Dine and drink fireside at these hot spots

by Kelly Callas

Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor
Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor

It’s common knowledge: San Diego has great weather. While fellow Americans are busy zipping up their parkas and maneuvering through a flurry of frozen roads during the icy winter months, San Diegans are taking it easy in flip-flops under clear skies.

However, there is one inconvenient truth about San Diego’s superior climate: Sometimes, it gets cold. This is by no means true for San Diego transplants from the Midwest or East Coast, but for locals, anything below 70 degrees is downright frigid. Luckily, San Diego offers a perfect remedy for the occasional cool night: fireside drinking and dining.

For the 21 and older crowd, the Gaslamp Quarter is an ideal place to stop and savor San Diego’s most intoxicating hotspots.

Located at 275 Fifth Ave. upstairs from The Old Spaghetti Factory, Dussini Loft Bar boasts an impressive 10-foot-long fireplace surrounded by comfortable seats and cocktail tables. A perfect location to warm up with one of the bar’s signature cocktails, patrons willing to venture away from this heated alcove may also find Dussini’s expansive billiards room to be a playful alternative to the typical downtown diversion.

Those seeking more classic comforts on their night out may want to explore The Tipsy Crow, located at 770 Fifth Ave. This bar occupies a building more than 130 years old and features three distinct levels that cater to three distinct tastes. Though all levels are worth acknowledgment, guests looking to warm up on a cold night may find themselves drawn to the bar’s top floor, known as The Nest. This lavishly decorated lounge lays claim to two fireplaces, a rich law library, hardwood floors and heavily upholstered furniture fit for many heated evenings of fun and indulgence.

San Diegans unable to legally imbibe need not feel left out. Located at 4445 Lamont St. in Pacific Beach, Lamont Street Grill is an excellent option for couples seeking an accessible, romantic night out. The restaurant offers both indoor and heated outdoor seating, and by planning ahead couples can snag one of the few tables located in close proximity to the patio’s welcoming fireplace. Enjoy a warm meal by the crackling fire and top off the evening with one of the restaurant’s complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries or seasonal fruits.

Looking for a more casual place to warm up with friends? Ortega’s, a Mexican Bistro, provides an invitingly contemporary atmosphere with a cozy bar-side fireplace fit for sipping signature pomegranate margaritas before heading into the main restaurant for Baja-style lobster and homemade tortillas. Ortega’s Cantina has open seating for all ages, and is located at 141 University Ave.

Finally, every good student knows studying is sometimes best done away from the distractions of noisy neighbors or rowdy roommates. Cutters Point, located at 6011 El Cajon Blvd. in the College Area, is a convenient and cozy alternative to residence hall or library-based study sessions. The best part: This shop has an easily operated fireplace available to all guests. So, make sure to pick a seat close to the fire and enjoy a hot cup of coffee while cracking the books.

Don’t give in to the chill. With all the fireside dining San Diego has to offer, warm nights are never too far out of reach. Go ahead and grab a bite, grab a drink and enjoy the heat.