Queens owner Kyle Weir deliberately left the name of his Brunswick Street bar open to interpretation. Whether it’s the rock band, women’s empowerment, drag queens, or the queen of England, the mish-mash of inspiration hints at this bar’s inclusive and welcoming style.
The approachable space – house inside a former barber shop – is plastered with black and white posters of all the above. It’s also a reincarnation of Weir’s much-loved Commercial Road Public Bar, which closed after a brief nine-month run prior to Queens’ opening. This is a concentrated version of that Newstead venue: a more compact space, louder music (disco, largely), a longer cocktail list, and a dive-y, grungy aesthetic complete with neon lights and disco balls.
A Mediterranean-inspired menu favours wine-friendly snacks such as taramasalata, caviar and patatas fritas, sardines with bread, and prosciutto. The burrata – which Commercial Road Public Bar would turn out seven to eight kilos of every week – comes in a range options. You might see one with olive oil and salt; one garnished with fresh chilli; a tomato and basil number; and a “dessert-esque” version with mango puree, vanilla and a sweet sherry reduction.
Tap and canned beers are primarily sourced from Range Brewing, and the wine list comprises mostly lo-fi drops – almost all of them served by the glass and subject to rotation. The only likely constant on the list is the house pét-nat, dubbed the Queens Royalty. It’s a fizzy pinot noir made with the help of an unnamed Hunter Valley winery.
The cocktail list features multiple Margaritas, including the house signature: Don Julio Blanco, agave, lime, orange and a red wine float. A Harry Styles-inspired number blends house-made fermented watermelon liqueur with Tanqueray gin, fresh watermelon and sugar. You might also find that one at Kings, Weir’s ’80s-LA-inspired outdoor bar, just a stone’s throw away on California Lane.