Light ‘er Up – Eating Fireside in St PaulPosted: October 29, 2011
What is this fascination we have with fire? Mine began as a 5 yr old on the farm gathering dry grass & placing it into a coffee can along with some kerosene, culminating in singed eyebrows and a spanking. Later as a preteen I discovered a more effective accelerant, gasoline; culminating in a trip to the emergency room. Now as an adult (sort of), I’ve moved onto the more socially acceptable (& marginally less dangerous) lighting of brush piles and bonfires. But with the weather cooling off, I started to think, ‘hey, I wonder how many places I can find in St Paul to either drink or eat by a fire without that pesky problem of catching on fire?” So I did what anyone would do; Googled it. List in hand, friend Nanci in tow, I was off to find the fire.
We started at Cheeky Monkey Deli on Selby. Don’t let the ‘deli’ part put you off; evening introduces a whole different feel to The Monkey, making it an attractive spot to enjoy a glass of wine. The sofa & chair seating in front of the fire was a cozy place to linger during Happy Hour & share some small plates. Our server, Courtney, was the perfect blend of attentive and friendly. It was a great starting point.
Next we stopped at The Happy Gnome, located kitty corner from The Cheeky on Selby. The Gnome has a fireplace in both the upstairs dining area and the downstairs bar. The bar FP, we were informed, is usually on only during very cold days as it throws out enough heat to hold a Bikram Yoga class. Saddened, Nanci & I consoled ourselves by sampling one of the many martinis offered. Before leaving we checked out the scene upstairs. Nice FP; request a ‘fireside’ table if dinning there – you’ll be pleased.
Out the door of the Gnome & down the street sits W. A. Frost which most fireplace devotees must surely already know about. The appeal of Frost’s is obvious; the dining rooms are beautiful and the food can be quite good – add fire to that mix on a cold winter night and who would want to go anywhere else?
On to Grand Avenue. Dixies has an outdoor patio fireplace in addition to patio heaters. Dressed appropriately it would be a great spot to have a hot toddy. If that doesn’t work for you, just sit indoors next to the floor to ceiling windows and gaze at the fire from there. Dixie’s always supplies a fun atmosphere to be a part of. Thanks for adding a flame!
Billy’s on Grand has a fireplace, something I hadn’t known prior to this evening. Imagine hanging by the fire, beer in hand, surrounded by good friends & cheering on a team. A definite perk on a winter weekend.
Across the street from Billy’s is Axel’s Bonfire. (And really, with a name like ‘Bonfire’ how could they not have a fireplace?) Aesthetically, Bonfire may have one of my favorite fireplaces. Located at the end of the bar, it’s a great spot to sit and enjoy a drink and something to eat. And you can’t beat the people watching both in the bar and out through the windows onto Grand; pretty easy place to pass some time with friends. Bonus to Bonfire is that it is located right across the hall from Café Latte! No fireplace at C. Latte but the cupcake and cappuccino more than made up for it. It was a sweet finish to a pleasurable evening in search of fire.
While this was enough for one night, there are additional locals in St Paul to explore in search of fire. I’ll keep you posted as to what I find at The Downtowner Woodfire Grill, Forepaughs, St Paul Hotel Lobby Bar and Luci Ancore. And if you know of any other fire-friendly spots I should check out, please please let me know.