Food & Drink

Fireside dining, cozy cafes: 10 places to find ‘hygge’ in the metro-east, St. Louis

The Danes do it best, but you don’t have to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, to have a “hygge” experience this winter.

Pronounced “hoo-ga,” the Danish concept of coziness, comfort and warm feelings can be found right here in the metro-east and St. Louis if you know where to look.

Ready to step your hygge game up this winter? Throw on a cozy wool sweater, get out of the house before spring break and check out this list of warm restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores and bars in the area.

Peel Wood Fired Pizza

If hot pizza doesn’t give you enough of a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, check out the wood fired ovens in all three Peel Wood Fired Pizza locations: Edwardsville, O’Fallon and Clayton. Peel Wood Fired Pizza and Brewing Co. has expanded to the other side of the Mississippi. Located at 212 S. Meramec Ave., the third location, in downtown Clayton, Missouri, occupies an 8,800-square-foot space on the first floor of a new, 26-story upscale apartment building called Two Twelve Clayton. The new location houses a cozy restaurant and bar.

The Wine Tap

Located at 223 E. Main St., this downtown Belleville restaurant has updated its look, giving it a warm, cozy and romantic feel. Owners Dan Fogarty-Hayden and his wife, Robbie, said the goal was to play up the “building’s beautiful architecture” and all of the hard work Allison Babcock and Dave Nagel put into the space before they opened The Wine Tap 10 years ago. “We wanted to create the perfect date night experience or night out with a group of friends in a very cozy, relaxed environment,” Robbie said. The menu features warm homemade soup, wood fired pizza and more.

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Dan Fogarty-Hayden and Robbie Fogarty-Hayden are the new owners of The Wine Tap at 223 East Main Street in Downtown Belleville. Derik Holtmann

Coffee Mill Cafe

Warming up on a chilly day won’t be hard to do in Millstadt this winter now that Coffee Mill Cafe has opened in the heart of town. The quaint coffee shop, located at 115 E. Washington St., opened earlier this year with specialty coffee, tea, doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches on the menu. Biscuits covered with gravy and waffles are coming soon, owner Jeff Voyles said.

Coffee Mill Cafe in Millstadt opened early this year with specialty drinks on the menu. Cara Anthony

Bailey’s Chocolate Bar

Cozy up under dim lighting or snuggle up on the loveseat near the bar at this popular St. Louis hangout. Enjoy the intimate setting in the bar located at 1915 Park Ave. and head up the stairs to try the bar’s chocolate drinks, desserts, small plates and more.

The Abbey

Located at 5801 W. Main St., enjoy the fireplace inside this west Belleville coffee shop where you can order drinks, dinner, dessert and live entertainment. “It’s the perfect setting for romance, or just relaxing, sharing food platters, and having a few drinks,” the cafe states on its website. “Whether you choose to cozy up by the fireplace, enjoy an evening breeze on the patio, or just “be” - the ambiance is welcoming, casual and smooth.”

Seven Belleville and Shichi Sushi

Dim lighting, cozy window seating and earthy decor will warm you up at this popular downtown Belleville bar. Located at 7 S. High St., have an Old Fashioned or one of the bar’s signature cocktails before heading to Lincoln Theatre to see a movie or concert. Fresh paint, new light fixtures and sleek tables now give the bar a more modern feel. Seven has three different spaces: sushi, classic and an upstairs bar.

Stephanie Gain and Amanda Schlecht, the owners of Seven Belleville, pose for a photo with their Christmas Cocktails. Cara Anthony

Novel Idea Bookstore and More

Located at 1400 Niedringhaus Ave., this quaint bookstore in Granite City has cozy reading nooks, candy and snacks for customers to purchase and enjoy. Owner Brenda Whitaker keeps the place stocked with records and she brings in live entertainment, too. While you’re in Granite City, grab some comfort food in Whitaker’s cozy Downtown Diner at 1318 Niedringhaus Ave. When it opened earlier this year, customers showed up in droves to try the diner’s homemade chili, peanut squares and made-to-order burgers.

4204 Main Street Brewing Co.

Looking for outdoor and indoor hygge? The fireplace and fire pit at 4204’s original location in Belleville could take your winter blues away. Located at 4204 W. Main St., warm up with one of the brewery’s seasonal beers.

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4204 Main Street Brewing Co. is hosting the Belleville Ale Fest on Saturday, April 22. Derik Holtmann

Fox & Hounds at The Cheshire

Every corner of this St. Louis tavern feels cozy. Connected to the Cheshire Hotel, the tavern’s big stone fireplace sets the atmosphere for a hygge night on the town. Check out the small plates, cocktails and go for the a yard of ale – a true Fox & Hounds tradition. Located at 6300 Clayton Road, the tavern features live music every Friday and Saturday night from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A look inside of Fox and Hounds Tavern at The Cheshire in St. Louis. Provided

After hours program: Hygge and chill

If you’re in the metro-east, take a road trip to Grand Glaize Branch of the St. Louis Public Library at 1010 Meramec Station Road in Manchester. Find out more about hygge with crafts, food and friends in a relaxing environment from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Jan. 18. Wear pajamas, bring a sleeping bag or whatever makes you comfy. This program is for children ages 12 to 18. Registration required. For more information, call 314-994-3300.