Escape or embrace the chill of Melbourne’s winter weather with our pick of ‘brr-illiant’ bars and restaurants – think roaring fireplaces and indulgent hot chocolates.
Winter has arrived and staying warm and snug in the harsh chill of Melbourne may have you choosing to stay home beneath your heated blanket rather than venturing out. However, this could be your sign to don your best winter woollies and face the cold head-on – at least until you reach the warm and welcoming doors of these restaurants and bars across the city. Take to Melbourne’s elegant 1920s-inspired bars filled with plush lounges and moody lighting, or fill up on freshly made pasta and flavoursome soups. These are Melbourne’s best winter restaurants.
Ready for all things wintery? Discover our Victoria escapes here.
For the city’s best hot chocolate: Mörk, North Melbourne
Decadent warmth in the form of ultra-smooth, rich, creamy hot chocolate is brought to you by Mörk Chocolate Brew House in North Melbourne, the CBD and Queen Victoria Markets. Think liquid gold without the gold. There is no better cure for warming up in Melbourne’s cold than the childlike love of a perfectly brewed, bean-to-cup style of hot chocolate experience, where the joys of every sip are met with the knowledge that Mörk prides itself on ethical trading.
For deeply warming vego food: Moroccan Soup Bar, North Melbourne
Just like a warm hug from Mum, Moroccan Soup Bar in North Melbourne is the key to feeling snug in the winter chill. Not only is this pop of colour warming to the eyes, but a haven for local vegetarians, as it is a proud vego-only restaurant. Don’t let the name fool you: although the soup bar does indeed sell heart-warming broths including spicy and tangy harira, it also serves a variety of banquet nibbles, salads and wraps, including hearty melted halloumi and za'atar. No matter which delicious dish you choose, you will always walk away feeling happy, full, and warm.
For marvellous pierogi: Borsch, Vodka & Tears, Windsor
Picture a fat, golden little parcel of mouth-watering dumpling goodness plopped on your plate at Borsch, Vodka & Tears on the Windsor end of Chapel Street. This Polish restaurant is a charming and authentic representation of a hazy and bygone Eastern European world, specialising in the soul-warming art of vodka-centric dining. Stepping inside this moody abode will have you shedding your winter woollies in a heartbeat, while the pierogi dumpling is designed to warm you from the inside out, melting seamlessly with every bite.
For marvellous bay views and incredible chai: Chain of Fools, Mentone
Just because the air is crisp with winter’s chill doesn’t mean we need to retreat from the coastal haven of Melbourne’s Bayside suburbs – home to warm bites and cosy cafes. Sip on irresistibly authentic Indian chai while gazing across the ocean from Mentone’s Chain of Fools. The cafe is a quaint establishment on the cusp of Mentone Beach, serving warming cups like the Calmer Sutra Chai, or Bottomless Masala Chai – both homemade and equally rich in flavour. Combine the warmth of this sweetly spiced liquid blessing with a slow stroll along the beach path while the sun is shining and feel completely at ease in the cooler weather. To continue the adventure, pop into The Prince Hotel, St Kilda for a warming glass of red.
For old-school pub vibes with a roaring fireplace: The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood
There is no better feeling than removing your heavy winter woollies and delighting in the sensation of a light blush on your cheeks as the warmth from an open fire wraps around you. The Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood is the go-to pub for an ultra-old-school atmosphere, crackling fireplace, and live music lineups. The chicken parmigiana served here grips every Melbournian's mind, body and soul upon consumption. The pub was created with the philosophy of being a warming, welcoming and exciting place to drink, dine, and listen to fantastic music all year round.
For quirky tipples and a cosy lounge: Gin Palace, Melbourne
For lovers of gin, speakeasies, and ambient lighting, Melbourne’s Gin Palace is your winter restaurant of choice. This basement cocktail bar brings a cosy atmosphere that exudes 1920s elegance with plush velvet seating, romantically dimmed lights and notable cocktails. While the winter weather rages outside, rest easy in this fabulous palace and take your time sipping through the vast gin menu, that devotes an entire page to the iconic martini, and warm yourself from the inside out with a hot mug of spiced pear cider, before retreating to Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne for a continued evening of indulgence.
For iconic laneway pasta: Tipo 00, Melbourne
An open marble-slabbed kitchen and the aroma of fresh pasta draw chilly Melbourne residents to Little Bourke Street’s Tipo 00 Italian restaurant. Craftily named after the highest grade of milled Italian flour used in the making of pasta, this sophisticated establishment takes an unfussy approach to Italian cuisine – the food known for its heartwarming capabilities can cure any winter blues. Indulge in an evening at The Hotel Windsor, a ten-minute tram ride from Tipo 00, and dine on the snug ‘Tagliolini al nero’ — translated to a dish of squid ink tagliolini, with squid and bottarga.
For tequila and good times: Bodega Underground, Melbourne
The piercing glow of red neon lights and the perfume of Mexican spice establish a sense of heat from the moment you catch a glimpse of Bodega Underground. Cocktails radiate from the back bar where you will find over 30 tequilas on show among the 70-plus bottles of premium spirits – all used to create crowd-favourite margaritas, piña coladas, and tangy palomas. Wash down each sip with an exquisite bite of authentic Mexican magic – think tostadas, chilaquiles, tacos and zesty salsas. Leave your coat at home and use the 90 minutes of endless cocktails served in the end-of-week bottomless brunch as your source of warmth during the harsh winter chill.
For great wine with a twist: Hope St Radio, Collingwood
Finishing work in the Melbourne winter can mean a long, cold and tram-filled journey home – but this is no longer the norm for Collingwood commuters, with Hope St Radio, housed in the iconic Collingwood Yards. Operating as an inviting wine bar with a twist. Local musicians, artists and DJs broadcast their work and thoughts from behind the bar, providing the soundtrack to your after-work drink. Stay a little longer and enjoy a hearty feast of simple eats, ranging from loving pasta to ocean-fresh oysters and aromatic focaccia, while huddled around the community-loved firepits.
For smoke, sushi and city views: Tetsujin, Melbourne
Nothing warms the soul like the sound of sizzling wagyu beef in a room filled with lively conversations, cooking smoke and plenty of plum wine. Melbourne Emporium’s Japanese restaurant, Tetsujin, takes barbeque dining and sushi to the next level – literally. Located on the fourth floor of the monumental Emporium building, the restaurant overlooks the sparkling city lights. The two dining options offer completely different vibes, with the moody cook-it-yourself Japanese BBQ room filled with tables, neon signs and built-in Robata grills, while the sushi train is a bright white masterpiece of freshness and flavour.
For an alternative approach: IceBar Melbourne
Take an entirely different approach to staying warm in the Melbourne winter and embrace it entirely at the innovative IceBar in the CBD. Instead of removing your cosy winter woollies upon arrival, layer up even more with cold-weather gear provided as you enter the ice igloo. This unique and whimsical bar takes the cold to the extreme, both in design and reality, which you will come to discover as you move through the intensely frosty interior made up of giant ice bricks. Take your pick of the winter-themed cocktails, including the Tipsy Eskimo and vodka-infused Snowstorm, or knock back a Dirty Penguin shot for a real hit of warmth. After embracing the chill of the bar, tackling the winter weather outside will be a breeze.
Feature image: Mörk, North Melbourne.
Discover our Victoria escapes here.
Feeling inspired for a snuggly escape this winter? See our Cosiest Winter Escapes in Australia.