Priorities. They changed for a lot of people over the past couple of years. They changed for Luke Reimers.

Reimers established wine bar Mr Chester in a rapidly developing corner of the Valley, close to Newstead, after moving north from Melbourne in 2017. But somewhere between the long pandemic lockdown of early 2020 and the undulating recovery that continued throughout 2021, he started longing for something different.

“2020 wasn’t too bad, actually,” Reimers says. “But last year felt a little bit chaotic. The general consensus would switch back and forth from it being safe to not safe. Diners are habitual and that habit was broken, in a sense.”

Reimers was also looking out of the city towards the suburbs and noticing cafes were doing relatively well.

“People were working from home, of course,” he says. “But that lack of trust with night-time venues didn’t seem to affect cafes. So I started looking for what was next for me … I’ve noticed that business owners have been stepping back from 70-hour weeks. I’m 32, I’m not super young anymore. I look at things like golf and think, actually, that looks pretty cool,” he laughs.

It’s a happy coincidence, then, that Reimers and business partner Jesse Williamson’s new coffee and wine bar is called Priorities. Williamson is perhaps best known for her tenure as a barista at Blackout Paddington, during which she (along with Gresham bartender Millie Tang) won an international Licor 43 Bartenders and Baristas Challenge award. With the name, Reimers and Williamson are referring to the coffee and wine they’re peddling – the priorities – but it dovetails nicely with this new stage in Reimers’s life.

Priorities opened at the start of April in a charming milk-white weatherboard space on Samford Road in Alderley. In a nod to post-Covid simplicity, its offering plays it dead straight: coffee, pastries, baguettes and wine during the day, with the venue transforming into a wine bar on Friday nights and function space on Saturday nights.

From its coffee bar, Priorities is running Industry Beans’ Newstead blend through a customised Sanremo Cafe Racer espresso machine, with guest roasters featured on batch brew and filter. There’s also a short selection of cold drinks, including cold brew, juices, and kombucha and cascara.

For food, the newly opened Cordelia Sourdough Bakehouse is supplying pastries such as croissants and doughnuts; takeaway loaves of sourdough; and ham and salad, and chicken and salad baguette sandwiches.

Reimers is approaching his wines much as he has at Mr Chester, with a constantly rotating selection of somewhere between 20 and 30 bottles that favours small-producer, drink-now vino – you might pick up a Unico Zelo Terra Cotta greco, or a La Violetta Chagrin chardonnay.

The wine bar component will open for the first time this Friday night, with Reimers and Williamson also serving selections of charcuterie and cheese designed to share. That’s if you can get a seat – Reimers says they’ve been bowled over by the reception from Alderley locals in recent weeks

“People have been really awesome,” he says. “I’m really into suburban things. When I first came to Brisbane I thought I had to be in the Valley or Newstead, but the reception we’ve had here has been so cool – all the young families, or maybe people who are buying their first home or apartment. People are happy that there’s good coffee, but they’re even happier that there’s a decent wine bar in there, and that’s really cool.”

Priorities
Shop 2, 95 Samford Road, Alderley

Hours:
Sat to Thu 6am–1pm
Fri 6am–1pm, 5pm–late

@priorities__