They aren’t shrouded behind the velvet ropes of exclusive member’s clubs nor hidden speakeasy style in fake telephone boxes but the best British pubs are hard to find – even in London where pubs gild the corner of almost every block. A good British pub should feel like it’s part of the landscape, so attached to the history of the city that it could have sprouted from the pavement.

Pubs are as much a part of British life as red double-decker buses, rain and the Spice Girls. When I returned to Brisbane after 10 years in London, it was the familiar comfort of those pubs, with perfectly poured pints of Guinness and the right type of Britpop sneaking through the speakers, that I missed the most.

Alex Derrick knows my pain – and he knows British pubs. Derrick was a founding member of a movement that saw British pubs come back to life over the last two decades. He spent 24 years in the UK working with Capital Pubs and Greene King before founding The City Pub Group. And luckily for all homesick former Londoners, Derrick has returned home to Brisbane and opened The Rose & Crown in South Brisbane.

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There are no pokies, no white marble and no chicken parma; nothing you’d expect from a typical Brisbane pub. Instead, The Rose & Crown offers mahogany bars, traditional cask ales, pints of Guinness and an appropriately sized authentic Sunday roast – the type that is almost impossible to find in Queensland. I’m talking roast beef with Yorkshire puddings and porchetta piled high next to roast potatoes and thick gravy.

The focus is on tradition and simple pleasures, with board games to play across a lazy afternoon and a karaoke room for late-night beer-bolstered singalongs. It is as much a place for families looking for a place to kill a couple of hours as it is a traditional boozer where you can drink alone or among friends.

The food is driven by head chef Kevin Honeywood, another recently returned expat, formerly of Derrick’s favourite pub, Anchor at Walberswick. Honeywood is serving classic hits including pork scratchings, Scotch eggs and a ploughman’s plate, sitting alongside beer-battered fish’n’chips with mushy peas, steak and Guinness pies, and Cumberland sausages with leeks and mash. The wine list is refreshingly old world and there are monthly wine dinners that will give punters the chance to sip through the cellar.

Speaking to Broadsheet Derrick shares his lofty ambitions for the pub. “I want this to be one of the iconic places in Brisbane,” he says. “I want it to stand out.”

And stand out it will. It is a British gastropub but, more than that, it is a Brisbane gastropub in a city that tends to favour cafes and more formal dining.

The Rose and Crown
275 Grey Street, South Brisbane
07 3518 3400

Mon to Wed 11am – 10pm
Thu to Sat 11am – midnight
Sun 11am – 9pm