10 cosy spots to wine and dine by the fire

Escape the chill and cosy up fireside at these restaurants, cafes, and bars that serve up top nosh and beverages to the tune of a crackling fire.

White Rabbit Brewery

White Rabbit Brewery may be an industrial-styled haven for beer enthusiasts in Geelong but it’s also a great spot to escape the crisp air. Time your visit well and you’ll land a spot beside the fire – the best seat in the house during the cooler months – as you savour their heartier varieties of the Dark Ale and Pana Chocolate Stout. A serving of the sticky date pudding topped with caramel sauce and double cream is also sure to warm you up.

Claribeaux

Watch die-hard golfers tee off from the comfort indoors at Claribeaux with views of the fairways and greens from most tables. Dine on a French-inspired, contemporary fusion menu made with local produce while you defrost by the fire. Between mouthfuls be sure to look up and admire the waved wooden-slat ceiling, one of the many creative structural elements of the new build.

Nicol’s Paddock

With its rustic charm, stunning vineyard views, and superb wines, Nicol’s Paddock is the perfect spot to unwind. During the cooler months the couches by the fireplace are sought after spots for working your way through the shared-style, wholesome menu. Keep an eye out for the mulled wine that may make an appearance as the temperature drops.

Jack Rabbit Vineyard

Take a seat by the fire and dine on a stunning menu crafted by head chef Dwayne Burke while looking out to views across Corio Bay to the You Yangs and Melbourne. Pair it with a glass of one of Jack Rabbit Vineyard’s award-winning, sophisticated cool climate wines such as merlot, shiraz and shiraz cabernet.

Geelong Cellar Door

A must-visit for wine lovers, Geelong Cellar Door is a sophisticated wine bar in central Geelong that oozes art deco charm. Take your pick from the extensive collection of cool climate local wines and slide into a booth or take prime position beside the fireplace. Don’t be surprised if you end up taking something home from the floor-to-ceiling wine wall.

Clyde Park Vineyard

While it mightn’t be quite the fireplace you’re thinking, Clyde Park Vineyard has an outdoor woodfire pizza oven that does a mighty fine job of warming the crisp winter air. Bonus is you get a delicious pizza (our pick is the Peking duck) and can try some of the James Halliday five-star rated wines. Other comforting dishes can be found on the bistro menu, from steak straight off the grill to a warm carrot salad. Be sure to appreciate the stunning outlook over the lush rolling hills of the Moorabool Valley.

Café Go!

Set inside a quirky weatherboard house, Café Go! is a go-to for comforting dishes with big flavours in central Geelong. Take your pick from the cabinet well-stocked with house made items or select from the menu peppered with favourites. Settle in with a cuppa by the fire before heading out to explore more of Geelong and surrounds.

Ambergris Hotel

Ambergris Hotel brings an old-world charm to central Geelong. Grab a fireside seat in the Chesterfield lounge and dine on nibbles or elevated pub fare with a cocktail to wash it down. Much like the rich history of the Gold Rush-era building, dishes here are far from simple and give you a taste of the classics reimagined. Think a Parmi, chicken Maryland and pork belly, but not quite as you know them.

Scotchmans Hill

As far as titles go, Scotchmans Hill has a few. The winery is one of the oldest and largest on The Bellarine. It’d be fair to add one of the cosiest to that list. If the winter sun is shining, rug up and let the rays warm your skin under the covered courtyard with views that stretch out over the bay to Melbourne. Or head inside the cellar door for a spot by the open fire. Scotchmans Hill is a consistent producer of well-made wines and that’s been recognised with a 5-red star James Halliday wine ranking.

The Whiskery

A sip of The Whiskery’s Grey Fantail single malt whisky is sure to warm you up on those cooler days. If that doesn’t do the trick a spot indoors by the fire will get your temperature up a few notches. While you’re there taste some of the award-winning gin varieties made in house with a tasting paddle and give a pat to the doggies that feature on each bottle. For those not afraid of a bit of cool wind, The Whiskery’s outdoor area is an impressive sight and is kitted out with heaters and a firepit to beat the chill.

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