Nancy Alexander enjoys the fireplace at the Mercure Hotel Canberra Photo: Jamila Toderas
The sub-zero mornings can take their toll after a while, and there are few things that can quite reverse the effects of winter than a warm, open fireplace.
If you don’t happen to have one in your own home, or don’t want to deal with the effort and mess that comes with running some of them, a number of venues around Canberra have done the hard work for you.
Cosy up and enjoy the gentle crackle of the fire plus a drink to warm your insides at one of these spots:
The fireplace in the lobby at Hotel Hotel in NewActon. Photo: Ross Honeysett
Pot Belly, Belconnen
This well-loved pub’s main heat source is its namesake – the pot belly fire that has operated since the building was constructed in 1975. On a Friday and Saturday night, enjoy the fire with a side of live music. There are also pool tables close to the fire – just watch your seat doesn’t get nabbed when you get up to take your shot.
Mercure Canberra, Braddon
If you’re after old world charm, step into the doors at the Mercure Canberra, formerly Olims Hotel. Their original fireplace, built in 1927, now forms part of the bar and remains the focal point when you pass through reception. Classified by the National Trust of Australia, the building has been modernised over the years, while still keeping its original architecture and character. Order a drink and nestle into one of the oversized lounge chairs next to the log fire.
Old Canberra Inn, Lyneham
Also classified by the National Trust of Australia, the Old Canberra Inn houses two original fireplaces. The property has alternated between a homestead and a pub since 1860, and is now a favourite watering hole for locals and out-of-towners alike. The fires sit at either end of the main bar, most likely having originally been where the bedrooms sat. Pick your preferred fire spot, then relax with a drink – or stick around for a hearty lunch or dinner.
Monster at Hotel Hotel, New Acton
There’s something already quite warming about this hotel foyer, despite its industrial furnishings, but the elongated “fire pit” takes pride of place. While it may only be gas, the two long rows of flame put out plenty of warmth, and there is ample bench and couch seating surrounding it to maximise your chance of getting a spot.
Walt and Burley, Kingston Foreshore
As one of the more recent additions to the Kingston Foreshore, at Walt and Burley you can almost sit by the fire and simultaneously enjoy lake views. While fire-side position is popular, there are three large couches surrounding the fireplace, meaning there’s a slightly lower chance you’ll be fighting for prime position.
Grazing at Gundaroo
If you’re happy to take a short drive out of town, Grazing At Gundaroo offers not one, not two but six separate open fireplaces, that have all been in use for 150 years. If you just want to pop in for a quick drink, the cellar door houses one of them. Otherwise stay for lunch or dinner at the award-winning restaurant to enjoy the other five. Bookings are recommended, and while it can’t be guaranteed, it never hurts to put in a request to dine right next to one of the fires.
What's your favourite establishment to enjoy a beverage by the fire? Let us know in the comments below.