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1889 Enoteca

Top Wine Bars Etc
  • Wine glass icon
    Apart from Champagne, the list is all Italian, with a focus on lo-fi, both traditional and avant-garde, with lots of vintage depth.
  • Fork icon
    Inspired by classic Roman cuisine
  • Dollar icon
    Small plates $7–$32, large plates $32–$98 per kg (Moreton Bay bugs)
  • Folding chair icon
    16 outside
  • Wine list icon
    Drinks menu
  • Food menu icon
    Food menu

The lowdown

Modelled on the great enoteche of Rome, 1889 is a temple to Roman food and great Italian wine – expect classic seasonal cooking and plunder the wine list that runs deep with some iconic verticals stretching back decades.

The nuts & bolts

  • Opened 2008
  • Function spaces: 40 guests

1889 Enoteca owes half its name to the heritage-listed Moreton Rubber building’s history, but the other half, and the source of its inspiration, is to be found in the great wine bars of the Eternal City. Owner Dan Clark has been travelling to Italy for over 20 years. “The great enoteche of Roma are the inspiration behind 1889 Enoteca. I have been lucky enough to travel to Italy many times … and had the opportunity to go to great Roman institutions such as Enoteca Ferrara and Casa Bleve. …Their ability to showcase great Italian wines matched with wonderful Roman food is what got me hooked.”

This inspiration is keenly felt at 1889 Enoteca, with the sense of history (albeit local) radiated by the chiselled brick walls, underscoring and complementing the commitment to Italian tradition, as Clark says, “We are, hopefully, a little piece of Trastevere in Woolloongabba.” The menu follows a traditional path with Roman heroes featuring, such as the emblematic fried artichoke of the Jewish Quarter, carciofi alla giudia, or zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies. Cacio e pepe is joined by a spaghetti carbonara made with guanciale, of course, while veal saltimbocca and a diversion from Rome with the classic Tuscan bistecca alla Fiorentina are all secondi staples.

Clark’s vast list strolls through the key Italian wine regions, with the depth of wines from any one producer the great strength, not to mention the sheer weight of sought-after bottles from the greatest of Italy’s makers, with broken verticals from the likes of Bartolo Mascarello (back to 1961), Giacomo Conterno and modern skin-contact pioneers, Radikon and Gravner, along with natural wine icons Frank Cornelissen and Salvo Foti.

Many of the listings come from Clark’s own travels, with his commitment to the wines he sells extending to importing many himself. In fact, Clark is in the wholesale business, too, with some of Italy’s finest on his vast roster of producers, which he sells nationally. Over the years, that list, as well as the list of the Enoteca have steadily leant towards makers with a natural bent, which, in Italy, means both the avant-garde and the staunchly traditional.

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