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August 3, 2023

Icarus rises on Peel Street

While in Greek mythology Icarus flew too close to the sun, new wine bar owners Darren Brown and Sam Stoios have taken a measured approach to their food, wine and aesthetic.

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  • Words and pictures: Claudia Dichiera

Majority share holders and co-owners Darren Brown and Sam Stoios have endured six months of rigorous renovation to create what they think is the perfect boozy wine bar on Peel Street.


23 Peel Street, Adelaide 5000
Tue—Sat: 4pm ’til late


The wine bar has a clean, measured yet relaxed feel, and highlights its hospitable welcome to Friday night foot traffic down Peel Street.

A few steps inside the entrance is a humble, hidden enclosure created for intimate conversations.

It’s a setting fit for catch-ups with people who haven’t popped up on the social radar in years, a tear-spilling reunion, or a first date — a place for good and long conversations.

“It’s sleek,” Darren says.

“All of our bar tops and table tops are a beautiful red marble.”

“So there’s the larger booths for larger groups, and then there’s really cosy intimate corners. So there’s a lot of soft seating but it’s broken up with some beautiful timber chairs.”

The sleek Icarus aesthetic

With a southern Mediterranean theme, Darren says the food offerings will be concise and ever-changing based on the seasons — a common point of difference people claim is their way to foodie success.

“Our menu is going to be dictated by what is good at any one time — like what is in season but not just what is in season, what’s actually led by the producers and cooked with love,” Darren says.

“It’s unpretentious and it’s simple, but often simple things done very well — they’re the best things.”

The current menu items include ­­­wood grilled octopus with nduja and pumpkin gnocchi topped with fermented chilli.

Darren however beams at the idea that old faithful menu classics remain victorious as the people’s favourite.

“The chicken is bloody good,” he states.

“The feedback on the steak over the weekend was just …” Darren pauses to collate the exact words to describe his delight. “I had mates calling me in the middle of the night just to explain how excited they were [about the steak].”

The necessary bar

With former Eleven head chef John Simpson-Clements curating the seasonal menu and working with producers to see what is best in South Australia right now, Darren reiterates that “food and wine is the centre of what we do”.

“It’s like any household, everything revolves around the kitchen,” Darren says.

“It’s the heart and soul of any establishment.”

Much like the curated menu, the intricate wine list has a heavy focus on natural and organic wines.

“So much time and effort went into this wine list, so much … effort, hours, late nights and it was just constantly changing to be what we want it to be,” Darren says.


Darren and Sam first met eight years ago as Sam was an “up and coming” shop fitter, which led them to eventually buying the Prince Albert Hotel together.

Sam, having the creative mind that it takes to fit out trendy venues, has always felt there was something missing in the 5000 market and wanted to open his idea of a perfect food and wine bar.

“[Icarus is] a conglomeration of every single thing that [Sam’s] ever wanted to do in all of his fitouts, and that’s sort of how he sold it to me,” Darren says.

“It was Sam’s vision.”

So when Darren was hesitant to open a place on expensive Peel Street, Sam knew Darren would eventually turn a profit.

“Sam and I are both always looking at the next opportunity,’” Darren says.

“This one came along and initially I said ‘Nah the environment is still quite turbulent and it’s risky.’”

Darren’s mind quickly shifted and says he thinks he’s landed on “Park Lane or Mayfair on Monopoly”.

“If something comes along [on Peel Street], you’ve got to snap it up,” Darren says.

Darren and Sam pride themselves on the intricate details of the Icarus space, with things like the mirror ball swirling from 9pm and artwork tastefully placed on walls to match the aesthetics.

“Every single thing in our venue is there for a reason and it’s had so much thought go into it,” Darren says.

Icarus is located at 23 Peel Street, Adelaide and is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 4pm until late.

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