Now that the calendar has finally flipped over to September, it's only a matter of time before we'll all be sipping hot toddies and bundling up by the fire. At least that's a common daydream this time of year, when it starts to feel like the Valley will be roasting in triple-digit temperatures right on through Thanksgiving.
So why not just embrace the heatstroke, and sidle up to the bar inside one of these local watering holes where they insist on lighting up a fire even on the hottest summer day. After all, there's something pleasantly wintry about sipping a cocktail in front of a crackling, smoke-scented hearth. Even if you almost burst into flames just getting in the door.
Who's ready to get lit? Check out a list of the Valley's hottest bars and lounges after the jump.
Tucked in the basement of a classy chophouse in uptown Phoenix, this romantic cellar lounge is naturally climate-controlled (somewhat, at least) thanks to its underground location. The Rokerij tempts with deep leather booths, a handsome copper-clad bar-top and a killer $5 happy hour menu featuring top-flight wines and gourmet nibbles. More important, it's one of the few places in town that lights up a real wood-burning fireplace, all-day, every day.
3. Four Seasons Carved into the mountain foothills of north Scottsdale, this posh desert hideaway is also a pyromaniac paradise. Not only are there wood-burning chimera, or freestanding ceramic fireplaces, sprinkled throughout the sprawling resort grounds, but the massive lobby fireplace is lit 365 days a year. Cozy up and savor the sweeping Valley views, or order a Spanish Coffee and watch the sparks fly as Bacardi 151 rum is poured into a large snifter glass rimmed with sugar and then lit on fire. Next cinnamon and nutmeg are tossed into the flame, creating a downpour of sparks that's dramatically doused by a blend of Cointreau, Kahlua and coffee, topped with whipped cream and Crème de Almond.
2. Frank & Albert's
This stylish restaurant overlooking the grass-lined grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Resort has put a fresh spin on the historic property thanks to its focus on trendy farm-to-table cooking. However, one thing that hasn't changed are the multiple fireplaces burning throughout this spacious indoor-outdoor space. Here, you can settle into the cozy sunroom, featuring a raised central fireplace surrounded by floor-to-ceiling window walls. Or you can brave the heat on the expansive dining patio, where they offer tableside s'mores roasted aside a towering stone hearth.
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Modern Steak This haute steakhouse inside Scottsdale Fashion Square looks as good as it tastes thanks to stunning design by renowned local architect, Cathy Hayes (La Grande Orange, Delux Burger, The Arrogant Butcher, etc.) That said, her most impressive accomplishment here is out on the patio, where a sleek metal wrap keeps you from focusing on the fact that you are drinking and dining in the middle of a crowded parking lot. Even more impressive, they keep the outdoor fireplace cranking all through the summer. And while it might be hotter than Hades out there, at least you won't have to wait for a table.