In January the glorious heritage-listed Port Office Hotel was gutted by fire, fast forward seven months and owners Nick and Meaghan Gregorski are proud to reopen the doors after a multi million dollar refurbishment.
The devastating January fire, which started in the Dining Room kitchen, was caused by a piece of beef brisket sizzling on the grill. Naturally the pub was evacuated, the fire brigade called, the fire was extinguished and everyone was expecting to return inside, but little did they know that the fire had snaked up through the ceiling cavities and had a huge hold on the building, almost completely consuming the entire Brisbane icon.
Today Owners Nick and Meagan Gregorski, are proud to reopen the doors of this Brisbane landmark after seven months of working tirelessly to repair the fire damaged grand lady.
The Port Office Dining Room (nicknamed The Office) is open again for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday from 11.30am ‘till late. Under the tutelage of Executive Chef Graham Waddell the menu is a modern take on Australian gastro-pub food with subtle European and Scottish influences – a reflection of his heritage.
The Front Bar is once again humming; an old-school style timber long bar – the way it was originally – and the perfect place for whistles to be whet, tales to be told, twirls to be had and hands to be shook.
Upstairs, The Colonial Bar takes over the full floor, including wraparound verandahs, and is a quintessentially Queensland plantation-style, rattan, wicker and velvet cocktail bar, open for private bookings and functions only. And outside, the façade remains at its heritage best.
The Port Office is no stranger to natural disasters. Originally named the Shamrock Hotel, the hotel opened its doors in 1864, undergoing it’s first of many renovations in 1876 when it was reconstructed as a two-storey masonry building with verandas, designed by James Cowlishaw and built by contractor Charles Midson. The hotel experienced its first major flood in 1893, causing extensive damage which called for more works.
The year 1909 saw a change of licensee to John Chillan Cutbush who renamed it the Port Office Hotel. During his time owning and operating the hotel J. C. Cutbush developed quite the reputation for being a proprietor of fine liquor and cigars! In 1955 the hotel was refurbished again this time under the direction of architect Francis Leo Cullen. This work included the removal of all the verandas, lacework, canopies and chimneystacks and renovation of the interior fittings. The 1974 great Brisbane Flood hit the city, with the Port Office amongst the many casualties. She, however, is nothing if not resilient and survived to undergo further renovations in the 1980s.
The Port Office Hotel was finally recognised for her importance in Queensland’s history and her aesthetic significance when she was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992. Her position was one of significance in association with the Port Office itself, the Naval Stores, Old Mineral House and Smellie’s Building.
Port Office Hotel
Where – 40 Edward Street, Brisbane
Telephone – (07) 3003 4700
Website – www.portofficehotel.com.au