Sunday, August 27, 2006

Month of Sundays #1: Newmarket Hotel

This is the first in a (possible) series. We've decided to expand our knowledge of Brisvegas by going to a different pub each Sunday (or every few Sundays) for a quiet beer. The choices will be essentially random, with the only criteria being that it must be a pub we've never been to before. You can look forward to plenty of uninformed comment on Brisvegas watering holes. Please feel free to suggest venues, correct misinformation or express alternate opinions in the comments.

Newmarket Hotel
Cnr Enoggera and Newmarket Rds

Risen from the ashes of the old Newmarket Hotel, this pub is perched on a corner overlooking a couple of busy roads and a shopping centre carpark. The $7 million spent on the refurbishment shows - the space is light and airy, with interesting features like the huge stained glass panel behind the bar, big windows and curious light fittings. According to my intrepid Brisvegas local, they've kept the original shell and layout of the old Newmarket Hotel, which is nice to hear as the old girl was first opened in 1879. It's also a bit Tardis-like - from the outside it doesn't look like it could fit a lounge area (complete with folksy-singer-girl-with-guitar), bar area, a restaurant and a gaming room, as well as a generously sized balcony on which to sit and watch the traffic zoom past.

It's not the most atmospheric of places - the six lanes of Newmarket Road just outside certainly do the pub no favours - but clever use of glass, steel and concrete inside help the Newmarket Hotel fit in with the industrial surrounds. They've tempered the steel with plenty of softer textures - think wood laminate and velvet curtains. Although you suspect the decor may date in a couple of years, it looks fresh and clean and adds to the open feel of the place. The bar was crowded; the restaurant was empty when we arrived mid-afternoon and attracted a few wine-drinking couples by the time we left.

Looking into the restaurant from the balcony

Beers were reasonably priced, between $4-$6 for a schooner, with a good range of on-tap and bottled beers. The barman went to extraordinary lengths to get a well-poured schooner after some keg issues, which was amusing as well as appreciated. We ordered a mezze platter to share ($22 for a two-person serve, $30 for three) from a fairly standard pub fare menu. It came out quickly and with minimal fuss. Definitely better than your average pub fare, with delicious bloody mary oyster shots and crisp salt and pepper calamari alongside some other nibbly pieces.

Platter - somewhat diminshed before we could get the picture taken

Also well worth a mention are the lengths taken to make you want to stay and get comfortable. The staff are unobtrusive and pleasant, and there are newspapers, Monopoly and Jenga scattered around the restaurant tables inviting you to settle in for the afternoon.

Did we settle in for the afternoon? No, but there were plenty there who looked like they were going to. And it's on the list for going back to once we've done the rounds of the rest of Brisbane.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

im a local in the area (but not a biased 1) and my mates i love the Newie as its close, nice chilled egoless atmosphere... The staff are really friendly n gregariuos, the bar managers a top notch dudes n the security boys are bloody good fellas.... Get the Newie in ya !!!

11:56 AM  

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