From the moment you walk into the cold climate wine bar Institut Polaire, you are met with a profound sense of calm. The tasteful and luxe interior features cool tones, marble and plush grey leather – the perfect spot to warm up on a cold winter’s night.
Institut Polaire is a cold climate wine bar located on Murray Street, near the waterfront. We sat down with co-owner Louise Radman to find out the story behind the business.
“Myself and Nav (Nav Singh, Institut Polaire’s co-owner) moved here [to Tasmania] because of the cold climate – and we wanted to make fine wine.”
After establishing their winery, Domaine Simha, Lou and Nav started looking for their next challenge.
“We had both done a lot of wine show judging and spirit tasting and we thought we might try to make gin – the idea being that we both wanted to create a very pure, clean style of gin.”
Enter Sud Polaire.
“When we moved to Tasmania we were really interested in Hobart’s long history as a gateway to Antarctica.
“We were interested in the cleanliness and purity of that kind of environment, and this became the inspiration behind our Spirit: Sud Polaire (meaning South Pole in French).”
You may have seen London Dry Gin – well, Sud Polaire is what Lou and Nav have coined ‘Antarctic Dry Gin.’
“With Antarctica being the coldest, driest, windiest place on Earth, we thought it was only fitting.”
The gin is micro batch distilled and vapour infused with ten organic botanicals in Tasmania and is balanced by rainwater swept across a vast expanse of Southern Ocean from Antarctica.
“Our signature drink is definitely the Antarctic Dry Martini – it’s a must try if you visit us.”
At this point, Nav and Lou had the wine and spirits – but they just needed a place to showcase them.
So, it was then that Institut Polaire was born.
“The idea behind Institut Polaire was just furthering the concept behind Sud Polaire –and we wanted to create a space that was influenced by our cooler climate and Tasmania’s link to Antarctica.”
The bar’s décor and ice-toned palette pay homage to Tasmania’s link to our southernmost continent – it’s elegant, minimalist and feels super bougie.
But what about the food?
“Something that we’re known for, is our beautiful seafood – you are guaranteed to always find fresh seafood here.”
Lou and Nav wanted to create a casual dining experience, so at Institut Polaire you can drop in for a drink and a snack or indulge in the full seasonal set menu. The choice is yours.
The elegant and fresh “glacial” aesthetic (the light fittings look like icebergs!), extends beyond the décor and into the food:
“Although there is often a lot of technique behind how the food is prepared, we like to keep our plating simple to ensure the food looks both elegant and graceful on the plate.”
The food is French inspired, and the menu features classic dishes like paris brest and eton mess.
What’s next for Institut Polaire?
“Our Spring Menu will be launching in September and is something we’ve been working on for a while.
“We will be launching our whiskey early next year, which is super exciting, so keep an eye out for that!”
Institut Polaire is open Thursday to Sunday from 4pm at 1/7 Murray Street, Hobart.