As the crisp winter air sets in, we find ourselves seeking cosy spaces to nestle into, preferably with a concoction in hand that goes down like a warm hug by a fire. For just a brief moment we can layer up, rug up in our best coats and drink like we’re somewhere the cold feels natural and never deters us from a night out.
Dispersed along the streets of Subi, you’ll find an array of small bars serving winter warmers designed to shake off the chill, leaving us cheerful and limber — from a nip of Scotch or brandy to mulled specials and smoked negronis.
Here are some of our favourite spots to stop this season.
CHERUBINO CITY CELLAR
Cherubino’s is possibly the ultimate hideaway for a cosy winter beverage with class. Tucked out of sight above gourmet provisions store Simon Johnson, this dimly lit space feels classic yet contemporary. Find a nook and settle in to one of its plush emerald chairs before taking your pick from its wide selection of winter warmers.
Perched atop the bar, miniature barrels containing traditional and Mezcal negronis have made their way into the recently revamped cocktail list, for good reason. A warming beverage in its own right, when aged in barrel the classic negroni becomes markedly more rounded, connecting all the flavours together for a deliciously smooth experience. And with Mezcal? This smoky spirit that’s similar to tequila adds another layer of depth, with its peat-like characteristic indicative of a puff of a cigar by the fireplace.
Have you ever experienced winter in Tulum? Well, that’s exactly where the latest creation from the mixologists at La Condesa intend to take you with their seasonal cocktail special.
Served warm from a hotpot in a coupe glass rimmed with cinnamon and clove sugar, Winter in Tulum is a decadent tipple designed exclusively for the season. To make the drink, white chocolate is heated over the stove with coconut milk before being combined with reposado tequila and a mix of sweet spices, including clove and star anise. If you’re a fan of silky-smooth vanilla and caramel notes, this one is for you.
There’s no drink that staves off the winter chill quite like a mulled wine, and Bar Amelie is serving a top tier addition to the category. Using a recipe hailing from co-owner Kat Dehavilland’s days of owning a bar in London, this classic is jam-packed with deep fruity flavours, sweetness and spice (think freshly cut oranges, lemons, cloves and whole cinnamon).
Take things up a notch and indulge in a whisky paddle, curated to showcase a range of whiskies from around the world. We recommend pairing it with the ‘trio of crème brulee’ dessert for a rich and delicious flavour combination.
We can’t discuss drinking dens in Subi without mentioning the iconic Subiaco Hotel. Well prepared for the winter season, ‘the Subi’ is serving a mulled Aperol that is as drinkable as it is weather appropriate. Made using Aperol, white wine, apple juice, honey, cinnamon and cloves, it’s well-balanced with bitter, sweet and spicy notes that excite the tastebuds all at once. Settle into one of the comfy lobby booths and easily knock back more than one.
If a campfire warms the cockles of your heart, Koba has just the cocktail for you. Using woodchips to fuel a smoke infuser, their ‘Foggy Negroni’ is encapsulated in a large glass jar filled with an enveloping smoke that imbues the drink with its woody aromas.
Served as described, it’s left to the recipient to unveil the drink by lifting the jar, unleashing a swirl of smoke like some magic trick. Theatrics aside, it is one tasty cocktail.
A rich stout is inherently designed to be drunk when it’s brisk outside. Bark knows all about it, which is why they’ll be introducing a dedicated stout tap all through winter to celebrate this bold beer style. Enjoy smooth, rich and velvety brews with dark flavours of cacao, chocolate, coffee and hazelnut, available on rotation from your favourite local breweries — featuring Otherside Brewery, Eagle Bay Brewing Company, Shelter Brewing Co. and more.
REFUGE SMALL BAR
Refuge Small Bar comes into its own during the cooler months as people seek out a hearty meal and beer to warm up as the rain comes in. With some candlelit booths and cosy nooks, it’s an ideal spot to while away fresh nights over some warming winter drinks. Take your pick from its seasonal cold weather beers on tap, such as Nail Red Carpet and Otherside’s Sabbath Stout, cocktail specials like its Coconut Negroni, its collection of small batch whiskies, or indulge in a mulled wine available Thursday to Saturday.
Lums is hard to beat when it comes to an intimate venue for fine winter wines. This bustling bar generates an upbeat vibe so score yourself a spot in a corner downstairs, or take a seat upstairs where it’s more spacious, and settle in with a bold wine and a cheese board.
Currently the winter favourite is the 2021 Frankland Estate Touriga Nacional — big, bold, meaty with some molasses-soaked berries and nuts.
Specialising in modern Asian fusion flavours, Shui is a stunning space with an extravagant paper crane inspired ceiling, designed by renowned architect Rachel Feldhusen. At the helm of the kitchen is the iconic chef and co-owner Leigh Power, while the brain behind the bar menu is another hospo legend and co-owner, Benny Tua. With new indoor/outdoor heaters up and running for winter, and a warming woodfire oven inside, it’s a great place to escape the cold.
The cocktail menu is packed with innovative delights. We’d recommend the Yuzu Sour cocktail for the season – an indulgent textural drink with hearty Japanese whiskey and yuzu. If a thick, hazy, hoppy brew is more up your alley, Mountain Culture NEIPA is on its rotational tap at the moment, and just placed first at this year’s GABS awards.
Take a seat in this contemporary corridor space linked to the renowned Dilly Dally restaurant for some casual cocktails or the latest beer release pouring from its 12 craft tap points. With whitewashed brick and partially jarrah-clad walls, an arched ceiling and ambient lighting, you’ll be feeling snug in this setting.
We recommend their Milano on a cold night. This Italianised twist on the classic Manhattan is sweet and bold, made with Stambecco cherry Amaro and Carpano Antica formula vermouth, combined with Bulleit rye whiskey from Kentucky.
SPIRIT OF LITTLE THINGS
Red wine + gin? A rich and delicious combo. Once again, Spirit of Little Things has released their award-winning Tempranillo Gin, and this vintage just might be the best yet. Crafted using hand-picked grapes from Mazza Vineyards in Donnybrook macerated in Australian Dry gin for nine weeks, this drink is packed with dark forest fruits and finishes dry. Enjoy it on the rocks or paired with dry ginger ale for a spicy kick.