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