The fellowship of firelight has been a great unifier for as long as we’ve been banishing darkness from our caves.
Since that prehistoric past, we’ve captured light in lamps, lumens and lanterns. It flickers in tiny flashlights and illuminates the pages of the books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep. It brightens our roads, floods the insides of our refrigerators and grants us wishes on our birthday cakes.
But in winter, few lights cast a glow as warm and cheery as a fireplace. It appeals to our most primal instincts. It offers a cozy space for communing in the cold. It’s an incubator of romance, a place to toast our toes and roast our marshmallows, and the perfect accompaniment to a mug full of whatever warms us.
For those of us without hearths in our homes, we don’t have to venture far in the Flathead Valley to find respite from the cold at a bevy of bars, brewpubs and restaurants that offer fireside sipping when Jack Frost is nipping.
Tamarack Brewing Company, Lakeside
With the completion of its remodel, Tamarack Brewing Company in Lakeside offers the same suite of delicious craft beer and rotating seasonal taps, plus the welcome addition of a two-sided, wood-burning fireplace. The brick hearth and chimney is Tamarack’s lambent centerpiece, and adding to the brewery’s cachet is its close proximity to Blacktail Mountain Ski Area.
Belton Chalet, West Glacier
The Belton’s winter season begins Dec. 11, which means the time has come to enjoy brunch and Bloody Marys or dinner and drinks beside the 105-year-old chalet’s blazing stone fireplace. Situated just outside the west entrance to Glacier National Park, the Belton’s beautifully restored Swiss-styled chalet and lodge is a well-appointed fixture for visitors skiing the trails who want to round out their Nordic experience.
Kandahar Lodge, Whitefish Mountain Resort
Whether you’re indulging in a seven-course meal at Café Kandahar or sipping in snow pants at the Snug Bar, the sumptuous wood-burning fireplace in the lobby of Kandahar Lodge at Whitefish Mountain Resort is flanked with bookshelves, historic framed photos and comfy couches that will make all your après-ski fantasies come true.
Boat Club Lounge, The Lodge at Whitefish Lake
Enjoy the crackling stone fireplace at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, either couch-side in the lobby or from a plush leather seat in the bar and restaurant, where a selection of 18 wines by the glass are available, as is a raft of expertly made craft cocktails and local microbrews.
Truby’s Restaurant, Whitefish
The beloved eatery is back at its original location in downtown Whitefish, and with the arrival of winter comes the chance to nosh Truby’s signature brick-oven pizzas beside a rolling gas fireplace. Get there early, because fireside seating is scarce, but all corners of the restaurant are equally cozy.
Bierstube, Whitefish Mountain Resort
Whether you’ve just skied bell-to-bell or you’re just back from a few powder turns, a requisite stop at the historic Bierstube on Big Mountain is the only way to round out the day. Grab a PBR, a bowl of chili and kick off your ski boots by the stone-framed gas fireplace to dry your base layers while you raise a glass.