We challenged the clever people behind the Melbourne’s Bars and Pubs app to choose the city’s best crackling fires for a warming winter drink in the coolest venues around town. Here are their remedies for a Victorian chill…

1. Captain Baxter, St Kilda

The crackling fireplace of this St Kilda hotspot is a great counterpoint to dark and stormy ocean views outside. On Sundays the Captain Baxter has a three-course, Korean-inspired lunch for $45 per person (book ahead).

2. Grace Darling Hotel, Collingwood

Take cover from the howling wind and pelting rain at this adored local’s secret which serves a weekly-changing sunday roast, complete with roast vegetables and gravy. The menu at the Grace Darling has a strong emphasis on local and sustainable produce, too.

3. The Alderman, East Brunswick

Think mulled wine, Scrabble boards and moody lighting – very Brunswick! Snuggle up in a booth and order some nibbles for a perfect afternoon. Or be on the lookout for the next opening night art exhibition date. (03) 9380 9003

4. Aer Bar at the European Bier Cafe, CBD

Melburnians have an infatuation with rooftop bars, and winter doesn’t mean this love affair has to end. The Aer Bar is fully weather proof with its floor to ceiling awnings and retractable roof. Cuddle up with your dearest by the fire with plates of tapas.

5. James Squire Brewhouse at The Portland Hotel, CBD

Winter calls for indoor activities and next to James Squire’s fireplace, in the snug Portland Hotel, is a fully operational in-house craft brewery. Take the free tour through the full process of beer-making.

6. The Rainbow Hotel , Fitzroy

Some of the country’s finest blues performers grace this friendly establishment at weekly live music gigs. There are over 100 different beers on hand, so you can park yourself by the fire with a glass of rare or limited edition liquid gold. therainbow.com.au

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7. The Water Rat Hotel, South Melbourne

This history-laden hotel not only holds ‘whiskey club’ tastings in front of its fireplace, but also six-course Australian Wine Dinners. You can pick the featured winemaker’s brain at the Water Rat as fine food and vino are served ($110 pp).

8. The Leveson, North Melbourne

A Melbourne favourite for a hearty Sunday brunch – The Leveson opens at 11am with a specially designed cocktail menu and free gift bags for kids! And you’re greeted by a toasty fireplace as you enter. Come here after a morning Queen Vic market run.



Melbourne anyway you like it

Australian Traveller issue 57: Guide to the Kimberley Special

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