’s also crab toast laden with melty Muenster cheese and shrimp with creamy grits with almost no discernible grain. Wash it all down with a bloody Mary.
Oregon – Lobby Bar at Suttle Lodge
About two and a half hours southeast of Portland, this is the perfect place to stop on your way back from a day hike. Saddle up to the lobby bar and order a cocktail; drink it by the roaring fireplace while you Instagram everything in sight. If you’re hungry, onion rings are the pinnacle of the menu: they might just be the best $4 you can spend here. In warmer months, relax in a deck chair overlooking the lake, and feel a world away from it all.
Pennsylvania – Westline Inn
Near the New York stateline, the restaurant at the Westline Inn is #cabinlife goals. Work your way through bacon-wrapped shrimp and slurpable French onion soup in the company of taxidermied pheasants and deer. The dining room is rustic New England chic with just a sprinkling of kitsch, just how we like it. Wash it down with a dark ale.
Rhode Island – Castle Hill Newport
Mirroring the beachside luxe of the Hamptons, Newport is where America’s elite used to summer in the early 20th century. The Vanderbilts and Astors had cliffside mansions here (which they hilariously referred to as cottages); Jackie O. also had a childhood home here and it’s where her wedding reception to John F. Kennedy took place. All this is to say, Newport is known for its characteristically New England opulence, and Castle Hill is, perhaps, among its best. While many parts of the inn channel that clean white beachy feel, there’s a wood paneled dining room that’s decidedly cozy. Its harbor views are the perfect accompaniment to your requisite lobster roll and quahog chowder: when in Rome.
South Carolina – Harold’s Cabin
If Harold’s Cabin hasn’t broken Pinterest yet, it’s about to. From the jackalope mural to the woodsy bathroom wallpaper to the reclaimed wood and mounted antlers, this place channels everything we love about the outdoors, sans the cold and bugs, plus the beer. Their forage boards are equally beautiful, a work of art in your mouth: herbs and veggies from the rooftop garden are plated, pickled or roasted or fresh, along with mustards and dressings you want to soak up every last drop of. There might be a hush puppy on the board too, or some other moreish delight. For colder autumnal days when the wind really whips about, there are more substantial plates of collard greens and cornbread and pan fried chicken livers and grits, which will make your mouth water despite yourself. There’s fried chicken of course, and cornmeal dusted grits: get both and you won’t regret it. Though Harold’s Cabin is listed here because of its cozy vibe, it’s a food destination first and foremost.
South Dakota – Saloon No. 10
Located in Deadwood, the setting of the HBO of the same name, Saloon No. 10 is probably best known for being where Old West legend Wild Bill was assassinated. (Note, he’s different from Buffalo Bill, although he was known to come around the bar, as well.) Thus, what would otherwise be periodic kitsch is actually historical preservation – the bar features artifacts and photos from the bar’s almost 150 year history (it opened in 1876). Among them are touchstones from some of the most legendary shootouts of Wild West lore. Amongst the dark woodsy decor are mounted heads of deer and bison, sip a scotch and nosh on bison raviolis. (Which, given the historic draw of the place, are way better than they have to be.)
Tennessee – Urban Cowboy Public House
Urban Cowboy’s original location was in Brooklyn, but somehow, it feels like it’s sprung from the very earth of Tennessee itself. The bed and breakfast (housed in an old Victorian mansion) also houses a bar that might just be the most Pinterest-worthy on the list. And what we mean by that is, it’s the hippest purveyance of Western rustic we’ve seen. The bar’s garage door opens up to fire pits that are blazing in the back on chillier nights; during the day, a brunch of baked eggs and avocado toast is where it’s at.
Texas – The Driskill Bar
As one Yelp reviewer put it, “If Don Draper went to Austin, he’d be found in the Driskill.” We couldn’t have said it better. What was built in 1886 as the home of a cattle magnate is now fixture near Austin’s downtown Financial District. While there are unmistakably Texan touches: the bust of a steer here, caramel-colored leather upholstered chairs, it’s combined with early 20th century charm. There are molded golden ceiling panels that feel a bit like Versailles a la Art Deco, and green glass domed ceilings that are very Belle Epoque. Settle in with their Batini cocktail—which they call the official cocktail of Austin—featuring locally made Tito’s vodka, fresh hibiscus and ginger juice, and sweet and sour mix with agave.
Utah – High West Saloon
Started by former biochemist David Perkins in 2016, who left his field for the more compelling parallels in distillery, High West’s saloon is one of the best bars to visit in Park City for lovers of bourbon and rye. Like some of the other places on our list, it’s not an intimate space; it can get downright bustling at times, and you’re in good company of fellow spirits aficionados. But the decor makes it cozy, and the handcrafted bourbon you’re nursing too.
Vermont – Tracks Tavern at Pitcher Inn
We have a pet peeve with the phrase “something for everyone,” but with Tracks Tavern, it’s true. Even if you’re not staying at the storybook Pitcher Inn (with some rooms well over $1,000 a night), Tracks is a requisite experience if you’re in the area. In colder months, odds are there will be a big fire burning, with real logs; there are couches to cozy up to, and board games, if you’re looking for distractions. For those who prefer to focus solely on the glasses and plates in front of them, the corn chowder with bacon will demand your full attention. And after it, the handmade ricotta gnocchi, topped with the welcome redundancy of cheese and bread: parmesan and toasted bread crumbs. Even if you’re not staying here for the night, Tracks is a destination to itself.
Virginia – Bar at Columbia Firehouse
The caramelization on the scallops here might just be the same shade as the exposed brick: everything about this 130+ year old building exudes warmth. Though the large skylights make the dining room a sunlit, airy experience for brunch, at night is when the cozy dons. The bar at Columbia Firehouse is really something special: padded black leather bar chairs, gilded columns, and ornate glass windows make this a place you want to nurse a beer forever. Unlike in the dining room, the paneled ceilings are low here, and it might just be the coziest place to watch a game in all of Virginia (although the T.V. doesn’t dominate the room if you’re not interested).
Washington – Smith
Tucked away on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the once grungy punk rock scene that’s increasingly becoming a haven to loft-dwelling Amazon employees, Smith is a go to. Its cabin-inspired decor reflects the aesthetic that is so prevalent in the Pacific Northwest (as opposed to, say, the clean white lines of L.A.) The cabin aesthetic is subtle, however; yes, there are mounted deer heads and table top lamps for mood lighting. However, Smith still asserts itself as a modern restaurant. Brunch is a hit here, as are the cocktails: wash down a chicken pot pie with a bloody mary to experience the best of both.
West Virginia – Bar at the Guesthouse
The bar at the Guesthouse offers a cozy escape from the bustle of the coast, if you’re in the D.C. area and are looking for a forested escape. Even if you’re not staying here overnight, the bar and dining room are open to outside guests; nosh on Jim Beam-roasted kielbasa and Angus beef meatballs in vodka sauce (noticing a theme here?), before moving onto the pork chop main, crusted in parmesan and Dijon and sage. The Guesthouse also features stouts, ales and ciders from local breweries.
Wisconsin – Pub at County Clare Inn
One gets the feeling that County Clare Inn is a special place. What does that mean, exactly? Well, it has heart. While Irish-influenced bars are not a rare thing, County Clare Inn really embodies it in their decor, weekly music acts, and hearty fare. Mostly though, it’s just a feeling you get. The wood burning fireplace flanked by stained glass windows is the undoubted beating heart of the place; cozy up to it with a plate of corned beef, served with buttered cabbage and creamy horseradish sauce. The menu isn’t an afterthought here, and it shows. The shepard’s pie and fish and chips are great as well. Vegetarians, for you there are sauteed mushrooms in a whiskey cream sauce, and a root vegetable option for that shephard’s pie.
Wyoming – Old Faithful Inn Dining Room, Yellowstone National Park
Just like Yosemite’s The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn is a classic example of Parkitecture: rustic design inspired by the nature of America’s National parks. With its 85-foot fireplace and 3 ½-story tall guest wings, it’s a grand testament to early 20th century notions of the West. Even if you don’t opt to stay here for the night—understandably, almost anywhere in the park is cheaper—working your way through a soft serve cone on the patio in a rocking chair looking at Old Faithful is probably one of the purest pleasures to be had in the park.