A Whirlwind of Wow at Nudge Nudge Wink Wink

Image source: Photographer Ian Waldie

This blind tiger begs a wanting audience to step inside and immerse in swank, glamour and a whole lotta New York City cool.  Carlie Wacker explores the scene at the all-new Nudge Nudge Wink Wink. 

Entering through the unassuming big yellow door is almost like being in a film or a dream, and any sense of normality is immediately washed away. It’s complete escapism. In fact, it’s hard to remember where you are; and once you arrive at Nudge Nudge Wink Wink, it is even harder to leave.  

When I heard a speakeasy style bar was within my reach, tucked away in the alleyways of Noosa Junction, my heart skipped a beat. New York City is my spirit city and the place where all my dreams unfold, and now the soul of that city sits in the heart of the Junction ready to swallow you up with its sexiness. 

Be warned – Nudge Nudge Wink Wink will own you, and its global style and sophisticated offering is worthy of the big stage. But it’s backstage where all the action really is. Let us dive in to find out who is behind this sensational and sensory headliner. 

Sam and Tilly Saunders are #couplegoals and the cool kids that own NNWW. Their resumes read like a movie script: they have both graced the big and small screens; Tilly is a living doll with the most exquisite style and presence; and Sam is a creative genius and the co-founder and CCO of Canvino, a US-based canned wine; Australian medicinal cannabis brand Humacology; and co-founder of children’s charity Hopeland that he started with Deborra-Lee Furness. I could write a whole fascinating story about the life these two have led (and I will totally do that) but let’s focus on Nudge Nudge Wink Wink. 

“Moving to Noosa from NYC wasn’t planned at all, so once we got marooned in Noosa, there were all sorts of things I missed about our home town, particularly our local cocktail and wine bars, and member’s club Soho House,” Sam says. “So, we created something that represents the best bits of those places. When you walk through the door, we want you to feel instantly transported to another place. At every turn and at every visit, I want your experience to be different and your senses overloaded: smells, sights, sounds, tastes, textures.”

It’s Tilly’s interior styling that instantly ticks the box for sight and texture. This vintage-loving design queen has created a space that is chic and sophisticated. 

“I love having fun with textures, fabrics, mixing patterns and adding pops of colour – it is what makes a space come together,” she says. “I love to mix old with new to deliver an eclectic, vintage-inspired aesthetic. I believe that living your life in style is empowering and inspiring, so visiting a space that visually inspires me feeds my soul.” 

My soul is fed – and hungry for more! You cannot take your eyes off every square inch of this bar – from the tactility of textiles used, shapes, patterns and forms to the wallpaper to the light fittings and even the cocktail glasses.

Nicco and Valerio are the team that brings the tastes to life, including a 40-page drinks menu that has ‘House’ versions (which are anything but house), ‘Wink’ versions and ‘Nudge’ versions of the same cocktail base. Winks are cheeky tweaks on the originals and Nudges take them to a whole other headline-grabbing and mindblowing level. 

The lads bring theatre to the NNWW experience – Valerio is a magician mixologist and Nicco is the GM and sommelier who has sourced wine and liquor not seen elsewhere in the region. 

Naturally, the sounds of NNWW sets it apart too. Tilly is the music director for the joint and clearly loves the gig. 

“OMG, the music! I have curated such a fun, eclectic range of music,” she says. 

“I am hoping to introduce new sounds that people haven’t heard before, and I’ve mixed in older nostalgic tunes as well.” 

Anything goes. These guys don’t just turn the table on entertainment, hospitality, and style – they tip it over and take a crowbar to it with a hint of anti-establishment at every turn. We haven’t even discussed the delectable food! That’s for you to discover.

From the curious cocktail vessels, to the underground artworks adorning the walls, it’s a whirlwind of WOW. 

Nudge Nudge Wink Wink – it’s just like a movie, and you’re the lead actor. 

Learn your lines people – we have a new scene in Noosa! Say no more.

About the Author /


Carlie Wacker has worked in the media entertainment industry for over 20 years. From television to stage and radio she has been lucky enough to work her way around the whole country. Over the last 10 years she has styled and choreographed innovative fashion parades and talent shows and brings her love for fashion and entertainment as our Fashion Editor and Editor for Hello Sunshine Magazine. She is also an MC, voice-over artist and radio announcer.

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