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FOOD & DRINK

The Best (and Cosiest) Bars and Pubs with Fireplaces in Melbourne

The weather is getting chilly, so warm up over fireside beers and bowls of cheesy pasta.
By Tom Clift
June 01, 2020
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The Best (and Cosiest) Bars and Pubs with Fireplaces in Melbourne

The weather is getting chilly, so warm up over fireside beers and bowls of cheesy pasta.
By Tom Clift
June 01, 2020
  shares

THE BEST (AND COSIEST) BARS AND PUBS WITH FIREPLACES IN MELBOURNE

The weather is getting chilly, so warm up over fireside beers and bowls of cheesy pasta.

Nothing counteracts Melbourne's frigid winter weather like drinking a glass of red or a negroni by a roaring open fire. But most pubs — and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade — don't take too kindly to people lighting up their furniture, so you'll have to stick to drinking dens with built-in fireplaces.

These venues will let you fill your belly and defrost your toes by a fire — and help you avoid those pesky arson charges. There's a two-level wine bar, a speakeasy-style small bar, a historic courthouse and converted apothecary, all of which have at least one fireplace for you to settle in next to. Trust us, you'll happily get stuck in to avoid the trek home.

From June 1, Victoria's food and hospitality venues are allowed to reopen to up to 20 customers at a time. Because of the reduced limits, many spots are requiring reservations or have new set menus. We recommend you check the venue's website for updates before heading in.

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    Neptune Food and Wine, as its name might suggest, has a lot of the latter. It also boasts a dedicated cocktail saloon and a ‘fireplace lounge’ down the back. Nab a spot on the leather chesterfield sofa to reap its warmth. If this prime seat is taken, huddle nearby next to the wine wall, or in one or the atrium-style booths. On chilly afternoons we recommend a big ol’ bowl of pasta — at the moment, the list includes mussel and chilli rigatoni and a zucchini spaghetti. Pair either with a glass of wine and you have the ultimate winter warmer.

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  • 10

    Once a modest but respectable Italian eatery on Bay Street, Ciao Cielo took things up a notch when it updated its digs in 2018. The fine diner reopened in Port Melbourne’s historic courthouse, following a $1.5 million makeover to the 1860s building. Its soaring ceilings and heritage features are now offset by New York-style booth seating, striking marble bars and a lovely fireplace. Warm up while indulging in woodfired sardines, house-made bolognese ragu tagliatelle and Sardinian-style braised goat leg. Meanwhile, the adjoining bar is dishing up a more casual affair, set within a 150-seat Amalfi-inspired marquee covered in fairy lights.

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  • 9

    Tucked away under Victoria Park Railway Station, the roaring fire in this converted Abbotsford apothecary is the perfect cure for all your winter woes. The Dr Morse takeaway window has a buzzing coffee and breakfast trade with early morning commuters, but the real fun starts later on. Comfy couches and ottomans surround the open fireplace and are the perfect spot to tuck into chicken and gravy, pork meatball tagliatelle and reuban sangas. All of the food and drinks here are sourced sustainably, too, so you can feel good about your nighttime dining options here.

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  • 8

    The Post Office Hotel is a well-rounded gastropub experience, complete with a bandroom, large terrariums atop tables and an open fireplace. The dining hall menu is well-priced and tasty, and includes everything from beef short ribs to chicken parmas and hot salami pizzas. Or you can grab a seat in the pub next door, which offers a more humble experience but with the same menu — and, yes, it has a fireplace, too.

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  • 7

    Those winter blues don’t stand a chance in the face of Richmond’s Union House, where you’ve got a choice of three different roaring fireplaces to cosy up beside. Two of these heat the open front bar and are perfectly situated in front of the footy screen, where you can down a few schooies of craft beer and some bar snacks. You’ll find another fireplace in the dining room, where it works a treat alongside the kitchen’s menu of contemporary pub fare. Try the likes of the broccoli, pine nut and parmesan gnocchi, or Wednesday’s long-running steak night special, offering two serves of 250-gram porterhouse matched with potato gratin, rocket salad and pepper sauce for $35.

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  • 6

    CBD cocktail bar Trinket might be best known for its hidden basement den, located through the back of a secret wardrobe. But on a grim Melbourne night, you’ll also find plenty to love at street level. The intimate front bar is decked out with lots of elegant old-world charm and vintage furnishings. Pull up a pew in front of the open fireplace while you get acquainted with the crafty cocktail list, featuring sips like the Twisted Ballerina — a moody blend of rum (white and dark), passionfruit and sherry. To eat, you’ll find a range pizzas, pastas and sides, including three-cheese cigars with smoked ash aioli.

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  • 5

    Any trip to this Fitzroy North gem is nothing but an absolute pleasure, but it’s best when its fireplace is roaring. Neighbourhood Wine is open every night of the week, so any chilly evening is the perfect time to pull up a perch at the bar for a bottle of wine and its two-course $55 menu, which includes the likes of crab meat english muffins, albacore crudo and confit duck with quince and lentils. Or, head in on Sundays for the roast lunch — for $55 you will receive a three-course feast.

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  • 4

    The Grace Darling has been a staple of Smith Street for a long, long time — built in 1854, it’s apparently the second oldest pub in the city. Regulars will have clocked plenty of hours knocking back drinks in the footpath beer garden out front. But, with the weather the way it is, we’d rather be indoors near one of the two blazing fires. The food is classic pub fare on the fancy side, while the candlelit bar has a dozen local draught on tap. Add to that an atrium restaurant out back plus two separate band rooms, and it’s clear why the Grace is still standing after all this time.

    Grace Darling is hoping to reopen very soon. Keep an eye on its Facebook page for updates.

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  • 3

    Sometimes you just want to eat a pizza by the fire under the lights of a disco ball. And at Lazerpig you can do just that. The Collingwood bar serves up some of the best pizza in town, and does it to a very good soundtrack, lots of booze and — if you skip the main dining room and take a seat by the bar — the crackling of a fire. Order The Fun Guy pizza and a spiced negroni, then settle in for the night. It’s the kind of place you’ll want to have a few rounds of each.

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  • 2

    Comfortable, warm and friendly, with plenty of tasty food offerings and a variety of local beers, Tramway is just about the perfect pub to get away from the cold. Soft overhead lighting matches the pleasant glow of the fire as it smoulders quietly in the corner of the room. There’s plenty of craft brews on tap, along with snacking options that include kimchi burgers, burrito bowls and an extra cheesy mac ‘n’ cheese. Jugs of beer for just $15 are also on the docket each weekday.

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  • 1

    The recently revamped Carringbush Hotel now boasts a hefty central bar, a sprawling tap list of 21 craft beers and eight wines, and a much-celebrated, largely vegan food menu. But the corner pub’s three working fireplaces offer another huge drawcard when those frosty winter temperatures set in. Bunker down and bask in that warm glow, while tucking into meat-free dishes like the Moroccan-spiced tofu, a creamy porcini pappardelle or buffalo cauliflower.

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Top image: Trinket

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