A slick but warm modern wine bar where the excellent food takes a back seat to the ever-changing list of wines on pour, focused on matching the Brisbane climate and favouring New World makers and new wave approaches.
The nuts & bolts
If you like the idea of a complete change in offering each time you visit, Mr Chester is your hideaway wine bar, where good bottles are opened dictated by the mood, then swapped when that mood changes. There are no typical ‘wine list’ rules here.
On a quieter street in Fortitude Valley, you will find a lit sign without words, only symbols: a wine bottle + piece of cheese = a love heart. Luke Reimers, sommelier and interior designer, has created a slick fit-out that plays with light and shade – a heavy concrete bar, elongated wine racks and flood of wicker baskets that hang from the ceiling – it’s industrial meets stylish lounge room. A central column acts as the blackboard with nightly offerings chalked and changed to suit the evolution of food that is simply prepared behind the bar.
Reimers and manager and wine aficionado Oliver Chia are constantly on alert for the next wine to rave about. The wine offering is designed around Brisbane’s balmy climate, so with a concise, ever-changing collection of 20 or so wines on pour, a sighting of bold reds is rare. “Pét-nats are always a good idea, no matter the time of the night,” says Chia.
It takes a lot of thought to create a short list with a diverse offering that encourages a healthy conversation between the duo and guests, but they do it with aplomb, each and every time.
Small plates offer big flavour and evolve as quickly as the drinks. “Pop-in punters are our vibe,” says Riemers. “We are not a restaurant, don’t come for a main meal. Come in and ask for something delicious, stay for a snack and feel free to stay late”.