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The Best (and Cosiest) Bars and Pubs with Fireplaces in Melbourne for 2023

Melbourne's infamous chill has set in, so warm up over fireside beers and comforting bowls of pasta.
By Concrete Playground and Ellen Seah
May 23, 2023
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By Concrete Playground and Ellen Seah
May 23, 2023
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THE BEST (AND COSIEST) BARS AND PUBS WITH FIREPLACES IN MELBOURNE FOR 2023

Melbourne's infamous chill has set in, so warm up over fireside beers and comforting bowls of pasta.

Nothing counteracts Melbourne's icy 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. And we've rounded up some of Melbourne's toastiest options.

These venues will let you fill your belly and defrost your toes by a roaring fire — and help you avoid those pesky arson charges. There are comfy wine bars, craft beer pubs, a speakeasy-style spot and a microbrewery, all of which have at least one fireplace for you to settle in next to. Trust us, cosy up beside one of these beauties and winter won't seem so dreary after all.

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    Neptune Food and Wine is a primo setting for bunkering down with eats and drinks while avoiding the outdoor chills. What’s more, it boasts a dedicated cocktail saloon and a ‘fireplace lounge’ down the back. To best reap its warmth, you can book out the six-seater fireside table — simply request when making your restaurant booking. If this prime position is taken, snuggle 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 selection includes ox cheek rigatoni and a chilli-spiked spanner crab spaghetti. Pair either option with a glass of vino and you have the ultimate winter warmer.

    Image: Parker Blain

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  • 12

    Once a modest but respectable Italian eatery on Bay Street, Ciao Cielo stepped 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 garlic focaccia, house-made tagliatelle with bolognese ragu 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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  • 11

    This Collingwood corner pub has spawned many incarnations over the decades — but its latest has seen a couple of the building’s historic wood fireplaces restored to their former glory, cementing its status as a primo winter pub. Enjoy their toasty warmth while you’re watching the footy with a crafty brew in hand — say, from Collingwood neighbour The Mill. Or, cosy up by the fire in the dining room as you feast on modern pub fare, like the beef rendang pie and a four-cheese gnocchi. Sunday’s $25 roast special also makes for a top-notch fireside feed.

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  • 10

    Longstanding classic the Post Office Hotel serves a well-rounded gastropub experience, complete with a bandroom, large terrariums atop tables and an open fireplace that’s hot property when the weather’s chilly. The dining menu is well-priced and tasty, including everything from manchego croquettes to a classic chicken parma, and a pumpkin risotto with Persian fetta. Warm your cockles with a fireside shiraz or two, before catching one of the pub’s regular live gigs or trying your luck at the weekly trivia session.

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  • 9

    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 crackling fireplaces to cosy up beside. Two of these heat the open front bar, are nicely situated in front of the footy screens, and prove ideal for those sessions spent settling in over schooies and 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 crispy pork belly with Chinese broccoli, or Wednesday’s long-running steak night special, offering a 250-gram porterhouse with chips and pepper sauce for $24. Oh, and why not one of the bar’s Fig Manhattans?

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  • 8

    If you’re hoping to team your fireside pub session with a couple of top-notch dark craft brews, then consider South Melbourne’s Palace Hotel your ultimate winter haven. The famed beer pub has cosy vibes in abundance, thanks to its three fireplaces, which you can bet all get a fierce workout over the frosty months. Nab a spot on the couch right in front of the action in one of the lounges, or take advantage of the fire that’s roaring in the main dining room. Fittingly, the kitchen is big on comfort food classics — try the daily pie special or ripper Sunday roast while those flames warm your cockles.

    Image: Nancy Johnson

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  • 7

    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 velvet 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), pineapple and sherry. To eat, you’ll find a range of pizzas, Euro-leaning snacks and sides, including grilled chilli prawns and spicy meatballs on sourdough.

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  • 6

    Any trip to this Fitzroy North gem is an absolute pleasure, but it’s at its best when its fireplace is roaring up a storm. Neighbourhood Wine is open five nights a week, so almost any crisp evening is the perfect time to pull up a perch at the bar for a bottle of wine and some hits from the ever-changing menu. Think, Cotoletta Milanese with a Flott anchovy, pappardelle with a pork and sausage ragu and scallop crudo in a mango honey sauce. Or, head in on Sundays for the famed roast lunch — for $65 you will receive a three-course feast you won’t forget in a hurry.

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  • 5

    The Grace Darling has been a staple of Smith Street for a long, long time — built in 1854, it’s thought to be 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 when winter does its thing, we’d rather be indoors near one of the two blazing fires. The food is on the more sophisticated side of classic pub fare, while the candlelit bar has a dozen local draught brews on tap. Add to that an atrium restaurant out back, plus two separate band rooms, and it’s clear why the Grace is still pulling crowds after all this time.

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  • 4

    Warm, friendly and inviting, with plenty of tasty food offerings and a variety of local beers, Tramway is always a comfy escape from the cold. Soft overhead lighting matches the pleasant glow of the fire as it smoulders quietly in the corner of the front bar. There’s a solid range of crafty tap brews and a forward-thinking wine list, along with buzz-worthy burgers and sides for vegans and carnivores alike. And since cosy pub sessions are made even better with a spot of live music, the Tramway serves up a stellar gig lineup, with tunes every Saturday and Sunday.

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  • 3

    Beautifully revamped in 2019, the Carringbush Hotel now boasts a hefty central bar, a sprawling tap list pouring 22 craft beers — plus tap wines — and a popular, largely vegan food menu. But the historic corner pub’s three working fireplaces and fully-stocked wood pile offer another huge drawcard when those frosty winter temperatures take hold. Bunker down and bask in that warm glow, while tucking into meat-free dishes like the Thai duck curry in a coconut sauce, a house-made gnocchi, or oven-roasted cauliflower.

    Image: Carmen Zammit

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  • 2

    This St Kilda craft beer bar has winter charms in abundance, thanks to not one, but two great fireplaces. Upstairs, the cosy rooftop beer garden boasts its own outdoor log fire, while the front bar below has an all-weather indoor version, surrounded by comfy leather couches and a healthy dose of dark timber panelling. Pick a favourite and settle in with some well-executed pub grub, while getting acquainted with the expansive, award-winning beer offering. With over 400 different brews tapped here each year, you can make it a regular winter haunt and still get to sample new things each time you visit.

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  • 1

    This Richmond craft brewery is the kind of haunt that delights all year round, with a chic retrofuturistic fitout inside and a lush, foliage-filled beer garden zone out front. And this leafy streetside space is a cosy destination even in the deep of winter, starring a huge central fireplace that’s ideal for curling up beside with a beer in hand. Nab a seat here among the fronds and stay warm watching the world go by; perhaps while enjoying a pint or two of Nice Guys’ winter-friendly oatmeal stout, or some live jazz of a Thursday.

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Top image: Trinket

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