The Port Office Hotel has reopened. Or rather, it’s been reborn and returned to its former glory, thanks to new owners Nick and Meagan Gregorski.
It’s the second refurb for the pair; they took over the once-neglected Alliance Hotel in 2012 and turned it into an award-winning gastropub. “We know the challenges,” Nick says. “The great [heritage] features are what make these pubs great. Too many times you go into what should be a heritage pub and it’s covered in marble and plastic.”
The marble top was the first thing to go from the Port Office’s corner bar when renovations commenced in January. Now a wooden bench separates punters and staff. Fix Restaurant is also gone, replaced with the Port Office Dining Room – a chic, European-inspired bistro with a gastropub menu. Upstairs the function space and sticky dance floor have become The Colonial Bar, a plantation-style cocktail joint. “The Port Office is such a beautiful pub. It has a really nice feel about it and we’ve just added to that,” Nick says. “What we try to do is make a bar that’s timeless.”
French bistro chairs, black banquette seating and quality serving-ware set the scene in the 100-seat dining room. Executive chef Graham Waddell has imported a rotisserie from France to cook chickens, ducks and suckling pig. Still, spanner crab soufflé, spicy grass-fed steak tartare and an Espresso Martini bombe aren’t exactly typical pub meals, even less-so the “nose to tail” section, with pan-roasted lamb sweetbreads and chicken hearts. “The great thing about the Port Office is it’s a little bit of a bigger venue,” Nick says. “There’s a few more people in the city consistently, so we can try these different things out and have a bigger menu.”
The pub’s 42 taps have shifted to a craft beer focus. Good wine is on the agenda too, with resident wine guy Chris Barlow curating the list and servicing the bistro. Cocktails have a home in the Colonial Bar. A six-page-long list can be perused while standing at the rattan bar, or better yet, sink into a dark wicker chair on the wraparound veranda and let the drinks come to you.
Port Office Hotel
40 Edward Street, Brisbane
07 3003 4700
Port Office Dining Room and Port Office Front Bar
Mon to Sat 11.30am–late
The Colonial Bar
Thu to Sat 4pm–late