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Brisbane welcomes Bar Miette, Andrew McConnell’s new Euro terrace bar

Gimlet. Supernormal. Cumulus Inc. Cutler & Co. Marion. These are some of Australia’s most lauded venues, all with two key things in common – their founders, Andrew McConnell and Jo McGann. The duo has made their mark in Melbourne with their dynamic and varied array of venues and now, luckily for us, they have set their sights on Brisbane. Their first venue, Bar Miette, is an entirely new concept for Andrew and Jo, and we were treated to a special preview ahead of its official opening.
Jun 28, 2024, updated Jun 28, 2024

Eight years. That’s how long Andrew McConnell and Jo McGann have been planning their first Brisbane concepts. “We came here eight years ago,” reflects Andrew, “when it was still a hole in the ground. That was the first time we were told about this project – and eight years ago, Brisbane was a very different place”.

About five years following that initial site visit, the pair – who spearhead Melbourne-based hospitality group Trader House – signed the lease. Roughly three years after that, we are welcoming the group’s first Brisbane venue, Bar Miette.

“Anything as ambitious as this building, design-wise and in this location, is going to have challenges. But the owners of the building really persevered and stood by their intent – and it’s really paid off,” Andrew remarks, looking up at the building that looms above us.

I am sitting with Andrew on the terrace of Bar Miette, ahead of its official opening on Monday July 1. Despite being part of the design process since the beginning, Andrew seems equally as awestruck as I am by the finished product – we’re taking in the already-lush greenery, the idyllic view, the way the aspect simultaneously makes you feel connected yet removed from the hustle and bustle of The City. “It’s not until you’re actually sitting in the space, that you can feel all of the elements,” he says.

The European-inspired terrace bar is positioned on street level off Queen Street, sitting above its sibling venue, the highly anticipated Supernormal, which is set to open in the coming weeks. Andrew and Jo have worked closely with Vince Alafaci and Caroline Choker of Sydney’s ACME on the design concept for both venues, which has been an exciting process for Andrew.

“Vince and Caroline – who we worked with on the design for Gimlet and Apollo Inn – are really talented,” he says. “They have really nailed the brief and created something really special.”

As you round the corner to enter the venue, you’re immediately removed from the rush of Queen Street, enveloped by Bar Miette’s charming atmosphere. Contrasting the austerity of 443 Queen Street, Bar Miette exudes warmth and character. Inside, a clutch of 16 bar stools gather intimately around the curved bar – an ideal perch for an early morning espresso or meticulously made martini. The ACME team took cues from Brisbane’s iconic tuff cliffs for the interior space, reflected in its earthy tones, materials and textures.

The bar flows into the verdant outdoor terrace, where subtropical greens and sun-kissed umbrellas perfectly frame the view of the river and Story Bridge. Dotted with Parisian-style woven bistro chairs and burgundy-hued round tables, the terrace is classically European – a theme that carries through every other aspect of Bar Miette, from its branding to its menu.

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Open from 7:00 am weekdays and 8:00 am on weekends, Bar Miette will serve coffee and a European-style breakfast menu in the early hours, which will segue into an a la carte menu from midday. “The a la carte menu will run all the way through the day until late,” Andrew tells me. “So you can come here at 4:00 in the afternoon and have a massive meal, or just a glass of wine or a coffee with your colleagues.”

“The location has influenced what we’re doing here,” he says. “Not just influenced – dictated to us what it should be. Having access to Queen Street, this view, the Riverwalk beneath us, the dynamic of The City behind us – even considering what we are doing downstairs at Supernormal – we needed to anticipate what people needed and what they wanted. And I think that’s having something that’s open all day.”

“It creates a very dynamic space,” he continues. “It creates a different form of goodwill with our guests – they can rely on us to be here. For a coffee and a breakfast meeting, or come on your birthday and have a few bottles of wine and snack all afternoon with half a dozen mates. Or just come and sit at the bar with a cocktail. People can be spontaneous in how they want to use the space. You don’t have to commit to a three-course entree, main, dessert format.”

“You can choose your own adventure. And to me, that’s the fun part of having a restaurant like this.”

Andrew has been working alongside executive chef Jason Barratt (ex-Paper Daisy) to craft the menu, which has been driven by the Queensland climate and access to the best local produce – and, of course, Bar Miette’s European influences.Sun-drenched mornings on the terrace will feature breakfast options such as tahini and cinnamon toasted granola with organic vanilla yoghurt and passionfruit, house-made spelt crumpets with whipped maple butter, walnut and banana, a crispy bacon bap with gentleman’s relish, and the seasonal breakfast plate, which currently features flatbread, pickles, olives, fetta, hummus, a mollet egg and marinated vegetables –  inspired by a memorable visit of Andrew’s to Turkey. Coffee, tea, juice and soda accompany the breakfast menu, alongside a bloody Mary and Milano Fizz served from 10:00 am.As the sun positions itself firmly above us, the a la carte menu takes over. Split into snacks, seafood, cured, on toast, salads and sides, cheese and desserts, it’s easy to see how Andrew’s ‘choose your own adventure’ vision could unfold.

Snacks, such as anchovy gildas and crudite with tahini dip and green sauce, would pair perfectly with the Miette Martini as you cosy up to the bar. A long lunch, on the other hand, might feature raw coral trout with local capers and citrus oil, poached local king prawns with sauce rouille, beef carpaccio with marinated artichokes, parmesan and black pepper, and gem lettuce with green dressing, yellow beans and roast pecan, alongside many bottles of wine.

Later in the evening, a glass of champagne in hand, you might indulge in the selection of caviar, the milk-bun mortadella stack with salted butter and smoked maple syrup, or the sobrasada and chestnut honey on toast.

There is no denying that Bar Miette is a noteworthy addition to Brisbane’s ever-growing hospitality offering, and that those eight years spent visualising and considering the space have truly paid off.

“This idea of opening all day and creating this kind of venue has come from being here in this environment,” Andrew reflects. “Something like this would not work in many other places. It’s unique. If we weren’t here, we probably wouldn’t be creating something like this.”

Bar Miette officially opens on Monday July 1. For opening hours and contact details, head to our Stumble Guide.

Images by Josh Robenstone, supplied by Bar Miette.

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