The heater is on. The thermals are out. But instead of hibernating, it might not be that much effort to make your way to a cosy bar, and the rewards will be evident as soon as you walk through the door. Let these small bars (and drinks) ensure you welcome winter.

LongPlay

LongPlay is a small neighbourhood cocktail bar in Melbourne’s inner north. With a long timber bar, cosy wooden booths and a small cinema tucked in the back, LongPlay is a classy (and often packed) winter haunt.

“During summer there are festivals and events which soak up much of the trade,” says co-owner Tim Richmond. “We’re popular in winter because the opposite is true. People want to warm up on dark spirits and full-bodied red wines.”

Richmond says it’s the time when bourbon cocktails such as the Old Fashioned (bourbon, sugar, bitters and orange) and dark-rum cocktails become more popular. And that’s when they’re not ordering The Hot Toddy.

318 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
0423 115 774

Hours
Sun to Wed 6pm–11pm
Thu to Sat 6pm–1am

Gerald’s Bar

A Melbourne institution, Gerald’s Bar oozes character. Lace curtain hangs off the unassuming shop front window. Inside the walls are decorated with kitsch homey memorabilia, conjuring the idea of a winter cabin or mountain retreat. Oh, and the kitchen dishes up winter roast meats and vegies.

“We have over 280 red wines, but our winter specialty is a hot-buttered rum,” says bar manager Daniel Docherty.

The warm cocktail features a dark, quality rum (think Bundaberg Small Batch or Ron Zacapa 23), an apple and chestnut liqueur and a butter and a house-made spiced syrup which includes cinnamon, clove, cardamom, vanilla and honey.

“The butter makes it creamy,” says Docherty. “It tastes like Christmas.”

386 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
(03) 9349 4748

Hours
Mon to Sun 5pm–11pm

Other cosy bars:

Whisky and Alement
270 Russell Street, Melbourne
(03) 9654 1284

Hours
Mon to Thu 4pm–1am
Fri 4pm–3am
Sat 7pm–1am
Sun 4pm–11pm

Joe’s Shoe Store
233 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9482 7666

Hours
Mon to Sun 4pm–1am

The Alderman
134 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
(03) 9380 9003

Hours
Tue to Thu 5pm–11pm
Fri 5pm–1am
Sat 2pm–1am
Sun 2pm–11pm

Kid Boston
44 Chapel Street, Windsor
(03) 9939 5256

Hours
Wed to Sun 5pm–1am

The Kilburn
348 Burwood Road, Hawthorn
(03) 9819 6699

Hours
Mon to Wed 2pm–1am
Thu to Sat 2pm–3am