For owners Denis Sheahan, Andrew Baturo and Paul Piticco, their newly opened Walter’s Bar & Steakhouse represents something of a longstanding dream come true.
It took them years to find just the right spot for Walter’s, so long in fact that they opened Popolo, The Gresham, and Heya Bar while they waited for the right opportunity to present itself.
“There was an iconic fine diner in here in recent years prior to us,” says Walter’s bar manager Brendon Osmers, “but they kind of went into retirement, so here we are.”
Walter’s sits on the corner of Edward and Alice streets in Old Mineral House, a heritage-listed building in Brisbane’s CBD — something that the owners have dealt with before at The Gresham.
“It’s got a little bit of old world charm,” says Osmers about the space.
Inside the steakhouse, the bar itself caters to 60 guests, and trades from midday to midnight six days a week. And given Osmers’ considerable talents (he’s been a regular fixture of the Bartender of the Year final round over the last five years), the bar is as much of a destination in its own right as is the restaurant.
In terms of the cocktails, well they’re hewing to the classic side of things, says Osmers.
“We wanted to go a little more Martini hour — sophisticated and classic drinks,” he says. “You don’t see yourself coming in here and running around with a Zombie or anything like that — we’ll happily do that [for you], but it’s a more classic, fewer ingredients style.
“We’re just tweaking them a little bit,” Osmers says.
One such example? The building’s namesake cocktail.
“The Mineral House Cocktail is obviously named for the building,” says Osmers. “The owners had the idea of Manhattans in their head, but I wanted to tweak it a little bit. So it’s a twist on a Perfect Manhattan with a little bit of apricot and some spice, based on Rittenhouse Rye.”
Osmers has assembled a crack team of bartending talent to assist him as well.
“The team is awesome,” he says. “Gillian Power has been out of bars the last few years, but has been in the industry for 12 years; started out at Family in Brisbane, travelled over to the UK, worked at Lab.
“Lola Lucassen has come over from The End in the West End, worked at The Bowery, been involved in a few comps and will be a speaker at the Coleman’s Academy,” he says.
When we caught up with Osmers at the bar for this piece, they’d been open just a few weeks, but the reception had already proved positive.
“It’s been a great crowd so far, and we’ve had some great feedback,” Osmers says.