The temperature has dropped to single digits, the sky is a dreary shade of grey, and, more often than not, there's ice-cold rain battering against the window (thanks, La Niña). This is winter in Sydney, where North Face puffer jackets and golf umbrellas are the norm. Grab them on the way out the door, as you head to some of the cosiest winter sanctuaries the city has to offer.
Here are five spots where you can enjoy the best bits of a rain-slicked, Sydney winter: the crackle of an old pub's fireplace, the warm hospitality of a welcoming crowd, and hearty roasts, dripping with homemade gravy, served with crisp, golden potatoes.
The Cricketers Arms, Surry Hills
The humble Crix is a pub purists' dream. The leather couches are worn and comfortable, the antique lamps glow with warm light, and the chipped brick fireplace crackles with freshly chopped wood. This scene is never more charming than in winter, when tucking into a classic roast in the upstairs dining room.
Head chef Antoine Vasallo puts a different spin on the Crix' $25 Sunday roast special each week, alternating between old-school recipes (roast chicken, parsnip puree and smoked potatoes) and the Mediterranean flavours of his childhood (porchetta, chilli-charred broccolini and white bean skordalia).
"There is no pretension, it's just good honest high-quality food that is accessible to the average pub patron," says operations manager Janna St Leon. "I think that's what makes our roast so special."
106 Fitzroy Street, Surry Hills
The Glebe Hotel, Glebe
With crowded bookshelves, worn Persian rugs and embers aglow in the fireplace, the Glebe Hotel's dining room feels like stepping into the home of an old friend. Whether you're seated here, or in the public bar, you're guaranteed cosy, winter ambience thanks to two roaring fireplaces.
The Sunday roast special ($30) has a British flair, with roast beef rump cap, onion gravy and the self-professed "best Yorkshire pudding in Sydney". Diners can also choose from a weekly rotation of chicken, pork belly and porchetta roasts. Vegans are catered for with a nut roast.
"It may be cold outside but The Glebe is roasting on Sundays," says co-owner Zelman Nissen. "Seats by the fire are always in demand."
63 Bay Street, Glebe, 02 9692 0414, theglebehotel.com.au
The Glebe Hotel serves a popular Sunday roast in front of the fireplace.
This rollicking French bistro has become a beloved Paddington staple for its subversive approach to all manner of protein.
Pork is their specialty and the current menu features roasted pork shoulder with pomme puree and choucroute garnie, a mixture of sauerkraut, sausages and salted meats ($58).
A rbrick fireplace blazes throughout winter, warming the rustic interior. Grab a bottle from natural wine merchants P&V downstairs ($25 corkage), take a seat on the burgundy leather bench and watch the wild weather from the right side of the handsome picture window.
268 Oxford Street, Paddington, 0423 015 032, porcine.com.au
Pork is a speciality at Porcine.
August The Old Place, Mosman
This storybook heritage home in Sydney's inner north welcomes guests with buckets of bright marigolds, a roaring open fire and a generous BYO wine policy ($5 per head). It's just as well: your favourite bottle of cabernet sauvignon should pair well with head chef and owner Daesung Moon's herb-crusted lamb rack with mint jelly and roasted veg ($42).
Moon trained at five-star hotels, such as the Sheraton on Park, before opening August The Old Place with wife Clare Lee in 2016. With high ceilings, original period features and lush, garden views, it feels like a little slice of the English countryside in Mosman.
"It's a unique, casual dining space for entertaining your friends and family," Moon says.
4/707 Military Road, Mosman, 02 9968 4244
The Duke of Clarence
Hidden down a narrow Sydney alleyway is the Duke of Clarence, an old-school English-style tavern where you can mull over a pint by the open fireplace. The pub fare is very popular, particularly during its Sunday lunch service, when roasts of all manner parade out the kitchen doors.
Roast beef sirloin, turkey or lamb are each served with house-made gravy, Dutch carrots, glistening beef fat-roasted potatoes and a golden Yorkshire pudding ($31). For vegetarians, there's roast pumpkin with wild rice.
Additional condiments, such as hot English mustard and apple sauce, are complimentary. And for the expats missing home, there's the option to add pigs in the blanket for $3.
Laneway, 152, 156 Clarence Street, Sydney, 02 8999 3850, thedukeofclarence.com
A traditional British-style Sunday roast with all the trimmings.