Howard Smith Wharves, the historic shipping precinct directly under the northern end of the iconic Story Bridge is a dramatic new destination that offers a magical 80 percent waterside public space as-well-as the new Art Series Hotel – The Fantauzzo. The district’s new river boardwalk now extends to New Farm ferry terminal. 5 Boundary St, Brisbane; artserieshotels.com.au/fantauzzo/
Directly under Story Bridge, and just metres from the hotel is Mr Percival’s. This is a magnificent realisation of a bar venue in an overwhelming space. With the girders of the bridge overhead the team at Howard Smith imagined an octagonal room with wood-lined ceilings surrounded by an outdoor over-water drinks garden with cane chairs for lounging, dry bars for enjoying drinks, and tables for dining. It is arguably the best night time view in Brisbane, if not Australia. Looking out over the languid waters of the Brisbane River, the skyscrapers of Brisbane are only a hundred or so metres away, their lights dancing on the dark water.
The atmosphere is lively, almost an excited rowdiness, with well-dressed locals enjoying perhaps a cocktail, a beer or one of the ten Champagnes and sparkling wines on the menu. The food is simple, easy, but well executed. Order your choice of pizza, perhaps some fried calamari, prosciutto, stuffed olives or a lobster and iceberg lettuce roll. You’re here for the view, the drinks and a really good time. 5 Boundary St, Brisbane; mrpercivals.com.au
Five minutes’ walk downstream and you are at ARC Dining. Stylish and tasteful this is a waterside restaurant with, again, a simply superb view of the city skyline and river (featured in Essentials earlier this month).
Upstream in the cultural precinct of South Brisbane a wonderful wine bar/eatery called Maeve Wine has just opened. It sits in a light-flooded room overlooking the Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the city beyond. It is the brainchild of Eleanor Cappa, formerly one of the leaders of the wine team at Movida in Melbourne. She has teamed up with business partners chef Jesse Stevens and front of house manager Maris Cook. The room looks great in the day with its butcher-block style wood mosaic bar, chic black wrap-around gantry, bare wood floors, marble long bar with frosted glass partitioning, while at night the white-glass globe lamps bring out the glamour of the brass fittings.
The wine list is very smart with diverse wines from across Australia and around the world. Eleanor has included winemakers’ names and you get a sense that she has chosen wines on quality first and foremost and then has a soft spot for the winemakers she has met throughout her career. Look out for her jewel that is the reserve wine list. Order the whipped taramasalata topped with salmon roe served with excellent house crisps. The black garlic waffle with blue cheese parfait is a masterpiece in texture and flavour and perfect with so many wines. If you’re hankering for something to go with one of the very well-priced nebbiolos there is a plate of crisp-skinned porchetta with delicately spiced apple purée. Come here before or after the show at QPAC across the road or simply arrive after 4pm (opening time) to share the owners’ sheer love of great wine and food. Upstairs, 39 Melbourne St, (entry from Grey Street) South Brisbane; maeve.wine