Albatross Pub. In Berkeley's oldest pub, this round iron fireplace plays host to an intimate arrangement of tables where everyone from U.C. students to retirees congregates. 6 p.m.–2 a.m. Sun–Tue, 4:30 p.m.–2 a.m. Wed–Sat. 1822 San Pablo Ave.; 510/843-2473.
The Lark Creek Inn. On rainy days, kids love to dry their sneakers by this brick fireplace while parents wait to be seated in the restaurant. Happy hour draws crowds to the bar tables for cheddar steak burgers. Call for hours. 234 Magnolia Ave.; 415/924-7766.
Mill Valley Public Library. The understated whitewashed fireplace is framed by glass doors showcasing towering redwoods. In winter it becomes the room's focal point, surrounded by furniture custom built by local artist Art Carpenter. Call for hours. 375 Throckmorton Ave.; 415/389-4292.
Argonaut Hotel. It's easy to while away the hours sunk into one of the chairs before this granite hearth, sipping a Dark and Stormy rum cocktail from the Blue Mermaid bar. 495 Jefferson St.; 415/563-0800.
Kokkari Estiatorio. The massive fireplace is the centerpiece of the Greek restaurant's main room. Rotisserie chicken, pork loin, or lamb cooks slowly above its fiery embers. Closed Sun. 200 Jackson St.; 415/981-0983. — LAURA KINIRY