From the outside, it would be easy to walk by Maeve Wine unknowing of what lies upstairs. The curious and observant, however, will be lured by the warm glow of bulbous pendant lights shining through the double-hung first-floor windows, dying to know what awaits them behind the heritage copper door on Grey Street. The burgundy painted steps are your first clue – reading Maeve Wine Bar – your second will be the mouth-watering aromas wafting from the curved open kitchen. Maeve takes inspiration from the building’s heritage bones and classic European wine bars of yesteryear with some distinct modern touches, combining the likes of polished timber floors, black curved panelling, brass finishes and marbled benchtops. Woodsters’ Oliver Burscough is behind the fit-out, which is accented by classic bentwood chairs, red-striped linen napkins and tufts of greenery throughout the light-filled space.
Maeve Wine is the latest project from the brains behind Fish Lane neighbour Hello Please, with chef Jessie Stevens heading up the food offering and wine directed by former Movida Melbourne wine buyer Eleanor Cappa. Much like its fit-out, Maeve channels a classic European wine bar, designed for patrons to waltz in for a quick glass of wine and bite, or to settle in and graze for hours. A selection of the day’s house-made breads and pastries will greet you as you walk in, and you can opt to sit up at the bar to watch the chefs in action (and gaze upon the impressive ceiling-high wine selection) or take a seat in the dining room.
The food and drink
Ideally located opposite QPAC, Maeve encourages pre- and post-show imbibing, with the kitchen serving from 4:00 pm right up until close at midnight. As the name Maeve Wine might suggest, wine comes first and foremost here. Eleanor has curated an impressive wine selection, which leans towards smaller producers and less conventional, minimal intervention drops. Wines are available by the glass or bottle and those looking for a more serious sip can look to the Coravin and reserve list to find some seriously rare bottles, predominantly from Burgundy and Bordeaux, but with a splattering of old Australian and Italian producers. If wine’s not your speed, there is a ten-strong list of both beers and cocktails to quench your thirst. On the food front, Jessie has created a seasonally driven menu to complement the wine selection, designed mainly to share but that can easily be consumed as a solo venture. Maeve is built on a flexible dining model, catering to all dining styles and time restraints, with the menu divided into snacks, small and large plates, sides and desserts. The opening will see the kitchen offering a limited menu to start, which will gradually expand over the coming weeks. Expect to find the likes of sourdough crumpets with honey duck ham, hazelnut mustard and thyme, black-garlic waffles with gelatine de vino and blue-cheese parfait, and charcoal-grilled hanger steak with cafe de Paris butter and fries, with the menu evolving based on produce availability.
Maeve Wine officially opens to the public at 4:00 pm today, Thursday March 14. For opening hours and contact details, head to our Stumble Guide.