Brisbane’s bank buildings get all the breaks. First, there’s the Gresham Bar inside the Queen Street NAB building, then there’s the Boom Boom Room that is literally housed in a vault, and now there’s Maeve Wine. Found upstairs in the heritage-listed National Bank Building in South Brisbane, Maeve is accessible by Grey Street. With little more than a sign and a copper door, Maeve’s unassuming frontage manages to emit a secretive allure that compels punters over the threshold and up to a flight of burgundy stairs into the main dining area.
By sheer pedigree, Maeve Wine has a winner’s DNA. She’s a product of the mind of Maris Cook, one of the brains behind popular Fish Lane mainstay, Hello Please, and emerged on Brisbane’s dining scene with a distinct personality all of her own. With a distinctly European bend, Maeve is unlike other wine bars, so whether you’ve come for a quick glass of wine and a bite, or plan to settle in for carafe and a repast, she wants you to slow down, take some time, and properly savour the sensory experience.
To that end, Maeve’s menu is malleable to whatever occasion brings you in. Executed under the deft leadership of head chef Jessie Stevens, the menu is curated as a seasonal complement to the wine cellar. With the colder weather we’ve been having, current standouts include the sourdough crumpets with honey duck ham, porchetta with spiced apple, and rum baba to finish. And in keeping with her European compass, every dish is designed so that it can be shared among a group or enjoyed as a discrete serving.
‘Maeve’ is an Irish name that means ‘she who intoxicates’, and from here we can understand where her heart is really at. Maeve’s lifeblood is meticulously selected by Movida’s former wine buyer, Eleanor Cappa, and continues to reflect the European ethos with a cellar focussing on smaller producers and minimal intervention wines. The resultant library of bottles is an 80-strong showcase of the cutting edge of winemaking, ready to hand in bolt holes behind the bar.
When you first meet her, Maeve seems like a nod to heritage and tradition, with dark wood furniture, gold fittings, and red and white napkins. But on closer inspection, her modernity emerges in details like the soft orb lighting and the option of bar seating which brings guests up close with the machinations of the open-plan kitchen. Further evidence of her radical contemporaneity is her pledge to providing a truly spectacular experience at both an affordable price point and until an unreasonable hour. Her bar and kitchen are open and trading from 4 pm until midnight every night of the week, just to make sure no one is left at a loose end. Above all, Maeve is a place for the people.
Here's our picks of Brisbane's bes wine bars.
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Images for Urban List