AFL player Max Gawn opens wine bar

Athletes do more than hang out at the pub during off-season, last month Melbourne Demons ruckman Max Gawn opened his own wine bar in Melbourne’s suburb of Hawthorn East.

Teaming up with Saint James cafe owners Rich Donovan and Craig Tate and Burnley Brewing operator Phil Gjisbergs, Gawn has made the unexpected leap into hospitality.

“Having always loved the Melbourne hospitality industry with a particular passion for all things wine, it seemed a no-brainer to combine the two and open East End Wine Bar,”says Gawn.

East End Wine Bar is located in one half of a former auction house on Camberwell Road. Originally built in the 1930s, the antique dealer closed in 2015 before the site was split in two and completely renovated and refurbished.

The team has designed the space to feel like an old English pub, with the less-than-traditional additions of tall windows and an outdoor courtyard. Inside the raw brick walls and timber tables contrast starkly against charcoal velvet booths and colourful wine posters.

The wine list, mostly by the glass, aims to tick all boxes with wines from all over the world, from old-world makers from Beaujolais and Barolo, to local experimental producers like Victoria’s Jamsheed label. With the help of Burnley Brewing, East End also has its own brew, East End lager, in tins and on tap.

The food is set to maximum approachable, with patates frites (crisps), pate and rillettes, and charcuterie and cheese boards (three portions for $30).

There’s also a list of eight 12 inch pizzas that have the option for gluten-free bases and vegan cheeses. Let's hope the signature Gawny pizza, with tomato, lamb, mint, roasted peppers, smoked mozzarella and yoghurt, kicks a goal.

Photography: Simon Shiff.