When it gets cold outside, what better place to warm up than a cozy bar? Grab a drink, pull up an armchair by the fireplace and escape the snow and winter chill at any of these fine establishments in Greater Lowell and beyond.
NoLo Bistro & Bar at Stonehedge Inn & Spa, Tyngsboro
After two renovations, the former Left Bank Restaurant has come a long way in style and hipness. A four-sided, enclosed fireplace surrounded by tables and love seats is the perfect place to snuggle with your sweetie on a cold winter's day and enjoy live music and a signature cocktail crafted by award-winning mixologist Jared Bracci. He likes to stir creativity and local history into his cocktails -- many are named after local celebrities and places.
The fruity and refreshing Betty Davis Eyes, named after Lowell-born actress Bette Davis, features muddled blueberries paired with Ciroc apple vodka, violet liqueur, cranberry juice and soda, topped with an apple slice and blueberry.
Like your drinks even fruitier? Try the pomegranate-laden Mandy Moore Martini, named for the Nashua-born singer-actress. It's made with Hangar One kaffir lime vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lemonade, fresh lime and pomegranate.
Those with a spicier taste will enjoy the Daniel Webster's Mule, a mix of Boston-based Bully Boy vodka, fresh lime, smoked pineapple syrup and ginger beer.
Or try the top-selling NoLo Manhattan, a fancy take on the classic drink.
The Tavern at Lenzi's, Dracut
While Lenzi's is known more as a happening place for events and functions, you don't have to wait for an invitation to check out the beautiful tavern and restaurant. The large mahogany bar is the perfect place to watch or warm yourself by the raised fireplace, admire your sweetheart under the towering tree of lights or enjoy local musical talent on the weekend.
The Winter Punch is a fruity escape from the winter doldrums, with its pomegranate and cranberry vodkas, cranberry juice and sparkling prosecco.
If you like something a little spicier, try the Moscow Mule, a vodka, ginger beer and lime delight served in a copper cup to enhance the flavors.
Gibbet Hill Grill, Groton
This "farm to fork" restaurant and bar nestled in the rolling hills of Groton is the perfect place for a romantic dinner and drinks.
Creativity rules the cocktails at this rustic rendezvous, featuring a number of ingredients not found at your average bar.
Soothsayer is one of the most unusual libations on the menu, made with Geranium gin, Zirbenz Stone pine liqueur, sherry and falernum, a house-made, rum-based liquor with warming spices like clove and nutmeg.
The Upside Down, an homage to the Netflix series "Stranger Things," marries unexpected ingredients that harmonize surprisingly well: Don Julio tequila, Campari, grapefruit, lime and salted tamarind.
Even the more approachable cocktails ooze creativity, such as the Dalliance, a strawberry-thyme vodka-based drink with elderflower liqueur, lemon and sparkling wine.
Pair with a refreshing roasted beet salad with blood orange and smoked goat cheese cream, or try a toasted grilled cheese.
The Outlook at Nashoba Valley Ski Area, Westford
After hitting the slopes -- or perhaps while the kids ski -- grab a seat at The Outlook and enjoy its charm aplenty.
There's many wintry sweet cocktails to enjoy, made by the award-winning bar staff.
Like a drink with a caffeine kick? Nashoba Coffee features Bailey's Irish Cream, Frangelico, Grand Marnier and whipped cream, served in a sugar- and cinnamon-rimmed glass.
Crushing on peppermint? Try the Candy Cane Martini, with peppermint schnapps, vanilla vodka and Godiva white chocolate.
The Caramel White Russian is a sweet twist on the classic drink, featuring Smirnoff caramel vodka, Kahlua and milk.
Or go fruity with the Mistletoe Punch, with Barefoot Bubbly, Cointreau, pomegranate and cranberry juice.
There's plenty of comfort foods to pair with, from wings and grilled cheese to shepherd's pie and creamy mac and cheese.
50 Warren, UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, Lowell
Just inside the lobby of the ICC, there's a cozy little nook of a bar to grab a drink before a hockey game or another big event. Grab a big comfy chair by the fire or sidle up to the bar for an Ultimate Hot Chocolate. Featuring Bailey's Irish Cream, Chambord and whipped cream, this hot chocolate is for adults only.
For those who like sweet and fruity, the Winter Sangria is a big hit: red wine, Old Crow bourbon and house-made cranberry simple syrup mixed with chopped orange, apple and sliced pears. And there's always the classic 50 Martini, with Pearl pomegranate vodka, Limoncello and cranberry juice.
Feeling hungry? The nachos are a popular snack, and the burgers are highly rated.
Village Forge Tavern at Concord's Colonial Inn
Once a storeroom for supplies during the Revolutionary War, this cozy bar with colonial charm and a raised fireplace is now a live-music haven Wednesday through Saturday.
Drinking by the fire not your cup of tea? Try the Tap Room, originally a men's only bar. It has the same cozy colonial charm with a slightly more modern feel -- and a big flatscreen TV to watch the big game.
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