Restaurant News

Ask the Editor: Cozy Bars for Winter Dates around Boston

This couple wants to spend the season together lingering over drinks and snacks.


Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.


Nathálie Wine Bar in the Fenway

Nathálie Wine Bar. / Photo by Toan Trinh

Question:

What are some good places for date night? My boyfriend and I love snuggly, cozy bars where we can enjoy each other’s company over a cocktail or glass of wine. With winter coming, we’re looking to stockpile some exciting places to try to get us out of the house.

—J.D.

What a warm and wonderful request to consider on this rainy, gray day. We could all use a cozy place to unwind at this time of year. I’ll direct you first to last week’s Ask the Editor installment, from a couple of friends looking for pasta and wine—any of those spots could certainly set the mood for a date this winter, too. I’ll also link out to last year’s Best of Boston date-night highlight, the cozy Québécois Café du Pays; and our archive of romantic restaurants, which features longtime favorites like Ana Sortun’s Oleana, Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain, and Bondir in Cambridge. (And for romantic ideas that don’t completely revolve around drinks, check out our series of themed date-night guides.)

Snuggle up on the velour lounge furniture at Nathálie, the new Fenway neighborhood wine bar from the team behind Downtown Crossing’s Haley.Henry (…which is also a great date-night spot). Dark décor sets the mood at Nathálie, with a striking, feminine pencil illustration by artist Brittany Loar, warm gold accents, and a romantic floral wall. You and your date could lose yourselves in the wine list; at both of their bars, Haley Fortier and Kristie Weiss will open any bottle for you if you commit to ordering two glasses. Linger over naturally produced vintages and finger foods like montaditos (sandwiches) loaded with baccala, caramelized onions, and parsley; and the house meze plate. (186 Brookline Ave., Boston, 857-317-3884, nathaliebar.com)

How many romances have blossomed at Metropolis since the snug café opened in 1995? Countless, to be sure. Try to snag the pair of retro stools on the corner of the intimate marble bar, or opt for a two-top overlooking Tremont Street. No matter where you cozy up in this 39-seat space, you can share rich risottos and Mediterranean flavors like the vegetarian beet tartare, with savory roasted and pickled roots, chèvre, and capers. Craft cocktails‏ lean simple, but twisted, like a Cozy Negroni warmed up with blanco tequila, and wines clock in mainly under $70 a bottle. There are reasons this place is a perennial go-to for dates. (584 Tremont St., Boston, 617-247-2931, metropolisboston.com)

The five-course nightly menu at the Table at Season to Taste is tailor-made for date night. But a two-hour reservation isn’t the only way to taste chef Carl Dooley’s food and check out the cool selection of wines, ciders, and bottled beers that wine director Jesse Eslin is pouring. There is a standing wine bar in the front of this tiny restaurant, where you can order a la carte dishes like duck liver mousse with pickled cherries, roasted chicken thigh with butternut squash curry and pickled mango, and pastry chef Mary Edinger’s desserts, such as pumpkin-nickel bundt cake with rum raisin ice cream. A standing round is also a perfect precursor to sharing the night’s prix-fixe menu, which—with two options per course—is the best way to try all the bold flavors Dooley is playing with that night, without wasting time thinking about anything other than the person across the table. (2447 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-871-9468, cambridgetable.com)