Paloma Wine Bar
1/12 James St, Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast
Paloma Wine Bar opened back in 2021 from the team behind the beloved restaurant, Labart. Taking over the former Burleigh Bar & Bites site, the space was transformed by Labart owners Alex and Karla Munoz Labart, to create a coastal cool wine bar with azure blue banquettes, green tiling and hand-blown glass pendant lights.
No bookings and walk-ins only, this wine bar is really about the drinks (with delicious snacks on hand of course). The wine focus is about Australian and international producers with a strong focus on minimal intervention methods. So you’ll find lots of pet nats. And there are lots of cocktails such as the Watermelon Spritz with Freshly juiced watermelon juice acidulated, garganega wine, vodka, chardonnay verjus, peppermint gum tincture atomiser, pickled watermelon rind and the Coconut old fashioned with Coconut butter washed bourbon, salted sherry, vanilla and tonka bean rapadura sugar syrup, saline, malic acid, Salted dark chocolate as garnish.
In fact, we had a chat with the woman behind the cocktail list at Paloma, one very passionate Bar Manager, Elisa Rodrigues.
How did you end up in hospo? In 2015 I moved to Australia from Brazil, where I used to work in an advertising and marketing company, working as a graphic designer. By then I’ve never thought of hospitality as a career, clumsy as always, could not even think of carrying 3 plates nor even be learning about flavours and creating drinks. Getting into hospitality was actually an accident. I moved here with my younger brother, and he always loved cooking, so he got his first job as a dishy and kitchen hand, where he had an accident and had to be rushed to the hospital, where I met the owners from the restaurant, both of us with almost no English, we could nearly communicate properly with the doctors, they helped us a lot, and offered me a job. By then I was just working from home doing some design freelance jobs, so I thought, why not?! And I’ve been working in hospo since. From floor, to bar, and management. And I absolutely love it.
And how did you end up at Paloma? Because of Covid, my current job wasn’t providing me with enough hours, so I started helping out at Restaurant Labart on weekends, both the owners Alex and Karla, are so passionate for what they do, that what was supposed to be a rockstar gig became an amazing job opportunity. They were planning on opening a wine bar. And invited me to go do it along with them. Both my passions combined together. I could create my first ever cocktail list and learn all about wine. So that’s how Paloma started.
What are you drinking right now? Wine, a lot of wine. But also tequila haha
What are some of the things you love about hospo? I’m always learning something new, there are always different and new techniques and flavours… plus I get to share that with people that are also passionate about this, and educate customers about it.
“Getting into hospitality was actually an accident. I moved here with my younger brother, and he always loved cooking, so he got his first job as a dishy and kitchen hand, where he had an accident and had to be rushed to the hospital, where I met the owners from the restaurant, both of us with almost no English, we could nearly communicate properly with the doctors, they helped us a lot, and offered me a job.”
How has the COVID experience changed your work life? I think that for everyone actually, Covid just shows that nothing is what we expect, one day you have a secure job, the other you are driving a truck doing food delivery cause you need to pay the bills. It just shows how we are all skilled to adapt and find other ways to survive and do what we love.
What are some of the things you don’t like about the hospitality industry? Am I allowed to say Karens? Hahahah. Just jokes. Honestly though, I don’t think people realise and understand that what we do is our profession and it takes a lot to learn how to create flavours, learn techniques. This is what we do for living, is our passion and it should be respected as any other profession.
What are your favourite places on the Goldy? For drinks: Lockwood and Rosellas. For a good boogie after a long week on a Sunday night: Suga. Good food: The Glenelg Public House, Labart, Rick Shores.
Are there any bars overseas that are on your hit list when travelling kickstarts again? I would love to go everwhere in the world, following the 100 best bars list. But Dead Rabbit NYC, Death and Co, Tippling Club, Singapore, Lyaness, London, I could go on.
Do you have any mentors or people that you really respect in this industry that have helped you along the way? This will sound a bit cheesy haha but definitely my partner Manuel, he is the one that got me into food and flavours, he is always pushing me to persue my dreams and be the best I can. But also my friend Matthew O’Malley, this man knows everything you can think about spirits, cocktails and flavours, I was lucky to share a house with them both, so we were always experimenting and creating new things together! And last of all the guys from Brisbane bars who inspired me to create and make delicious drinks.. ( I won’t put everyone’s names here, cause I’ll definitely forget someone and that would be terrible.)
It’s International Women’s Day in March which is a chance to talk about some of the great women in hospo and how the industry is changing. Any thoughts on this?
Names like Ada Coleman should be said everywhere and it is a shame that it took nearly 95 years for us to start seeing women being recognised behind the bar! Seeing friends of mine taking over bar management roles is amazing they are absolutely guns and they are killing it! There are so many incredible females bartenders! I’m happy to be part of this.
Where do you see yourself in five years? That’s a hard one… everything changes so quickly lately.. I would love to be able to say that in 5 years I would have my own place.. here or even back home..
If you could have a drink with someone (alive or dead) who would it be and what would you be drinking? My younger brother.. he passed away 2 years ago on a bike accident back in Brazil, and I miss him dearly. He was always encouraging me on my creations. I would love to be able to shout him a drink.