Vote for your favourite hotel or bar for a winter food and drinks

Updated July 26 2022 - 8:48am, first published 5:00am
National Hotel venue manager, Rani Doyle gets one of the hotel's open fires going. Photos: Morgan Hancock
National Hotel venue manager, Rani Doyle gets one of the hotel's open fires going. Photos: Morgan Hancock

With winter well entrenched, it is a perfect time time to explore the up-sides of the season - dining rooms with crackling fireplaces, warming beverages and tasty meals served in an atmosphere of cosy bonhomie.

There are dozens of welcoming warm winter pubs and bars around Richmond to choose from, many of them offering fireplaces and good kitchens.

They could be big or small, with a fire or just cozy, serving mulled wine or other winter drinks and wonderful, warming winter food.

The Inner East Review is giving readers the chance to vote for their favourite winter warmer venue. Just go to and click on the Winter Warmer form to nominate and vote for your favourite local.

Here we publish a small selection - based on social media recommendations - of venues with open fires, or serving meals with mulled wine, to give you a taste.


344 Victoria St, Richmond 9429 8811

The National is well endowed with fireplaces - there are two in its main bistro areas and one in the function room.

"During the week, especially in winter it gets quite cosy," venue manager Rani Doyle says.

"We get a lot of families and people for after-work drinks and dinners.

"Sundays are a bit of a family day and friends catch-up."

The pub serves dinner every night from Tuesday to Sunday, with a well-reviewed menu of Asian-infused dishes as well as pub classics.

Among the former, sticky pork ribs with sriracha slaw, steamed bao with crispy pork belly, hoisin sauce, chilli and pickled cucumber is popular. So too is soft shell crab bao with pickled radish and herbed mayo.

Crispy skin barramundi fillet with Asian greens and lemongrass-lime sauce, and turmeric and cumin grilled prawn rice salad are some of the fresh flavoured items on offer.

The pub has a Wednesday parma night and a recently introduced Thursday steak night and a good range of steak and burger-type standards.

Musically there's a mixed vibe, with more mellow offerings like jazz or classics likely during the week, while the weekends see the tunes turned up a few notches.

On Tuesday nights there is trivia.

Drink-wise, a good selection of Australian wines, and a few French ones, are available. There is a cocktail menu featuring freshly devised additions each week.


274 Church Street, Richmond 9428 6198

Abby Moret at Atlas Vinifera ... "number one in Richmond for mulled wine",
Abby Moret at Atlas Vinifera ... "number one in Richmond for mulled wine",

During lockdown Atlas Vinifera was selling 40 litres of mulled wine a week takeaway, and demand is still strong for the wintery brew, which the bar sells takeaway by the cup or bottle and delivers free to anyone in the 3121 postcode, as well as serving it in-house.

Co-owner Abby Moret says the recipe is her business partner Rabiya Oeztan's creation.

"It's just the best in Richmond apparently."

Moret and Oeztan are pretty serious about their wines.

Atlas Vinifera specialises in small-batch Australian wines from small independent winemakers, with a list that changes weekly, and regular Wednesday night tastings, which the winemakers attend.

It also serves hundreds of international wines.

Food-wise, there is "a rotating selection of cheeses, charcuterie and antipasto".

Moret says the buffalo mozzarella is a standout offering. "It's served with tomatoes, basil, salt - just a giant ball of mozzarella. It's really, really delicious."

While it doesn't have a fireplace, Atlas Vinifera is "a well heated, cosy little space".

"And we have nice ambience. We get the candles out when it starts to get dark."

The place is only licenced for 35 people and often fills up, but doesn't take bookings.

"We have heaps of regulars and we want to make sure locals can still get a seat at the bar," Moret says.

As far as music goes, you might hear David Bowie or Nirvana or Lou Reed.

"We have really good playlists," Moret says. "Classic rock, disco or funk - depending on who's working."

Well-behaved kids and dogs are welcome, with the latter accommodated in the courtyard.


53 Balmain St, Cremorne 9421 6909

The Cherry Tree Hotel ... mulled wine in front of an open fire
The Cherry Tree Hotel ... mulled wine in front of an open fire

Hidden away in the back streets of Cremorne, the Cherry Tree is a welcoming pub with a seven-day-a-week kitchen, casual vibe and an "eclectic bar", according to assistant manager Sarah Davidson.

"We've got something for everyone, or we try to," she says.

With a fireplace in the front bar and a warm dining room, the Cherry Tree is a cosy winter choice. "We do mulled wine, we've got lots of dark beers on tap, lots of good red wine," Davidson says.

The kitchen is open from midday until 9pm daily, and a menu of pub classics, wood-fired pizzas and smoked meats such as beef brisket, pork rib and pulled pork.

Thursday is steak night and a newly-introduced winter menu, including lamb shanks and sticky date pudding.

On the musical side, expect old-school soul and funk, with DJs on Friday and Saturday nights.


64 Lennox St, Richmond 94281564

Dee O'Kane at the All Nations Hotel ... pub standards and roasts
Dee O'Kane at the All Nations Hotel ... pub standards and roasts

Known as the former location of footy talk show The Front Bar, the All Nations is a cosy pub for winter where you won't need to miss the game.

There are fireplaces in every room, gas heaters in the courtyard, a "snug bar" and "TVs all over the place", publican Deidre O'Kane says, "so people coming in for footy or races can watch from any part of the hotel".

The clientele is made up of "a lot of locals, including quite a few families early on Friday and Saturday nights" and "young ones from all over".

As well as the chicken parma the place is known for and its menu of pub standards like beef and Guinness pie, bangers and mash and steaks. There also is a special menu of "warming foods" like roast beef, chicken Kiev, lamb shanks, spiced chicken kebabs and curries.

The All Nations is vigilant about its beer lines and has "some of the best beers in Melbourne," O'Kane says. "We also have a good array of wines and quite often change it up to get what's new on the market."


Jenny Denton


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