The owner of a new wine bar is excited to connect with Gympie and bring some Mexican flavour to the bar scene. Picture: Shelley Strachan
The owner of a new wine bar is excited to connect with Gympie and bring some Mexican flavour to the bar scene. Picture: Shelley Strachan

New tapas and wine bar set to tantalise tastebuds on Mary St

Inspired by the lively bars of Mexico, the all new PKO Art & Wine is a “refined” gallery bar bringing back good old-fashioned service with a smile.

Opening his new passion project less than a week ago, owner and artist Peter O’Brien said the community’s response has been “enormously positive” with many saying Gympie “has been missing something like this”.

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“I put all of my savings into setting it up and so of course I’m nervous about how things will go, but everyone that has come through the doors has been really encouraging,” Mr O’Brien said.

“What they're saying to me is that they love that there's music playing and it's a slightly more refined atmosphere than they’d get in other places and that was what I was going for.”

Moving to Gympie to be closer to his brother who happens to be the owner of Soma Soma, and his sister who lives in Cooroy, Mr O’Brien said he tried retirement but it “didn’t suit him”.

“I thought okay well I’ll do something very similar to the tapas wine bars that I’ve seen in Spain and Mexico,” he said.

Peter O'Brien at the site of PKO, Gympie's new tapas, wine and art bar located at 187 Mary Street. Picture: Shelley Strachan
Peter O'Brien at the site of PKO, Gympie's new tapas, wine and art bar located at 187 Mary Street. Picture: Shelley Strachan

Mr O’Brien’s own artworks of abstract expressionism are dotted throughout the space and he is encouraging other artists to approach him and display their work too.

“My plan is for it to be a weekend afternoon hang out and a night time place to come and have something to eat and drink some good wines.”

Having owned a similar bar in Melbourne, Mr O’Brien is familiar with the hospitality scene and loves that he can chat to the customers.

One of Mr O’Brien’s artworks displayed at PKO Art & Wine. Picture: Facebook
One of Mr O’Brien’s artworks displayed at PKO Art & Wine. Picture: Facebook

“Yesterday two women came in they wanted a glass of wine each and I sat down with them and it turns out that they‘d flown down for a funeral and I sat for a couple of hours with them just talking,” he said.

“To me that’s what’s really exciting about the business and that's why I’m hoping that it will always be at a level where I get to talk with the people, not just serve them a drink and turn my back on them.”

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After a long setting-up process beginning in June 2020, Mr O’Brien is hoping the Gympie community will embrace PKO Art & Wine as something exciting and unique.

“It’s taken longer than I thought it might but here we are, the doors are open and we’re ready to go.”