Two years ago Fortitude Valley’s historic Osbourne Hotel returned to its former glory. Almost four decades since it closed, the owners – the Fitzgibbons family – decided to re-open the pub. The decision was a good one: the venue has been pumping ever since. Well, mostly.
According to The Osbourne’s general manager Jason Hirst, there was one space inside the venue that struggled. So Hirst and the Fitzgibbons’ decided to turn it into a standalone venue.
The result is Shhh!, a venue partly inspired by the speakeasy bars that appeared during the Prohibition era in the 1920s. A common feature of a speakeasy is that it’s hard to find. The address for Shhh! is zero Constance Street.
Once inside, the dark venue resembles what you might have found in Winston Churchill’s bunker. There’s timber book shelves, lamps and chandeliers and a fireplace. A lot of the finer details — such as the books and framed paintings adorning the walls — were sourced from antique stores around South-East Queensland.
Gin is the focus; there are around 70 different drops available – and the number will continue to grow, says Hirst. Every month a particular distillery will be showcased. Currently, it’s Adelaide Hills Distillery, who famously use native-Australian ingredients such as green ants. Other than gin, there’s an impressive selection of wines from labels such as BK Wines and Koerner.
The food comes from The Osbourne’s kitchen, which is run by chef Ben King. The bar menu includes small sharing plates such as pork belly baos and lamb ribs, as well as charcuterie and cheese plates.