The January closure of Super Whatnot sent shockwaves through the Brisbane bar scene. As well as surprise and sadness, speculation was rampant: what was next for the renowned space?
Enter the Cuatro Group – Martin Lange, Wiebke Lange, Blake Ward, and Belinda Ward – a dedicated team of bar owners known for their celebrated whisky and cocktail bars in heritage spaces. With speakeasy Death & Taxes in its fourth year, and the Martini mecca that is Dr Gimlette turning two this September, the Cuatro Group is ready for its third rodeo: Antico, a classic cocktail bar inspired by hole-in-the-wall bars in Italy. The once-industrial Super Whatnot space will be transformed into a Euro-chic, split-level drinking room adorned with a black marble bar, green leather stools and vintage light fixtures.
While Cuatro Group’s other venues are known for extensive backbars with hundreds of local and international spirits, aperitifs and liqueurs, Antico’s collection is capped at 200 bottles. The 10-item cocktail menu will follow the same ethos: quality over quantity.
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“[The idea] has always been there. Even when we had Sling Bar, back in the day, we always liked the idea of a really small, two-to-three-bartender, classic [cocktail-]oriented space” says Martin. “It’s tiny so it really allows us to focus on precise service and quality of cocktails. The backbar will be like premium real estate, so it’s going to be more curated.”
Antico will collaborate with local distillery Nosferatu to create a bespoke gin for its house Negroni. They’re also hoping to offer a signature Aperol Spritz and Campari Soda from a vintage tap. A small bar snack menu of bruschetta, cheese, and cold-cut meats is also in the works.
Super Whatnot helped kickstart Brisbane’s small bar scene and revitalising the laneways in the CBD and enticed a slew of bars to the lane. “It’s a great circle here [in Burnett Lane]. It’s a continuation, with Death [& Taxes] being here, Alba and even Funny Funny. We just want to further diversify the city’s options,” Belinda says.
Antico (48 Burnett Lane, Brisbane) will open in early August.