Having spent the last few years living abroad I now wish to rediscover my home city of Sydney to keep that 'travelling feeling' and share my findings with those that might want a bit of inspiration.
Published April 25th 2014
Warm up in style at these drinking holes
When the weather gets cold we all want to get warm. The allure of an evening on the town doesn't elicit the same excitement as balmy summer nights. Yet the crackling of yellow flames to couple warming alcohol can often do the trick. There is little else in the world so enticing as a warm fire in winter. Here are our picks of the Sydney scene for drinking and dining fireside.
1) The Foxtrot Crow's Nest
Small bars have always been alluring, although indoor small bars sometimes suffer in Summer as patrons flock to open beer gardens. The Foxtrot in Crow's Nest is one such venue that will see a return from the flock as the evenings get colder. Discreetly marked by only a small sign and lamp this indoor haven has revamped its menu in recent months to include tacos, sliders and all things one can share. The cocktail menu is well considered, and the back room is a winters eve delight. Chesterfields, jazz music often and a crackling fire will all invite you to linger.
If you're more of a traditionalist looking for a nice meal, TAB facilities, a beer garden and plenty of space then the iconic Great Northern Hotel in Chatswood will tick all your boxes. A family-friendly pub that is a main stayer on the North Shore also has a warming fireplace that has the sparks lit in winter. Stretch out and enjoy the creature comforts in equally comfortable company. Not the place for fashionista's perhaps; here you will find all ages ranging from the very young to the very old.
If you love tradition and your tastes hark back to yester year then Sydney's Lord Nelson Hotel is as authentic an Austalian pub as you're going to find. Whilst vintage is currently trending and more bars incorporate 1800 and early 1900 style into their dιcor plans, the Lord has remained true to its non-pretentious roots and channels the by gone era without making those over 35 feel out of place. Not a 'trendy' venue, the Lord is a traditional, welcoming Australian pub. The fireplace is authentic and just begs for you to remove your shoes (oh but please don't) and warm your chilled toes by the fire.
Another authentic venue on this list is Glebe's Australian Youth Hotel. Not to be confused with the backpacker hotel and hostels that populate this area, the Youth Hotel comprises several eating and drinking spaces. A splendid sandstone courtyard compliments this traditional terraced pub. A gourmet restaurant also provides an alternate more distinguished listing to the bar menu. Keep your eye out for specials the Hotel has participated at least twice in the last 3-4 months in the dimmi dining specials offering 50% off. The traditional, authentic fireplace coupled with Chesterfield sofas, dark wooden tables and aged posters complete the cosy feel. You could almost be forgiven for thinking you were in England!
Don't fear the city for a night out in winter. Nor think that all bars with fires equate to woolly jumpers and boots. Zeta Bar at the Hilton is as glam as they come. Unlike cute, hearty bars that urge you to get comfortable, Zeta Bar incorporates their striking fire to elicit seduction. This is the place to dazzle and be dazzled for the patrons, views and drinks are just as hypnotic as the dancing flames.
The well-known Oaks Hotel in Neutral Bay has recently completed their internal refurbishment making the inside now as nice as the outside (massive fairy lit fig tree populating the centre of the beer garden). A feature of the renovation is the classy fireplace that gets lit on frosty evenings and not just in winter, just whenever it's cold! So it's now the perfect summer and winter venue for patrons of all ages on the lower North Shore.
Once a heritage farm in Darlinghurst, The Commons retains much of its original calming elements. Fresh, quality food, heritage sandstone walls, and ambient 'golden age' drinks and music. A cosy feel, friendly service and flavourful food. Common by name, not common by nature. What more can one ask for in winter!