Step in from the bustle of the Windsor end of Chapel Street and you enter a veritable Santa’s grotto for drinkers, a fancy booze emporium with pretty much every drink you can imagine – and plenty you probably never knew existed. From exquisite bitters from Germany to rose nectar in bottles that belong in a period drama to sakes, stouts and soft drinks, it’s little wonder the shop’s motto is “Drink Different”.
Run by wine educator Joanne and ex management consultant Rob, who’ve done a remarkable job to squeeze so much into their small space, every nook and cranny contains something of interest. Their craft beer list is more than 200 strong and drawn from every corner of the globe, including Australia, with two of the seven taps on its back corner bar usually pouring beers from Victorian micros. “Taps?” you say. Yep, Chapel St Cellars also invite customers to pull up a seat in store (or at tables out front) and enjoy their offerings at no extra cost to takeaway prices. You can also take in your own food or sample some of their own produce, including oysters and cheeses.
There are weekly tastings and a beer club that’s introduced regulars to the likes of Mikkeller, BrewDog and the world of lambics. Towards the end of 2010, Rob also started Tap2Go – a means of taking home draught beer in various sizes of plastic bottle, a scheme aimed at the area’s large student market and also festival goers normally limited by the relatively small number of beers available in cans.
Chapel St Cellars is nothing if not unique and a venue that’s testament to the passion of its owners.