In the middle of winter, nothing beats having dinner and a drink in front of a fireplace, especially when someone else is cooking.
When it’s cold outside and the fridge is bare, there’s no better option than grabbing a seat at our favourite pub or bar. For those nights when a roaring fireplace, underground bar or cosy wine room is calling your name, here are the top cosy spots to visit this winter across Sydney.
There’s no better way to keep warm in winter than within a basement bar. The Rocks scored gin bar Frank Mac’s last year and it has been one of Sydney’s favourite drinking dens ever since. The downstairs space has a cosy vibe with vintage leather banquettes, lounges, low tables and a fireplace to keep you warm. With an ever-evolving list of gin cocktails from the pros behind The Doss House and a menu of snacks, we suggest checking it out. Find out more here.
Pub renovations are all the rage and The Strand has to be one of our favourites of 2022. The pub has been restored into a dapper bistro with French fare guiding the menu. Enjoy steak frites, duck leg pie and baguettes by the fireplace with a glass of their finest red. Drawing expressions of turn-of-the-century Paris, The Strand Bistro promises a sense of old-world sophistication without the pretense. Find out more here.
See more of our favourite pub renovations in Sydney here.
This Darling Harbour institution has reopened its doors after an extensive refurbishment. The chic industrial design speaks to the heritage of the building and we couldn’t be more excited about the open fireplace lounge area come winter. City workers and punters will be welcomed back with a plentiful collection of craft beers, a brand new wine room and an elevated menu of pub classics. Find out more here.
Hidden in the basement of Hinchcliff House, Apollonia is an underground Sicilian cocktail bar inspired by The Godfather. A history-laden subterranean venue in the heart of Sydney, the bar boasts an extensive spirits list, lots of negronis and other strong, delicious twists on Italian cocktails served by welcoming, energetic bartenders. If you’re hungry, you can’t go past the meatball sub on the menu. Find out more here.
Arcadia Liquors, Redfern
Set in the heart of Redfern, the small bar Arcadia Liquors is one of our favorite spots to grab a drink during the cooler months. Boasting a courtyard adorned with fairy lights and plenty of cosy corners indoors to nab a seat, this neighbourhood bar is perfect for a local brew, glass of vino or delicious cocktails. Find out more here.
Big Poppa’s, Darlinghurst
Set on Oxford Street, punters will know Big Poppa’s as an award-winning late-night restaurant. But for those looking for a cosy drink, head downstairs to their underground restaurant-meets-bar. From classic cocktails to a wine list to rule them all, swing by this lively spot for a late-night tipple. Find out more here.
Love vino? Check out the best wine bars in Sydney here.
Cricketers Arms, Surry Hills
As far as pubs go, the Cricketers Arms is one of the best. It’s a no-frills destination with two levels to explore, as well as an outdoor courtyard for warm winter nights. Our pick? Nab a seat next to their fireplace in the front bar and grab a cheap pub feed from the bistro upstairs. Find out more here.
Grain Bar, The Rocks
The charming Grain Bar harboured within Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel has a cosy yet sleek feel to it, with beautiful slabs of timber highlighting panes of frosty glass. The fireplace is custom-made; shaved from the roots of a giant Redwood Mammoth tree. Their extensive whiskey list, coupled with a menu full of organic and bio-dynamic wines, sees no end to sippable warming beverages. Find out more here.
Hotel Steyne, Manly
A standout beachfront hotel, ‘The Steyne’, as it’s known to locals, is perfect for moody winter afternoons. With two fireplaces, inside and out this is the perfect spot to nab a cosy seat. With plenty of liqueur on offer, try one of their 100+ rums to ensure you don’t leave your salty sailor image out in the cold. Find out more here.
Misfits Bar and Dining, Redfern
Misfits is an eclectic bar and lounge in Redfern. Nestle into a booth in the lively bar, sit by the fire in the secret cocktail lounge behind the bookcase, or hang out in the glasshouse courtyard and enjoy a casual dining menu of bar and bistro favourites. The interiors have a subtle retro feel with splashes of colour. Follow the neon lights up the stairs to find Twiggy on the walls and The Beatles playing in the background. Find out more here.
Palmer & Co., CBD
Head underground to one of the CBD’s most iconic prohibition-style bars, Palmer & Co this winter. With a buzzing atmosphere and regular live music sets, this is one of our favourite spots to grab a well-made drink. Whether you order a glass of bubbles or opt for a perfectly crafted cocktail, you’ll be in for a treat. Find out more here.
Wondering what else is hiding underground? Discover Sydney’s 30 best-hidden bars here.
The Duke of Clarence, CBD
Taking inspiration from London’s 18th Century taverns, The Duke of Clarence channels serious cosy vibes. Renowned for its decadent Sunday roast dinners, warming cocktails and cask ales, this historic pub delivers a uniquely British experience hidden in the heart of the CBD. Find out more here.
Find the top spots for a tipple in the city with our guide to the best bars in the CBD here.
The Glenmore Cocktail Bar, The Rocks
The Glenmore in The Rocks has been an Aussie icon since 1921, boasting one of the best rooftop bars in the city with stellar views of Sydney Harbour. With all your favourite pub classic eats and shares that you know and love, done well. Tucked away on the middle level is the classic 1920s Hollywood- inspired cocktail bar – perfect for intimate drinks with friends or cosying up in winter. Find out more here.
The Lord Dudley, Paddington
The barely discernible smokiness of The Lord Dudley adds to its intimate setting, a classic pub meets jazz lounge – the baby grand piano and a rustic stack of tumbling firewood adding to its sensuous charm. Hearty cuisine at its best, you must order the pie of the day or bangers and mash, and wash it down with their classic Bloody Mary. Find out more here.
Zeta Bar, CBD
This bar screams sophisticated charm, with warm mahogany leather furnishings dotting around an enormous gas fireplace. The Hilton’s answer to cold winter nights, this CBD spot serves up award-winning cocktails overlooking the stunning Queen Victoria Building. Find out more here.