Shae and Hayley from Nina's

opening Brunswick's newest bar and dining venue
— at
Nightingale Studios
The Commons
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Nina’s Bar & Dining is now open at the bottom of The Commons on Florence Street in Brunswick. 

Tell us a little bit about yourselves:

Shae: My name is Shae.

Hayley: And I am Hayley. We are two people who have been working in the industry for a long time and we’re both very passionate about it. We each got to the point where it was the right time to do our own thing. I was waiting for a chef to ask me and Shae needed someone front of house. The timing was perfect. We both had the same idea of what we wanted to do: good food and wine with great service.

Where did the name ‘Nina’s’ come from?

Shae: Nina is my niece.  She’s nearly 2.  Her middle name is ‘Shae’ so I thought I’d return the favour. She came to opening night.  She loves the chips.

How did you come across this spot at the bottom of The Commons?

Shae: I was searching through business ads and this one came up. We kept coming to check it out.

Hayley: The more we saw, the more we fell in love with it. It’s such a nice sunny spot and it has so much potential, right next to the train station. We love the big windows onto the bike track. On Florence Street, you can have your kids and dogs and not worry too much about cars. We learnt more about the rooftop garden and bees. One of the residents gave us a jar of honey and we’ve created a new dessert from that. 

You opened just last week, it looked like you had lots of people help you in the lead up?

Shae: Lots of people. Parents, siblings, partners and housemates.  Hayley’s Dad has been building all sorts of stuff for us. The residents have been very welcoming.

Hayley: Dad repurposed the old bar that was here and turned it into shelving for all the wine. He also helped build the deck outside which is on uneven ground. He’s a stormwater drain engineer so he was perfect for the job. 

Shae: Lots of my mates are tradies so that was very very helpful.

How was opening night?

Shae: We were probably slightly under prepared, but my partner said if we don’t just open, we’ll never be aware of the things we need so it was great to just do it. It went really well considering we had all new staff. 

Hayley: We had neighbours from this building and surrounds come by which was cool. Exactly how we wanted it to be. We love the area outside, it was lovely at golden hour with the sunset coming in.

What can people expect?

Shae: The menu is veg forward, fun, engaging and approachable with a focus on great seasonal produce.

It’s been really helpful to be in a space that’s already set up with green waste bins, worm farms, and bees.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do in kitchens but it’s hard to start it from scratch.  Having systems already in place that we can fit in with is great and we can improve as we go.

Hayley: Nina’s is very welcoming. The kind of place where if you miss your train, you can pop by for a quick wine or stay for a meal.  You can book but walk-ins are always welcome.

Must tries on the menu?

Hayley: The croquettes are SO delicious. And the chenin blanc. I am sort of known for champagne, but we’re enjoying seeing what everyone is into.  Chilled red was a huge hit over the weekend.

When can people come?

Hayley: We’ll be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Open Monday and Thursday evenings and all day Friday and Saturday as well as Sunday lunch. 

Book a table at Nina's.

Follow Nina’s on instagram.

Nightingale Housing has new commercial spaces, called Nightingale Studios, becoming available in 2024.

Find out more about
Nightingale Studios
The Commons
First published in
January 2024