One of Brisbane’s newest bars is being pegged as a game changer. Howard Smith Wharves came alive in late November with the launch of its centrepiece, Mr Percival’s. Built over the river directly under the Story Bridge, it’s unlike anything else the city has seen.
Mr Percival’s – named after the pelican in the classic Australian book Storm Boy – has been a labour of love for Howard Smith Wharves director Adam Flaskas, who has dreamed for years of bringing a world-class waterside venue to Brisbane.
“I got inspiration from trips around the world to different restaurants and bars, some of those overwater and also on beaches,” he says. “I think this is something Brisbane people can come and enjoy and be proud of … It’s that Euro-summer kind of vibe.”
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Brisbane-based interior designer Anna Spiro created the space and also came up with its unique octagonal structure. A mirrored bar and large bench of the same shape greet customers as they enter. There is so much opulence it’s hard to know where to look next. Victorian ash timber panels blend in with the teal, pink and pale yellow colour palette, while the deck showcases the city skyline and river views. Spiro says she wanted it to reflect Brisbane but also be acceptable on the international stage.
“I think the greatest thing is we’ve used local tradespeople to make the furniture,” she says. “We also have lots of beautiful things like the vintage palm-tree fabric [on the chairs]. You can’t get that again, I bought the whole roll.”
Drinks are about cocktails and spritzes, with a lengthy wine list focusing on small producers. A selection of tap beers is anchored by neighbouring Felons Brewing Co’s core range.
For food, head chef Damien Styles (formerly of The Fish House) has created a menu that leans on fresh seafood such as caviar, lobster rolls and prawn cocktails, as well as a selection of salads and vegetable sides. “[Damien] is one of the best seafood chefs in Australia and we’re super proud to have him [on] the team,” Flaskas says.
While Flaskas says he’s simply happy to finally see people at the bar enjoying themselves, Spiro talks about Mr Percival’s as a game changer for Brisbane.
“The view, the sunset, everything about it. This place is going to be Brisbane’s best bar for a very, very long time,” she says. “People all over the world are going to come here.”
Howard Smith Wharves, 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane
Sun to Thu 11am–late
Fri & Sat 11am–1am