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FOOD & DRINK

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

Warm up over fireside beers, whisky flights and mugs of mulled wine.
By Concrete Playground
July 03, 2019
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The Best (and Cosiest) Bars and Pubs with Fireplaces in Sydney

Warm up over fireside beers, whisky flights and mugs of mulled wine.
By Concrete Playground
July 03, 2019
  shares

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

Warm up over fireside beers, whisky flights and mugs of mulled wine.

As the chill of winter settles in, it's easy to see your enthusiasm for a night on the town being replaced by a deep craving to don your long dachshund-print pyjamas and settle in for a dry and drama-less night watching Netflix.

But there's one thing we know that's worth braving the cold for, and that's cosy beers at one of Sydney's fireplace-equipped pubs and bars. It's your chance to feel like Hemingway with an alcoholic beverage in one hand as you relax in a room filled with that incredible open fire. Here are some of the best.

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    Located underneath the delightful fine diner Fred’s, Charlie Parker’s is the perfect place to hide away on a cold and wet Sydney evening. Down here it is dim, cosy and, most importantly, warm due to the fire that’s usually burning in the front section of the basement bar. Grab a spot on one of the lounges in front of it — however, if they’re taken, a seat at the bar is still a nice option. You don’t need to be dining at the restaurant, either — in fact, you can just eat down here. Bar snacks include potato croquettes, burrata with roasted grapes, some topped flatbreads that are done in the woodfire oven, and, of course, a cheese board.

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  • 11

    Earlier this year the 157-year-old Australian Youth Hotel became The Glebe Hotel. It scored a new British pub menu, a lush courtyard and a luxe private space. But, thankfully, it’s retained its fireplaces — both in the public bar and its new-look restaurant, The Stables Bar & Grill. The public bar allows you to get comfy on the chesterfield sofas with a glass of red wine, while the restaurant — fit out with exposed brick walls, cream timber tables and vintage tiling, plus a featured jacaranda mural by Sydney artist Indigo Jo — means you can keep warm while tucking into UK-style pub eats, such as steak and Guinness pie, chargrilled spatchcock and Sunday roasts. House specialties include the handmade gnocchi with roast butternut pumpkin and goat’s curd, Berkshire pork chop served atop caramelised fennel and slow-cooked lamb shoulder ragu pappardelle.

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  • 10

    A bootery, a boarding house and an opium den. These are just a few of the past lives of 77–79 George Street, but The Doss House is the latest moniker for this heritage-listed building — and this time round, it’s all about on whisky. The basement bar boasts five distinct spaces that each pay homage to a past tenant. The exposed sandstone walls and renewed original fireplaces are paired with brass fittings, antique mirrors, luxurious orange velvet banquettes and an antique chesterfield sofa. This winter, you can get hot toddies, mulled wine and irish coffees to complete the experience.

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  • 9

    Late last year, The Duke of Enmore was re-done. And while the menu was overhauled — it now serves up crisp-yet-succulent porchetta, cauliflower steaks and natural wine — the feel of the venue was left largely the same. That includes the fireplace that keep the back-end of the pub toasty warm on cold afternoons and nights. Once you’ve warmed your toes, you can warm your belly with a chicken parmigiana (or the equally great eggplant version), or the aforementioned porchetta — it comes in a roll or on a plate, with white bean puree, salsa and greens. It’s currently also selling some very reasonably priced mulled wine for $8. Its spice mix includes ginger, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon and star anise, plus orange and sugar to top it off.

    Image: Kitti Gould. 

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  • 8

    Named after the fellow who would go on to become King William IV, The Duke of Clarence is a particularly ambitious venture — it’s an 1800s-style British tavern, somewhere Charles Dickens might have penned Great Expectations over a couple of ales and a pork pie. It’s also the perfect place to escape to during the winter months — order one of the 500 spirits off the menu (and maybe the hearty bone marrow on toast) and settle down in front of the fireplace. Stay there long enough and you may be inspired to write a novel of your own.

    Image: Kitti Gould.

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  • 7

    Boasting the warmth and history of an old English pub — all dark woods and shadowy corners — The Lord Dudley is a perfect place to hide away this winter. A mock Tudor building complete with a creeping vine-covered exterior, it has a rabbit warren of adjoining rooms awaiting you inside. The carpeted floors sink in all the right places due to the storied halls being ploughed by a steady stream of drinkers who come seeking solace and warmth. You’ll find the roaring fireplace in the lamp-lit, timber-panelled rear lounge, which is furnished with booth-style tables and doubles as the games corner. You can gather a mob of mates around and while away a winter night with a competitive game of Scrabble or the ever heart-quickening Connect Four.

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  • 6

    Just a few months after relaunching Waterloo’s George Hotel and the Duke on Enmore Road, James Wirth, Michael Delany and Joel Amos have done the same to Woolloomooloo’s Old Fitz. The Dowling Street stalwart has reopened with a fresh coat of paint, British pub eats and natural wines aplenty. But, as Wirth says, the team “wanted to keep the spirit of the place alive”, so it kept the front bar as is, including the working fireplace. It’s the best spot to get into the menu by Head Chef Nicholas Hill (who’s previously worked at Sydney fine diners Sepia and Quay, as well as the lauded Ledbury in London), which features a scotch egg ($8), a rissole sandwich ($17) with beetroot and cheddar and raw beef on dripping toast ($14).

    Image: Tanya Saint James.

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  • 5

    A reliable local, the Crix has all the comfort and familiarity you need for a cosy winter’s night. It’s a beautiful old pub, boasting wooden floors and wall tiles, a laidback atmosphere and plenty of character behind the bar. In winter, a fireplace is always lit and surrounded by cosy lounges. Basically any night of the week is good here, with music bingo on Tuesdays, live jazz on Wednesdays, free pool on Thursdays and DJs on weekends.

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  • 4

    Sometimes the perfect winter bar is in the last place you’d think to look: the beach. Nothing beats coming in from the biting winds of the coast to a shack warmed by a roaring fire. Though The Bucket List is too rowdy to be called cosy, the warming menu more than does the trick — try the chicken puttanesca with braised beans, olives and mash, or pop by for $15 pot pies on Wednesdays when glasses of pinot are just seven bucks.

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  • 3

    The easily missed and almost unmarked Gothic doors on Falcon Street hide a darkened entryway to one of the city’s most exciting hidden playgrounds. Forsake the lovely indoor courtyard for the season and head to the carpeted living room round the fire for a chance to feel the comforts of home with the addition of a luxurious drinks menu. Alongside a solid craft beer selection on tap, there is a good selection of cocktails including a banana bourbon old fashioned and vanilla espresso martini.

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  • 2
    The Oaks Hotel

    The opulent fireplace at The Oaks Hotel is one of the finer ones you’ll find at a pub in the city. While it was founded in 1885, The Oaks got designer Sibella Court to re-do the upstairs lounge a few years ago. The pub’s upper levels have been turned into a bright, gaudy 1930s den of art deco meets art nouveau sophistication — with a serious amount of drapery. We’re always down for drinking cocktails in venues that look like either the set of a Wes Anderson or Baz Luhrmann film, especially when there’s a fireplace involved.

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  • 1

    As Sydney’s oldest pub (if we disqualify The Fortune of War for being demolished and rebuilt), this Australian monument is a great place to stare into the flames with a beer in hand and contemplate a long history of Australians taking shelter from the cold. With exceptional views straight across the harbour to watch for oncoming storms, naval prints on the walls and a warm atmosphere, it’s the perfect old English-style pub in which to find sanctuary. The beer selection is particularly special, with seven beers brewed on site. We suggest pairing a Victory Bitter (a classic English ale with a touch of caramel) and a beef pie with mushie peas and gravy for maximum winter comfort.

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