The Commons Local Eating House - dining room with roaring fire
You’ve been out with the bunch or on the trails having a ball. It’s been a great ride and while you were out, you were more than warm enough. But now the pace has quietened, the hills are gone and it’s time for a post ride drink.
And as you slow down it hits you. You are absolutely freezing. You can’t feel your face it’s so cold. You suspect your nose has finally stopped running because everything in it has frosted over. Your fingers are starting to tingle as a head wind that feels like it’s coming straight from Antarctica attacks your skin like tiny needles; flints of rain batter your eyelids relentlessly.
Yep – we’ve all been there.
You need a coffee – or maybe even something stronger – a meal in your belly and you desperately need to warm up. Fear not, we've got you covered with some bike-friendly establishments that not only serve you a steaming cup of Jo or a hefty pale ale, but even have a roaring log fire. It’s the perfect end to a winter ride. The only problem will be getting up and leaving….
The Commons Local Eating House
32 Burton Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney
Breakfast: Weekends 8.30-3 Lunch: Thu – Sun 12-3
Afternoon Drinks/Snacks: Thu – Sun 3-6
Dinner: Tue – Sun 6 till-late
Seasonal Set Menu caters to large groups 20+ (Bookings essential)
Private dining room available for groups of 10 – 16 people
The terms ‘seasonal’, and ‘locally sourced’ are used in reference to food these days as a way of suggesting a point of difference between the dishes some restaurants produce and the ‘others’. Just because it’s all of a sudden necessary to make sure the discerning diner knows you are using Bultarra lamb fed on salt bush (and not importing frozen chops from china), that doesn’t mean there haven’t been people who have always cooked this way. Because to them, their food isn’t locally sourced food, it’s just food.
The Commons Local Eating House cooks this kind of food. Influenced by classic European cuisine, they focus on creating dishes that are all about the ingredient that is freshest right now. Throughout the colder months they keep the fire stoked, luring people in from outdoors to sit by the flickering flames and thaw. They are more than welcoming to cyclists and have even participated in the Sydney Rides Festival whipping up tasty bites for Sydney’s cycling community.
Great coffee, classic cocktails at the Downtown bar with live Delta blues and jazz on Wednesdays and Thursday’s. The Commons sets the mood, the fire crackling in the back of the beat.
The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
19 Kent St, the Rocks, NSW Australia 2000
Bar, Brewery, Restaurant & Accommodation
Bar Hours: Mon – Sat 11-11, Sun 12-10
Restaurant Hours: Thu – Fri 12-3, Tue – Sat 6-10
Like many others, we first came across Lord Nelson because of their beer. The ‘Three Sheets’ pale ale is featured on lists all around the country and abroad, because quite simply it is a cracking beer. The Lord Nelson is a destination for beer and bike lovers from all over. Get close to the fireplace with pint in hand and defrost with a good meal.
The winter menu has a distinctive Nepalese feel to it right now. Why not show your support for Nepal and give the “sticky oxtail momo” a go (Nepalese dumplings). Warm through with their “Himalayan spiced fish curry” and finish up with “cardamom and ginger brulee.” Wash it all down with the “Old Admiral” (their boisterous malt ale) and your post-ride is probably looking as good as the ride itself.
Two Before Ten
The Aranda Shops, 68 Bandjalong Cres, Aranda, Canberra 2614
Mon – Fri 7-4
You can definitely squeeze in a couple of coffees post-ride at two before ten, and you might just find yourself hanging around a little while longer, book in hand.
With the space next door functioning as a cosy library, you can grab a good read from the shelf, find a spot by the electric fireplace and warm your aching muscles.
“Electric Fireplace! I thought this article was about fires….” It’s okay, the electric fireplace is more of an electric fire place-holder at the moment. The folks at Two Before Ten have hot plans to install a pot belly stove just as soon as they can get approval. Roasting their own beans on site, you can be sure they know how to pull a perfect espresso…and they do some pretty slick cocktails in the bar too.
Go light with house ‘granola, Greek yoghurt and seasonal fruit’ for brekkie, or hang out for lunch and go home feeling happy and only a little bit guilty after you demolish a ‘pulled coffee rubbed beef brisket, caramelised onion cheese roll.’ (Drool).
9 – 11 Peel Street Collingwood, VIC, 3066
Tue – Fri 12-late
Sat & Sun 2-late
As you roll around the corner of Smith and Peel the first thing you will undoubtedly notice about your destination is the neon pink hero-pig firing lazers from her eyes and destroying inferred foes in a flare of infrared ferocity.
That’s Lazerpig, but don’t worry, the only thing getting cooked around here is classic sourdough based pizza with a Melbourne twist. As you move inside, Lazerpig will gently warm you through in an entirely non-dangerous way as you sample pizzas with charming names such as “Mary had! A little Lamb” and “The Fun Guy” (mushrooms obviously) while the fire crackles at your side.
Lazerpig’s sourdough recipe is a trade secret and every batch of dough is proved for at least 72 hours before they crisp it to perfection using (Lazerpig’s lazer vision!) their hand built pizza oven cranking at over 400 degrees. It’s not only pizza (although you would be daft not to try it first), they do burgers and antipasto, salads and desserts too.
Classic cocktails are excellent and D.J.s keep the beat as you chow down on some seriously good sourdough.
37 Bellerine Street, Geelong, 3220
Mon – Fri 7-4 & Sat 8-4
Go and get out of the city and check out some of the fantastic riding available in Geelong. If you thought great coffee and great food was a Melbourne only anomaly, you thought wrong. Café Go is a favourite destination for Geelong’s dedicated cycling community, dishing up all day brekky and with fresh healthy options as well.
The fireplace crack and pops throughout the colder months; a real reward for a cold day’s coastal riding. Go takes inspiration from a range of international cuisine, putting up plates loaded with the likes of ‘Portarlington Mussels w Zeally Bay Sourdough,’ or the daily curry special: slow cooked using the freshest market produce available.
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The Cudlee Café
2 Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek, South Australia, 5232
Sun – Sat 8-5
With a menu to reflect the seasons riding, you can be sure to warm through by the fire at the Cudlee café and enjoy a hearty bowl of winter soup with Turkish bread too. Babette Wilkinson makes honest food, true to the local organic produce she uses. Simple things done well like her classic Cudlee breakfast, and steak sangas.
The worst kept secret of the Adelaide hills, the Cudlee café is hugely popular among riders in the area with mountain bike trails and hill climbs in all directions from the front door. They crank out quality Amanti coffee and Cudlee is fully licensed, so wash it all down with a big dark ale or English Stout, before cruising home with full belly and warm feet.
Hope & Anchor Tavern
65 Macquarie Street, Hobart, Tasmania 7000
Seven days, 11.30-late
They say the Hope & Anchor Tavern is Australia’s oldest continuously licensed pub. Established in 1807, the Hope & Anchor has gone through many changes since supplying local seaman and traders with their grub and grog in the early 1800’s. One thing that certainly hasn’t changed is the emphasis on good hearty meals, and quality draught beer.
The Hope & Anchor is a veritable maritime museum with memorabilia and antiques lining the walls. Take a stroll around the restaurant itself and enjoy the warmth of the hearth while you wait for your fresh whole baked Tasmanian flounder to arrive piping hot out of the oven. Beauty.
Monty’s on Montpellier
37 Montpellier Retreat, Battery Point, Tasmania, 7004
Tue – Sat 7-late
With temperatures plummeting in Australia’s southernmost state you had best park the bike, get out of the cold and find a spot by the open fire. Why not enjoy some of Tasmania’s best cuisine while you are there. With some of the world’s best produce at their doorstep it’s no wonder Monty’s puts up such amazing dishes featuring predominately local Tasmanian produce.
Dating back to the 1890’s, the building itself houses a number of open fireplaces in cosy rooms. Why not take all the fuss out of the situation by letting the chef feed you? The set menu is sure to please, each dish selected with every other in mind celebrating Tasmanian produce such as Cape Grim beef, Tasmanian oysters and salt bush.