Fire! From the first neanderthals to the Jungle Book’s King Louie and Keith from The Prodigy, man has a primordial relationship with pyromania. And however refined we like to appear, however upmarket the restaurant or basic the pub back-bar, the presence of a real fire (the roar-ier the better) is the mark of great venue.
And as London is crammed with more fire than a Californian dry season, here are some of our all-time favourite London fireplaces, the perfect accompaniment for a cold winter’s afternoon.
Unless you’re the sort of person who wins on scratchcards or has gotten through this winter without catching the stonking cold that’s going round (and through which I type while constantly dabbing my nose), then I guarantee that you won’t be lucky enough to convert your booking at Clos Maggiore into a seat in the famous blossom-filled dining room, voted the world’s most romantic by unoriginal sorts like ourselves every Valentine’s Day.
Most of the dining rooms throughout the restaurant sport open fires...
If you do somehow find yourself in the prime spot then you can also enjoy the stunning Provençal fireplace. But if not then do not abandon hope, because most of the dining rooms throughout the restaurant sport open fires.
Where: 33 King Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8JD
Beach Blanket Babylon
Not so subtle at Notting Hill’s Beach Blanket Babylon, but not much there is. The bizarre mish-mash of a venue sports a number of impressive fires, not least the yawning lion’s mouth spewing half chewed firey logs out of a brick wall.
Not so subtle at Notting Hill's Beach Blanket Babylon, but not much there is...
The only legitimate questions upon encountering such a monstrosity have to be ‘will my partner allow me to have one?’ and the long list of technical requests to a structural engineer as I try and have it replicated in a South West London maisonette…
Where: 45 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AA
The Bulgari Hotel on Knightsbridge sits comfortably in or close to pole position when it comes to ranking the capital’s coolest design-led hotels.
In or close to pole position when it comes to ranking the capital's coolest design-led hotels...
And the focus on design even extends to fireplaces, with this black granite off-centre number found in the hotel’s drawing room.
The five star hotel was created by noted architect and designer Antonio Citterio and the result is iconic.
Where: 171 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, SW7 1DW
Cool East London hangout nhow London has a predictably on-trend alternative to your common garden roaring fire… an LED water vapour fire.
The fire ensures that you remain cosy AF while you play a range of board games...
Not only is it far cooler not having to shovel coal onto it like you’re a stoker on the Queen Mary, but the fire ensures that you remain cosy AF while you play a range of board games, ideally fuelled by the all-day dining menu and fully stocked bar.
Where: 2 Macclesfield Road, Clerkenwell, EC1V 8DG
Hammersmith’s Kindred keeps popping up in our guides, and the reason has to be that the West London members’ club is effortlessly cool.
And, of course, they would have open fires to make their members feel extra warm and fuzzy.
From modern wood burners to the old-school fireplace in the wood panelled library, there’s no shortage of cockle-warming opportunities.
Where: Bradmore House, Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, W6 9BW
The Stafford, elegantly squirrelled away just off Green Park, unfolds into a labyrinth of drawing rooms and dining rooms as you make your way through the hotel to get from St James’ Place to St James’ Street and avoid the cold.
Warm your hands on the open fires, located at opposite ends of the drawing room...
But as you go, make sure to stop to warm your hands on the open fires, located at opposite ends of the drawing room.
Maybe then grab a drink in the American Bar before you continue on your way…
Where: 16-18 St James’s Place, St. James’s, SW1A 1NJ
The dogs are optional, but the fireplaces at The Kensington are a must.
The hotel’s drawing rooms of the smart Doyle Collection hotel are found keeping the home fires burning this time of year.
The dogs are optional, but the fireplaces at The Kensington are a must...
The hotel, located not-so-suprisingly, in Kensington is ideal for a meeting, tea or a stay, and all the while you’ll be kept toasty.
Where: 109-113 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, SW7 5LP