East End Wine Bar, Hawthorn East

Bars, Eat, Melbourne / 5 August 2019

Art Deco glam meets wine, cheese, and pizza when heritage and hospitality collide at East End Wine Bar.

Young’s Auction House, a Melbourne institution, had stood at the Camberwell Junction for 85 years when it closed in late 2015. Known equally for style, quality and being an egalitarian space that welcomed all, the heritage venue left large – and very loved – shoes to fill. Enter East End Wine Bar, the newest resident of the iconic space, a classy and casual wine bar meets pizzeria, that is keeping the tradition of quality and eastern suburbs’ hospitality alive.

A joint project by Demon’s ruckman Max Gawn, Saint James Cafe owners Rich Donovan and Craig Tate, as well as Phil Gijsbers of Burnley Brewing, the former auction house has been transformed into a space that blends the building’s 1930s style with modern accents to create a venue that is on-trend while still honouring its history.

While the plush velvet booths and angular blonde wood bench tables make for a modern and very Instagrammable look, the high ceilings and art deco reliefs in the roof over the entry hint at the building’s Jazz Age history.

Deceivingly small and unassuming from the outside, the slip of a building runs deep, with a casual tapas area, a more formal dining space, and a chill alfresco courtyard coming together to accommodate 130 diners and sippers. And with an impressive selection of local and imported hard-to-find wines worthy of a sliding library ladder, there’s plenty of sipping to do!

East End Wine Bar Wine Selection

The menu has been concisely curated to pair with the wine selection and is designed, like all the best things, to be shared. Start off your visit with a build-your-own cheese and charcuterie board, choosing from East End Wine Bar’s selection of cheese and cured meats – all artisanal and sourced locally and from abroad – or hit up the pizza menu for a gourmet take on your favourites.

We tried and loved the Gawny. A rich tomato base, topped with tender lamb, zingy peppers and creamy smoked scarmozza, the Gawny is finished off with mint and a yoghurt drizzle for a delicious, Mediterranean vibe. If you want to try as many of East End’s meats as possible, indulge your smokey carnivorous side with the Sir Charles – spicy sausage, Serrano, pork and fennel salami, pear, smokey sauce, and the reliable workhorse, smoked scarmozza – and you’ll be in cured heaven. At the other end of the spectrum, the Toddy will please your plant based mates with vegan pepperoni and dairy free cheese paired with a tomato base, mushrooms, and chilli.

East End Wine Bar Pizza

With plenty of nibbles on the menu as well – almonds, olives, rillette and co – East End Wine Bar is great for a quick sip and bite for those nights when you don’t have time for a full wine and dine session.

Don’t have time to sit at all, but still want to wow your friends with a boutique wine? East End have got you covered there too, with their wine catalogue doubling as your chic neighbourhood bottle o for a high quality vino grab and go. And if you’re not sure which bottle is calling your name, the knowledgeable staff are on hand to make sure you’ll have the perfect pairing, whether you’re dining in-house or at home.

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