We talk to this year’s Regional Bar of the Year


Miss Moneypenny’s

Address: 6 Hastings St, Noosa Heads
Phone:(07) 5474 9999

Back in July of 2013 we spoke with Ben Walsh (ex-Goldfish, The Victoria Room), about his plans for a bar on Hastings Street in Noosa, on Queensland’s very beautiful Sunshine Coast. Walsh was planning on taking his cocktailing experience to an area he saw as bereft of good boozing, in the guise of Miss Moneypenny’s.

Fast forward to September 2014. When the finalists for the Best Regional Bar at the 14th annual Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards were read out, Miss Moneypenny’s was on the list; when the winner was announced, it was Walsh and his team who stepped up on stage to claim the trophy.

In addition to the award nominations, the bar has recently celebrated its first birthday. We got in touch with Walsh to ask him about how Miss Moneypenny’s came to be, how the first year has gone, and what he may have in store for the future.


What’s behind the name?

I wanted a name that had potential for recognisable branding. A memorable name that every husband would remember instead of having to ask his wife, “what was the name of the place we ate at last night?”. Miss Moneypenny is obviously already known as the flirtatious secretary to James Bond. The name perfectly aligns with the branding and offering of the venue, which is high-end yet not pretentious, quirky, fun and social. It is also non-location specific, so it could fit into a vast array of locations in the case of expansion.

How long did it take for the project to open after the initial idea?

From the day that I found the site it took 14 months.

Was there a reason behind the move to Noosa?

I had been looking at Noosa since 2010 after I recognised a distinct lack of up to date cocktail culture in the region,. I also recognised that as a tourist destination, it was gaining traction and coming back ‘into flavour’ with travellers mainly due to the local economy here picking up, new shops opening, many new events and festivals occurring and also the Aussie dollar being positioned perfectly to entice Australian holidaymakers to holiday in beautiful Noosa rather than overseas.

Being outside of a metropolitan area, are there any challenges you face in getting stock? How do you overcome these?

We have faced challenges but have overcome them by aligning ourselves with many helpful suppliers who make sure we can get what we are after.

What as on the site before miss Moneypenny’s?

An abandoned restaurant sat here unoccupied for two years before I took the site. It was called Ma Mensa and was very popular in its heyday but slowly got run into the ground. The building was in bad shape so it needed complete demolition.

How does the bar fit into the local area?

It fits perfectly as it is very unique to the region and gives locals and tourists another option, which keeps the dining and drinking scene here vibrant. There are now many different styles of offering on Hastings street, which is very attractive to tourists.


What has the reaction from the public been like so far?

Amazing! We are very popular with locals and tourists as we have a real cosmopolitan and cultural feel, yet are still relaxed and fit in well with the beachside atmosphere.

How did you go about finding the right staff for the bar?

Staffing in regional areas is always going to be the biggest challenge, but fortunately many bartenders from capital cities like to come and work with us for a sea change. It’s not as if we are in Siberia; Noosa is not a hard sell to attract quality bartenders to come live and work in such an amazing environment.

Can you tell us a bit about the thought behind the cocktail list?

The bulk of the list is what I call 80s-style cruise ship drinks done really well with modern twists. We need to keep to the tropical feel up here as it is a hot climate, so drinks like The Funk Rum Swizzle and the Istanbul Old Iced Tea sell like crazy.

Who put the wine list together, and what is the idea behind it?

I did the list myself, it’s mainly new world wines focused on Australia and New Zealand with some US wines in there as well. We also showcase some European wines including some extremely rare wines such as the 1959 Moulin Touchais Anjou Chenin Blanc and the 2001 E.Guigal, Cote Rotie ‘La Landonne’.

Why do you do the food that you do?

We do Home style coastal Mediterranean, If you have holidayed on the  Amalfi Coast, you will know why we do that style of food in a tropical climate… Bellissimo!

What was it like to win Best Regional Bar at the Bar Awards?

It was such a great reward and recognition for hard work and risk, and it was fantastic for all the staff whom always work their butts off to achieve the high level of offering and consistency we aim to achieve. I was stoked! It was an honour.

Do you have any further venues on the cards? Would you do another venue on the Sunshine Coast?

Yes, my plan is for another Miss Moneypenny’s to open in the not to distant future. I am in the early stages of looking at several locations and sites right now, but none of them are on the Sunshine Coast.



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