Myth: Winter is the worst season for drinking.
Fact: Winter is the best season for pub drinking!
How good is the pub? What could possibly trump these sacred havens and fraternal spaces that scream warmth, friendliness and guaranteed tipsiness? Nothing. (Apols to those of you doing Dry July). What's even better is that Melbourne has the best pubs. Because you can't walk five metres in any suburb without hearing the cheery clink of pints or a triumphant roar of a footy supporter, every pub seems to have a point of difference, something that makes it the best of its kind, or of its suburb.
Now it just so happens we're in the season where warmth is the top priority of an evening out on the booze and bites. So, we've rounded up the best pubs in Melbourne that have kindly accommodated by warming our rumps and toasting our marshmallows with their cosy fireplaces! (Editor's Note: Check out our 2015 edition here!)
The Napier Hotel
The Napier is one of Fitzroy's most iconic drinking institutions, and there are certainly a lot of reasons locals and suburb-crawlers frequent its halls. Despite being considered ultimately fitz-trendy – what with its decorative littering of old footy memorabilia, art-plastered walls and stained glass windows – the place has still maintained that good old fashioned pub charm with parmas, pool, pints and footy. But, best of all, they have a big old central fireplace surrounded by cosy armchairs for you to drink in until you are rosy. You'll come for the hearth but stay for the heart.
Where: The Napier Hotel | 210 Napier Street in Fitzroy
Contact: 03 9419 4240
The Union Hotel
The Union may seem unassuming from the outside, but this art deco pub comes complete with a cheap meals, friendly staff and, most importantly, a roaring fireplace. There's always heaps going on at the Union, so if you're keen for a quiet night, it's probably not your best option. However, the room full of sink-worthy couches should be reason enough to check it out. Pop by on a Tuesday for their parma special – five different types (Mexican, Australian, et al), served with a pot for only 14 bucks.
Where: The Union Hotel | 90 Chapel Street in Windsor
Contact: 03 9510 4396
The Local Taphouse
This is no ordinary pub. The boys in Balaclava have brought to you The Local, an incredible European-style craft alehouse with onsite bocce, over 30 beers on tap, and a menu full of serious stomach pleasers. Sit in a wooden panelled nook with views of the street, or warm your mitts in their outdoor area featuring … their open fireplace. There's live jazz on Saturday nights, a beer tasting club that gathers every third Tuesday, and some of the best stand-up comedy nights you'll find in Melbourne.
Where: The Local Taphouse | 184 Carlisle Street in Balaclava
Contact: 03 9357 2633
Town Hall Hotel
This diamond in-the-rough in the heart of South Melbourne is a pleasant change from the hustle and bustle of the South Melbourne Market. Here you'll find not one, not two, but THREE fireplaces to choose from, so your Town Hall drinking experience won't be spent fighting for a spot in front of one. You'll find all the old favourites at this pub, with Carlton, VB and Coopers brews on tap, as well as a decent selection of crafties. The best option is to plan your Sunday afternoon around a Town Hall roast, with three kinds of slow cooked delights accompanied by a live acoustic session. All that with your feet in front of the fire? Cheers.
Where: Town Hall Hotel | 137 Bank Street in South Melbourne
Contact: 03 9690 5148
Image Credit: Pinterest