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

Warm up over fireside beers, whisky cocktails and gravy-covered roasts.
Concrete Playground
Published on June 26, 2024

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

Warm up over fireside beers, whisky cocktails and gravy-covered roasts.

As the mercury dips and the winter chill begins to bite, your enthusiasm for a night on the town might well be replaced by a deep craving to slip on your tracky dacks, pull up your doona and settle in for a low-effort evening of binge watching and home delivery.

However, if there's one thing we know is worth braving the cold for, it's cosy beers in front of a roaring fire. Live out your Hemingway-by-the-hearth fantasy as you relax in a room filled with warmth and the sound of crackling wood, drink in hand, at the best bars and pubs with fireplaces in Sydney.

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    Located underneath hatted 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, thanks 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 — if they’re all taken, though, a seat at the bar is still a great option.

    There’s a great selection of bar snacks prepared in the Fred’s kitchen, too, including bresaola, confit garlic and fig flatbread, tuna and goat’s curd crostini and a signature cheeseburger.

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    In 2019, the 157-year-old Australian Youth Hotel became The Glebe Hotel. It scored a new pub menu, a lush courtyard and a cushy private space. But, thankfully, it’s retained its fireplaces — both in the public bar and its formal restaurant, Stables Bar & Grill. The public bar allows you to get comfy on chesterfield sofas with a glass of red wine, while the restaurant — fitted out with exposed brick walls, cream timber tables and vintage tiling — means you can keep warm while tucking into hearty pub eats.

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  • 10

    A doctor’s surgery, 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 iteration of this heritage-listed building — and this time, it’s all about 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 complemented by brass fittings, antique mirrors, luxurious orange velvet banquettes and a cosy chesterfield sofa. It’s the ideal setting to explore one of Sydney’s most impressive whisky programs.

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    The Duke of Clarence library - one of the best pubs in Sydney.

    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 hundreds of spirits off the menu or one of many pub classics for fuel and settle in beside 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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  • 8

    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 in 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 having been ploughed by a steady stream of drinkers 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. Gather some mates for a signature pot pie or a Sunday roast and a bloody mary with a side of jazz.

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  • 7

    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. Head upstairs to the terrific new bistro Chez Crix and catch some live DJs on the weekends.

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  • 6

    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 welcoming indoor courtyard 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, there is a creative selection of cocktails including the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Starward, amaro, rhubarb, lemon and pandan) and The Pav, a fruity, vodka-spiked serve finished with a torched meringue.

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  • 5

    As Sydney’s oldest “continually licensed” 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 pint in hand and contemplate a long history of similarly minded beer aficionados 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, inviting atmosphere, it’s the perfect pub in which to find sanctuary.

    The beer selection is particularly special, with several brewed on site including a six-strong mainstay range, all available on tap. We suggest pairing a Victory Bitter (a classic English ale with a touch of caramel) with a beef pie, mushy peas, mashed potato and gravy for maximum winter comfort.

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  • 4

    A Dowling Street stalwart, Woolloomooloo’s Old Fitz may have undergone a revamp in 2019, but it’s still an old-school pub at heart. The exposed brick pub boasts a healthy collection of regulars, a variety of tap beers and Four Pillars cocktails you can enjoy around the ground-floor fireplace. Once you’ve warmed up in the Fitz’s front room, head upstairs to the smart bistro and sample duck croquettes or the veal cutlet with green bean and anchovy, or catch a performance at the attached Old Fitz Theatre.

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  • 3
    The main bar at The Duke of Enmore- one of the best pubs in Sydney.

    In 2020, The Duke of Enmore was given a major revamp from the team behind The Oxford Tavern and The Taphouse. The new-look Inner West drinking hole now packs in patrons for gigs, tasty woodfired eats and pickleback shots. With locals heating up the dance floor and a roaring fireplace, the Enmore Road spot is an ideal winter hideout for live-music lovers. Snag a seat next to the flames and warm yourself with a selection of woodfired pizzas, a hot LPs mortadella sandwich or a meatball sub finished with garlic butter.

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  • 2

    This breezy and boisterous Surry Hills institution is another example of a previously overlooked corner pub which has been reinvigorated around craft brews. It’s a split-level space with traditional pub charm and classic grub on the menu, but it’s in their expertly curated beer offerings that the Dove & Olive really shines. Grab a paddle and select from a range of local and boutique tipples on tap. Then hunker down by the fireplace and enjoy your flight of cold ones while keeping nice and warm.

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  • 1
    Indoor venue space at Teddy's in Enmore.

    Nestled in the upstairs space of The Warren View Hotel, this cosy yet elegant neighbourhood bar has an attractive fitout with exposed brick walls, timber beams and mid-century design inspiration. The star of the upstairs space is a fireplace fit for braving chilly winter nights in the Inner West. Head in for a drink and you’ll be met with a stellar lineup of independently owned Australian beverages, fruity takes on classic cocktails and an all-Australian beer and wine lists alongside an array of non-alcoholic beverages.

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Top image: Duke of Clarence, Cass Hannagan

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