Melbourne's eastern suburbs have a treasure trove of wine bars waiting to be unveiled by the most devout grape lover
This classy lounge, atmospherically lit with glowing orange pendants, and specializing in cocktails, table service and a massive swag of wines is by far the best the east has to offer. We're glad as hell that they managed to make a comeback after a fire tore through the place last year – gladder still that they've also opened a craft beer bar upstairs. Hawthorn East.
The former site of Canvas, Chester White (a breed of pig, apparently) sits raised high above street level on the corner of Glenferrie and Burwood. With a sprawling outdoor terrace curving round the sleek glass facade, it's the ideal spot for a summer afternoon vino, or get warm under one of the big brollys and heater. With a minimalist interior and excellent attention to detail. Chester White is all class without being too pricey. Hawthorn.
It's all about wine, wine, wine here - all you need to worry about is whether you want red, white or sparkling and the staff will fill in the blanks. The plethora of three legged silver stools on the street-front provide a place to see and be seen while you bask in the yellow glow of stoic Parliament House, getting a little sideways in the afternoon. Nibble on cheesy polenta chips or spicy jerk chicken wings, perhaps something a little more filling if you're in for the long haul, a spanner crab risotto might do. It matches perfectly with a lightly chilled Roussane the handsome young bartender is just dying to tell you about. Melbourne.
Nestled on the eastern edge of the city centre, not far shy of Fitzroy Gardens, Cohen Cellars Wine Bar is a rustic retreat that seems a million miles form the hubbub. Specialising in boutique wines from the four corners of the globe, it's a wonderfully dark and character-filled spot for impressing a new love interest. With real champagne, a clutch of Italian reds and whites from sunny neighbours Portugal and Spain, it's a round world tour without forking out the cost of an air ticket. East Melbourne.
The joint may have started life as a smoky and sweetly pungent cigar bar, but 2007's smoking ban put a stop to that. With the initial idea up in smoke, management soon refocused on an outstanding list of whisky over 350 deep in single malts alone. Cognac is a close second, but what has remained steady the entire time is the outstanding wine list. It goes on and on, and with staff ready to suggest a night's heaven, it's all too easy to settle back in the thick leather sofas and let it all slide away. And though you can't smoke 'em stogies indoors, you can buy them here and light up outside. Hawthorn.