Eli Rami and Sam Holman aren’t your typical wine bar owners. Neither of them have worked in the wine trade before, but they do have years of hospitality experience owning cafes. It’s perhaps this point of difference that makes their new Paddington wine bar, Noir, an exciting addition to Brisbane's drinking scene.
With the owners not coming from a wine background, for the uninitiated the place feels welcoming and unpretentious. Still, there’s plenty to geek out on if that’s what you want to do.
You may recognise Holman and Rami from their coffee roastery, The Black Lab, or cafes Wolfgang Specialty Coffee in Spring Hill and The New Black in Fortitude Valley (they’ve since sold both). Last year, Holman opened Uh-Oh Spaghetti-o in Bakery Lane with his partner Samantha Fitzpatrick. Paddington locals will know the duo from their Latrobe Terrace coffee haunt, Blackout. Since opening in 2019, they’ve developed a strong local following.
“[Regulars] come [into Blackout] and we know their names, their spouse’s names and their children’s name,” Rami says. “We’re trying to bring [to Noir] the experience that people get at Blackout.”
It was during Blackout’s fit-out process that the seeds of Noir were sown. Paddington locals would regularly walk past and ask them if they were opening a wine bar. The area was calling out for one, so they decided to make it happen.
The bar opened in June on Given Terrace inside former clothing store Maiocchi. The three-storey space has been converted into a modern, airy stunner with exposed white brick walls, intricate cornicing, a tiled bar and timber panelling. During the day, open glass windows allow plenty of natural light in, while at night, the space is moody and dimly lit.
Upstairs, the changing rooms have made way for a leather lounge, while a few tables offer arguably the best seat in the house with a bird’s eye view of the bar. Soon, a record player will be added upstairs, spinning wax from local record store Dutch Vinyl. Downstairs, there’s a large table for private dining with a full view of the 450-bottle underground cellar.
The wine list – initially developed by Shannon Simpson from Embassy Cellars across the road and then Noir sommelier John Little – includes a rotating list of classics (like Barossa shiraz and Provence rosé), alongside natural drops and alternative varieties, such as a Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc, Edenflo’s Lemon Krush (an orange wine made from semillon, chardonnay and viognier), and a Ravensworth sangiovese. On the “Cellar List”, expect rare wines – such as Burgundies, Barolos and cult Australian wines – to come and go very quickly.
Rami and Holman worked closely with Fino Foods and Saison Salumi to develop a simple offering of nibbles, cheese and charcuterie. There’s Olasagasti anchovies with toasted sourdough, grape mustard and sherry vinegar; squid ink and truffle salumi with guindilla peppers, pickled garlic, dried raisins and black crackers; and grilled buffalo haloumi with quince and fresh honeycomb (dispensed from a whole slab of honeycomb that sits on the bar).
In the next few months, Rami hopes to start collaborating with local chefs on wine-matched dinners and introduce wine classes run by Little. Expect an educational but laidback experience.
216 Given Terrace, Paddington
Thu to Sun 4pm–late