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Open: Mon-Tues 10am-6pm, Wed Late, Thur-Sat 10am-1am
Baranows used to be a cigar lounge with its Havana-themed decor, expert staff and 700-plus cigars, it was one of the country's premier smoking establishments. All that changed on 1 July 2007 when the Victorian Government introduced new legislation banning indoor smoking in licensed premises. While the new laws signaled the end of Baranows as a place to sit in plush leather couches and smoke Cubans while discussing world politics, it didn't kill the venue. Far from it. Rather than shutting up shop, the owners decided to take everything that made Baranows such a favourite and turn it into a whisky lounge. Two years later, Baranows is thriving. Complimenting its huge collection of international cigars with some of the world's finest whisky, they stock over 300 varieties and have bottles that cost more than $4000. That said, there's excellent scotch and whisky to suit anyone and the bar staff are more than happy to help you wade through the minefield. Surprisingly - for a whisky lounge - the cocktail selection is actually quite extensive and runs for several pages. There's also a good selection of boutique and imported beers from around the world. The fact you can't smoke your cigars inside anymore is a real shame, because Baranows is seriously plush. The Havana-themed decor takes in chocolate brown leather couches, elaborate coffee tables (with hollowed out centers showcasing whisky and cigar samples), palms, smoking Indians and the like. It's ideal for a spot of revolutionary talk over whisky and well worth the trip to Hawthorn.