But baby, it’s cold outside. This year, summer was quick to bid us adieu – it seemed like one minute we were binning scooped out cups of passionfruit gelato by the beach, and the next we were binning umbrellas irreparably wrecked by endless weeks of wind and rain.
However, there are some pleasures in life that winter really makes its own. One of our personal favourites is hiding out in a warm, dry cafe, with a flat white or pot of earl grey (or turmeric latte, if that’s what you’re into), nose buried into a dog-eared book, whiling away the afternoon in cosy delight.
Next time it’s bucketing down outside, settle into one of our favourite cosy cafes in Sydney.
The Tea Cosy
33 George St, The Rocks 2000
Cosy by name, cosy by nature. Hidden away in the historical Rocks precinct, this little gem serves one of Sydney’s best Devonshire Teas. Fresh scones baked using a generations-old family recipe are served with thick double cream and gourmet jams such as strawberry, pear and vanilla or fig and ginger. On the outside, The Tea Cosy is an 1870s heritage-listed building, but step inside and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to your nanna’s old country home, filled with kitschy decorations, cross-stitched art, a wooden piano and baskets of knitting everywhere.
Warm yourself up with a pot of tea, from traditional English Breakfast to varieties such as apple pie or caramel whiskey. The best part is that very pot comes in a fluffy tea cosy – like a sweater for your teapot!
16 Glebe Pt Rd, Glebe 2037
A long-standing favourite both with Glebe locals and nearby University of Sydney students, discover a warm, inviting interior filled with wooden tables, blackboards, cute knick knacks and retro posters. If you’re lucky you can even grab one of the little cushioned nooks tucked under the stairs to snuggle up in. Warming dishes like chai porridge with stewed rhubarb, pistachios and honey or butternut pumpkin and leek soup will make you feel like you’re being hugged from inside.
Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore
78 Oxford St, Paddington 2021
Sink into a comfy plush armchair, then sink into one of the 30,000 used books lining the walls of Ampersand Cafe & Bookstore. Endearingly messy shelves, worn Persian rugs and vintage furniture characterise this iconic Paddington cafe. Tuck yourself away into a nook or settle in at one of their wooden tables. When all that reading gets you peckish, sip on a soup of the day with sourdough or nibble on one of their delicious gluten-free brownies.
Brainwave Cafe Ultimo
732 Harris St, Ultimo 2007
This adorable Thai-infused cafe is hidden away in an alley off bustling Harris Street in Ultimo. For maximum cosiness, take the stairs to their upstairs seating area, where you’ll encounter an inviting room with wooden tables and couches dotted around a large communal table, all warmly lit with exposed bulbs. Soak in the atmosphere, finish off some work, check out the small art exhibitions they put up, or catch up with friends. We love that it’s open late, until 7pm on weekdays and 9pm on fridays, when they have live music!
Gertrude and Alice
1/46 Hall St, Bondi Beach 2026
This Bondi institution is a quirky haven nestled among the backpackers and beachgoers that surround it. With over 25,000 books lining the walls from ceiling to floor, it’s one of the best places to settle in for the afternoon while working your way through a pot of their famous chai. Our favourite winter menu delights include Moroccan lentil stew, warm breakfast crumble with poached apple and berry and their hot lemon, honey and ginger tea.