The best winter bars and restaurants in Melbourne

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The best winter bars and restaurants in Melbourne

winter bars and restaurants

Warm your guts with the best winter bars and restaurants in Melbourne.

Winter’s got us by the scruff of the neck so we’re compiling the best winter bars and restaurants in Melbourne. The allure of a hot cocoa alongside your rekindled flame has overcome your basic social obligation and the 7am rise ‘n shine alarm has swelled out to a 10am ‘I don’t want to take the doona off’ siren. It’s a daunting time for us all but there are always avenues of escaping winter’s dreary aversion. Beat’s donned a turtleneck and some hosiery, some thermals and a balaclava to find the best bars in Melbourne to abet that remorseless winter fever.

Winter may have arrived, but you can rest assured that our beautiful city has more than a few places of respite hidden away. Whether you want to channel the Vikings while you drink from a horn or eat in a natural history museum while you chow down on something deliciously warm, we’ve found the best spots to while away your winter in Melbourne.

You can also check out Melbourne’s most comprehensive guides to the best bars and pubs in each suburb and street here.

The best winter restaurants in Melbourne

Rob Dolan Wines

Rob Dolan Wines is bringing the perfect pairing to the Yarra Valley this winter with their new Pie & Pinot offering, making them by far one of the best winter bars and restaurants in Melbourne. Serving Boscastle pies, known for their hearty, decadent flavours, paired with award-winning Rob Dolan White Label wine, these labours of love come together perfectly to warm you up from the inside.

Flavours include the korma curry and vegetable pie, Dolan’s personal go-to, paired with a glass of 2018 White Label Pinot Gris. There are classic pie flavours as well, such as the chicken and mushroom which is perfect alongside a 2017 White Label Chardonnay, while the hearty beef and burgundy finds its perfect pair with a 2016 White Label Cabernet Sauvignon. The winter classic roast lamb and vegetable has you spoilt for choice, offering both a 2017 White Label Pinot Noir or Shiraz of the same year. 

Find Rob Dolan Wines at 21-23 Delaneys Road, Warrandyte South. 


The first thing that hits you when you walk through the doors of Brunswick Street’s Mukka is the scent of spices wafting from the back – as soon as it hits, your mouth instantly waters. There’s a mix of languages being spoken by both patrons and staff, and the eclectic décor really puts you at home in this cosy restaurant.

The charm of the restaurant lies within the decor and the promising smell of Indian food. All the chairs are miss-matched, but still in the colour scheme or orange, white, and teal – similar to the colours of the Indian flag. A local street artist in Fitzroy did the in-house mural featuring old school Bollywood actress Waheeda Rehman – there’s a cocktail on the menu named after her, and everything you smell is all produced in house. 

Find Mukka at 365 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. 


Pizza Religion

We’ve all been in the throes of the Friday night pizza order conundrum, when indecision gives way to sheer frustration. If you’re needing a hiatus from your pizzeria locale, jot this down. Touted as the antithesis to your ‘typical pizza joint’, Pizza Religion offers up a new league of carborific yet delightfully unconventional wheels to remedy your wildest cravings.

Notorious for the best house-made gluten free bases and superbly flexible approach to dietary requirements, each pizza comes made with love. The menu isn’t too Italian-leaning at all, with a new vanguard of offerings like the Brisket Pizza or Pork Sausage keeping Melburnians coming back for more. 

Find Pizza Religion at 12-18 Claremont Ave, Malvern and 493 Tooronga Road, Hawthorn East. 


Thunder Road Brewery

Thunder Road Brewhouse offers a wide range of beers including classics, such as the Full Steam Lager or the easy-drinking Brunswick Bitter. If you are feeling adventurous, why not try the Boysenberry Milkshake IPA? It’s brewed with fresh boysenberries and lactose.

Outside of that, the eggplant parma with Napoli sauce and fresh mozzarella salad or the hearty mushroom cheesesteak with sautéed field mushrooms, peppers and vegan cheese will be sure to satisfy vegetarian guests. All of these tantalising food options are made inside a vintage airstream caravan situated in the leafy courtyard.

Find Thunder Road Brewery at 130 Barkley Street, Brunswick. 


Field Black

At Field Black, you can find brekky and brunch staples like sourdough toast, eggs on toast, smashed avo, as well as vegan hummingbird cake, oats and warm breakfast granola crumble. From there, the range is vast and consistently appetising: Korean spiced chicken waffle with kimchi slaw; pulled pork and halloumi toastie; chicken laksa with tofu; Portobello mushroom burger with a fried egg on a brioche bun; duck cassoulet with pork sausage braise; and the vegan puku-kai bowl, which includes a slathering of superfoods.

The menu covers an impressive variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options alongside some more decadent meaty and cheesy stuff. There’s a specialty kids menu and all meals can be augmented with a range of sides and add-ons like healthy greens, vegan cashew feta and Casa Iberica chorizo.

Find Field Black at 468 High Street, Northcote. 


Trippy Taco

Trippy Taco has long held a special place in the hearts and bellies of Melbourne’s vegans and vegetarians. Serving up Mexican street food style dishes, the restaurant has been going strong for over 19 years now. It’s fair to say the store is part of the city’s furniture at this point – and with the assorted menu sporting flavours from across the board, it’s clear to see why.

A lot of the menu is heavily influenced from owner Simon Fischer’s pre-food truck days in America. “I was living in San Diego and my friend who I was living with taught me how to make the tortillas. We’d literally just be making tortillas every night and then I was going down to Mexico surfing a lot, as we were only 20 minutes from the border, eating lots of tacos down there.”

Find Trippy Taco at 234 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. 


Le Bon Ton

If you heard the name Le Bon Ton without knowing its backstory, you’d think it’s a French restaurant – surprise, it’s actually comfort food straight from the southern states of America. The menu showcases dishes and cooking techniques from all over the American South – inspiration for their dishes comes from New Mexico to Alabama.

If you’re in the mood for something smoked, the courtyard has two offset smokers and a big cabinet smokehouse offering up Riverina grain-fed Angus beef briskets and pork shoulders which are mesquite-smoked for up to 16 hours. After those long hours of waiting, the meat gets slathered with barbeque sauce – a comforting taste based on a mix of Texan earthiness and Carolina vinegar.

Find Le Bon Ton at 51 Gipps Street, Collingwood. 

Mjolner Melbourne

Modern Scandinavian design meets historic Viking features at Mjolner, a huge 80-seat restaurant upstairs with a Speakeasy cocktail bar below in a busy Laneway in Melbourne. Speciality dishes from the rotating carvery menu are perfect for a winter’s night – with a special shout-out to the roasted bone marrow. Keep your blood pumping and your extremities from turning blue with Mjolner’s signature cocktails, wines, spirits, craft beers, and – of course – mead.

Find Mjolner Melbourne at 106 Hardware Street.


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Fancy Hank’s

Does anything scream ‘warmth’ quite like American-style BBQ meats cooked in a custom-built, two-tonne smoker? Think brisket, ribs, and pulled pork – all served alongside traditional sides and unique dishes inspired by a mixture of southern cooking and Aussie style. The meats here are sourced free-range from Gippsland and served with house-made condiments produced by the award-winning chefs out the back. A glass of red from the local wine list pairs perfectly with the huge windows, ideal for observing the bustle of Collins Street below. Don’t let the wall of glass scare you, as heaters and hot drinks are guaranteed here in winter.

Find Fancy Hanks at level 1, 79 Bourke Street.


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Natural History Bar and Grill

This one takes inspiration from the world’s most iconic natural history museums. A huge space, Natural History seats 350 people at a variety of table, booth, bar and lounge options. Michael Deany and Jaime Wirth designed the layout of the venue, separating the elegant and artistic dining room from the booth and bar areas where “all manner of early and late-night shenanigans are planned to occur”, they say. Artist Vanja Zaric created the diorama in the dining room – a 15-metre expanse of taxidermy and mural – that gives this already unique space its name. Steaks, chicken, and a crab lasagne are all highlights of the menu; Natural History provides a steakhouse menu with a South American twist. While a beautiful spot to camp and spend hours poring over your meal, Natural History is a respite from the cold and adds serious uniqueness to your lunch break – they encourage speedy eaters to try the Cajun Fish Sandwich, named one of Australia’s best fish burgers by Herald Sun Food Editor Dan Stock.

Find Natural History Bar and Grill at 401 Collins Street.

Shujinko Ramen

Late-night ramen, early ramen, black ramen, spicy ramen, stir-fried, cold, hot, big, small – the sheer number of choices are ridiculous. Shujinko, rebranded from its previous incarnation as Menya Sandaime, serves you traditional and elegant Japanese cuisine 24 hours a day. An ode to the night-owls and party animals amongst us, the friendly but bustling vibe sees queues out the door, even in the wee hours of the morning. If you head here after a night out, or before one, make sure you line your stomach with fried chicken or gyoza.

Find Shujiunko Ramen at 225 Russel Street.

The best winter bars in Melbourne

Boilermaker House

If you’re looking for a speakeasy that’s only a short walk from a main train station or tram stop, head over to Boilermaker House on Lonsdale Street. A Boilermaker is the signature drink around which Speakeasy Group’s second Melbourne venue was created: a mere splash of whisky paired with a smooth and simple beer. Over 800 whiskies and a rotating roster of various beers mean there are almost limitless options for your late-night creation, all served with a small taste of cheese or meat to enhance your flavourful experience. Perfect accompanied with their extensive range of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, along with entrees and mains from the House kitchen. The venue is warm for the body and for the eyes; slabs of wood as serving platters, a stone-top bar, and cosy booths are all welcome relief from the chill of Melbourne’s wintery streets.

Find Boilermaker House at 209-211 Lonsdale Street.


1806 opened its doors in 2007, won the title of The World’s Best Cocktail Menu in 2008, and thereafter became a place for education and pilgrimage for mixologists from all around the world. This venue combines prohibition-era décor with a repertoire of classic cocktails made to please everyone, served up to you by a team of quirky, insightful bartenders. Each cocktail comes with a story; the menu starts off in the mid-1700s and provides a cocktail for almost every decade – as well as its well-known descendants.

Find 1806 at 169-171 Exhibition Street.


Eau-De-Vie offers some of Melbourne’s most creative cocktails and they pride themselves on their five-course degustation experience, served at the degustation table alongside expertly crafted drinks. Bookings can be made throughout the main bar area and in the private booths as well as for exclusive private events in the Whisky Room. ‘The Whisky Room?’ I hear you asking… Well, it’s exactly what you think it is; a room dedicated to the bar’s huge collection of rare and exclusive whiskies. Good luck finding it, though. The entrance to this room is as hidden as the bar itself – tucked behind a bookcase. As if they weren’t catering to our favourite drinks enough, Eau de Vie also offer Bottle Lockers; you can purchase your favourite spirit bottle from the bar, and store it for your next visit – practical, safe, and classy. Do yourself a favour and become a regular.

Find Eau-de-Vie at 1 Malthouse Lane.


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Siglo Bar

Siglo is an open-air rooftop terrace found on Spring Street, commissioned in 2007 as an ode to the Princess Theatre’s 19th-century mural. 20th-century architecture featuring French industrial steel and glass creates a timeless and elegant drinking space. Don’t worry about the ‘open-air’ setting – they’ve got you covered in winter with outdoor heaters and classic cocktails, as well as premium spirits, wines, and champagnes. A bar food menu is also available, with house-made rillettes, smoked salmon with crème fraiche and dark rye, fluffy pork buns, and crispy, golden fingers of fried polenta all at your fingertips while you sip.

Find Siglo Bar at Level 2, 161 Spring Street.


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Heartbreaker Bar

Located on the corner of Lonsdale and Russell, you won’t miss this one – just keep an eye out for the cherry-red neon sign that reads Heartbreaker in calligraphic script. There’s a jukebox up for grabs, and a rowdy vibe cementing this venue as a bar that values both quality and speed – drinks are churned out as fast as you can say ‘the famous four’. There are four pre-batched cocktails to choose from, including Negroni, Martini, Old Fashioned and Manhattan. Rare spirits and bottled cocktails can be ordered and taken home until 11pm – although you can linger at the bar, in a booth or at a table, for way, way longer.

Find Heartbreaker Bar at 234A Russell Street.


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I’m taking you to my grandma’s place and we’re going to have an espresso martini while listening to the bourbon-soaked baritone of Tom Waits. You arrive with surprise to realise that grandma’s place is also adorned with 19th century kitsch lamps, an open fire place, church aisle booths and gregarious wall-hung taxidermy. Prudence’s beer garden provides an intimate environment to snuggle up and tell your grandchildren some bedtime stories (no, not really) and once they’ve gone to sleep, treat yourself to a whisky served neat.

368 Victoria Street, North Melbourne

The Wesley Anne

I’ve already spoken about the aptitude of a pie in fighting winter’s bacteria with Beat’s Guide to Melbourne’s Best Pies, but I haven’t touched on an open fire’s expertise in the same field. Well, put them both together and you have Northcote’s 19th century church reconfiguration the Wesley Anne. They’ve sorted out winter to a tee with $12 pie nights on Wednesdays and a $14.99 roo and red (with mash and veggies) occasion on Mondays. The fireplace keeps you warm out the back, and it wouldn’t be a bar without alcohol so make sure you try their dark & stormy.

250 High Street, Northcote

The Great Britain Hotel

If cheap beverages are the only way to get one out of their trackies on a Saturday night this winter then the Great Britain Hotel could be in for a busy chill. $7 pints (of anything), basic spirits and house wine between 5pm and 7pm every day is scintillating and while they always offer a vast selection of ales and draughts. Plus, mulled wine is the Great Britain’s specialty in winter – the perfect voice box warmer for their Wednesday open mic night.

447 Church Street, Richmond

Back Bar

At Back Bar, you feel like home… in the 1920s. Put on your flapper dress and cloche hat and come on down to a setting fashioned with Axminster carpet, a pressed metal ceiling, antique Victorian sofas and ornate mirrors. Picturing the Great Gatsby? Wise you are. It’s cocktail heaven cushioned by an open fireplace and an arrangement of board games for when you want to sit on the rug and accuse Professor Plum with the lead piping.

67 Green Street, Windsor

Young & Jackson’s

Residing at the bottommost end of Swanston St, it’s arguably Melbourne’s most conveniently positioned pub. Naive discernments of Young & Jackson’s emanate ‘it’s the same old’ or ‘it’ll be too busy’ generalisations, but the 19th century hotel is actually your perfect sanctuary as you straddle back from the MCG on a Friday night. The Mercury is making all the noise this winter among three boutique ciders upstairs. Take off your North Face, the heater’s set to 25 degrees.

Corner Swanston & Flinders Street, CBD


Windswept and frostbitten, the Scottish team behind the Highlander bring expertise and astuteness to a Melbourne winter bereft of the ice and snow they’re so accustomed to – but it’s not out of place. What better way to tussle Melbourne’s less than Scottish winter than with a serving of haggis balls and mayo. What about a 10-year-old Talisker whisky with water? They’re wise measures until you try their mulled wine which’ll have you cooking and feeling like you’re sitting in Edinburgh’s Last Word Saloon on Christmas Eve.

11a Highlander Lane, CBD 

Whole Lotta Love

There’s no better way to combat the cold than to belt out your lungs to a crowd of zero judgement and complete encouragement. Brunswick’s Led Zeppelin-inspired whisky bar and lounge Whole Lotta Love runs an open mic night every Wednesday for those willing to unveil their secret winter bedroom projects to a completely supportive and harmlessly appraising crowd. Grab a single malt whisky and talk Led with the bar staff. Now, you’ve reached optimum warmth.

524 Lygon Street, Brunswick

Section 8

They’re vowing to keep you as snug as a bug in a rug this winter despite being predominantly outdoors. How? They keep things toasty all day with radiant heaters beaming from the ceiling and tall infrared free standers suitably spaced. Section 8’s done the extra homework for the winter run home with over 20 beers freshly pioneered. Yet through all this innovation they haven’t forgotten their famous Glüwein mulled wine recipe, dating back to Section 8’s inauguration in 2006.

27-29 Tattersalls Lane, CBD 

Baxter’s Lot

Mulled wine, stout beer and hot apple cider are established remedies for winter’s wounds but they prove boring when you arrive at Baxter’s Lot. The guys at Fitzroy’s Irish hideaway are making hot toddies (typically liquor with water, honey, herbs and spices) for you as well as alcoholic teas in what can only be considered an effort to embrace the freeze rather than lament it. Open mic night every second Sunday helps warm the lungs but if you don’t feel compelled to perform, let the pros do it for you with live music every week.

302 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

This article was created in partnership with City of Melbourne.