Opened in March, Maeve Wine is the passion project of longtime friends and colleagues Eleanor Cappa, Maris Cook and Jesse Stevens. With extensive hospitality experience gained in Melbourne, Sydney and Europe, the team of three have reunited in their hometown of Brisbane to open their first business together, the third brainchild for Cook and Stevens.

With a front corner position facing the Cultural Centre and Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), the team saw a niche opportunity to reach late night diners. “The thought process behind Maeve was based around the fact that we’re right next door to Brisbane’s cultural precinct,” said Cook. “We noticed a gap in that market and thought, ‘If it doesn’t work here, we don’t know where it will.'”

With Cappa positioned behind the wine and Stevens at the food helm, it was a no brainer for these business partners to put a 1920s European twist on Maeve, matching Australian and European wines with European dishes. “Ellie has the knowledge and experience when it comes to wine having worked alongside Greg Malouf and the guys at MoVida as well as a personal connection,” said Cook. “Jesse has worked in Sydney and the UK, now joining us to design the menu.”

With the help of local and international suppliers, nearly all the food at Maeve is freshly made inhouse, including the bread and pasta. “While we still buy in our cheese from Italy and Australia, we’ve started looking into making our own,” said Cook.

The menu includes grazing boards of European meats and cheeses ready to pair with the perfect glass of wine. “We wanted to make the menu fast and approachable for diners such as pre theatre goers. We also cook until midnight for those who may want a bite to eat after a show.”

The hull they moved into proved inspiration for Maeve’s personality and spirit, opting for a space the team could make their own. “It’s such a beautiful building and of course it came with a unique set of challenges. But to do a European wine bar in an old style building makes sense. The beautiful building was originally a bank in the 1920s, so we already had that authentic backdrop and feel of an old European bar. It’s a space that we want to wear into we don’t want it to look modern or brand new.”

While the Queensland National Bank Building has been home to a myriad of residents since its construction in 1929, its newest shell Maeve has already made itself known. “We have people in all the time because of the late night trade. It’s refreshing to see a half full dining room at 11pm. It shows that diners do want to be out a little later; you just have to be in the right location.”

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