The Courier-Mail - QWeekend

Complete makeover

Where Brisbane CBD fine diner Urbane once operated is now a brand-new bar and bistro.

- Review ANOOSKA TUCKER-EVANS

Leonards Bar & Bistro has had quite the start. The flash, new Brisbane CBD restaurant and its sister bar Dawn have taken over the Mary St tenancy formerly occupied by acclaimed fine diner Urbane, its casual neighbouri­ng eatery The

Euro and bar The Laneway, which were devastatin­gly forced to shut at the end of 2019 after owner Andy Buchanan revealed his agonising battle with multiple sclerosis.

Sydney-based training group Allara

Learning, which specialise­s in hospitalit­y education services, is behind Leonards and after signing the lease late last year, has completely transforme­d the character building. The group moved its school in upstairs, while on street level it’s hard to remember where the divide between The Euro and Urbane once was. What is clear though is this is a fit-out where no expense has been spared.

A glamorous, glowing bar greets diners on arrival – its red brick-backed shelves lined with both high end and popular spirits chosen by general manager and award-winning mixologist Marco Nunes for their ability to blend into the venue’s long list of cocktails, which includes everything from an autumn-inspired negroni to the tequila-based fluffy paloma.

It would be far too easy to pull up one of the stools along the counter and settle in for the night with a charcuteri­e platter but the bistro proper lies up a wheel chair-friendly gentle gradient.

Classic European bentwood chairs tuck into timber tables, while terracotta banquettes contrast against charcoal walls dressed with gold-framed artwork, which match the brass hand rails. It’s elegant and classy but casual enough that a diner on our visit feels comfortabl­e enough to enjoy dinner in her activewear with a young child in tow.

The service reflects this unique formal informalit­y, with the immaculate­ly dressed staff almost exploding with enthusiasm, so much so the maitre d’ is literally dancing and spinning around the room singing. Perhaps the zeal is

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