The heater is on. The thermals are out. But before you hibernate, consider venturing into a cosy small bar, where moody lighting and dark spirits await. Let these small bars (and drinks) ensure you welcome winter.

The Temperance Society
A relative newcomer (open only for two months), this small bar is already a hit with Sydneysiders. There’s an array of dark nooks, Chesterfield couches and even a library filled with leather-bound books.

“Sydney doesn’t get that cold, so we have about a month to go all out,” says co-owner Alex Fenshaw, a little tongue-in-cheek.

But what a month: expect mulled ciders made with cloudy apple cider spiced with cloves, cinnamon and fresh orange juice; mulled wines made with Montepulciano, a fruity, spicy red variety originally from Italy; and a hot chocolate made with local chocolate liqueur. Or if you’re feeling particularly fresh, a cold-drip coffee martini.

122 Smith Street, Summer Hill

(02) 8068 5680

Mon to Thu 4pm–11pm 

Fri & Sat 12pm–midnight 

Sun 12pm–10pm

Downtown Bar, the cellar bar to The Commons
Located in an 1859 heritage farmhouse in Darlinghurst, the Downtown Bar is a basement cocktail bar underneath The Commons Local Eating House. Dimly lit with exposed-brick walls, wooden furniture and live music three nights a week, it’s the winter hideaway you carry in your mind’s eye.

Downtown Bar is launching a winter cocktail menu this month with lots of dark spirits. “There will be a Wintertime Sour, made with walnut- and apricot-infused rum, and the Flaming Coffee Grog, a 1950s tiki cocktail founded on Ron Zacapa Rum 23 and Grand Marnier, which is blazed and served warm,” says bartender Flavio Tripepi.

32 Burton Street, Darlinghurst
(02) 9358 1487

Wed & Thu 6pm–12am
Fri & Sat 6pm–1am 

Sun 4pm–11pm

Other cosy winter bars:

Bearded Tit
183 Regent Street, Redfern
(02) 8283 4082

Mon to Thu 4pm–midnight
Fri & Sat 12pm–midnight
Sun 12pm–10pm

Shirt Bar
7 Sussex Lane, Sydney
(02) 8068 8222

Mon to Fri 8am–10pm

Arcadia Liquors
7 Cope Street, Redfern
(02) 8068 4470

Mon to Fri 4pm–midnight
Sat 12pm–midnight
Sun 12pm–midnight

The Hold
Shop 4 Sydney Road Plaza, Manly
(02) 9977 2009

Tue to Sun 5pm–midnight

Wild Rover
75 Campbell Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9280 2235

Mon to Sat 4pm–midnight
Sun 12pm–10pm