PRIZED NEW OPERATOR FOR HISTORIC PORT OFFICE HOTEL

In Property by Clyde Mooney

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One of Brisbane’s historic and best-loved pubs is in new hands, with Nick and Meagan Gregorski set to reopen the renovated Port Office pub tomorrow.

Fourth generation publican Nick Gregorski recently revived The Alliance Hotel in Spring Hill, winning praise and business for the gastro-pub reinvention.

It was this performance that led CBRE Hotels’ Paul Fraser to approach them about his mandate to sell the lease of the Port Office to a suitable tenant, on behalf and under direction of freeholders VH Partnership.

Speaking with PubTIC, Gregorski says he is transforming the 1864 heritage-listed Brisbane landmark into the kind of country pub in which he grew up.

“There’s something about the hospitality feel of a country pub, where the community comes together and the publican knows people’s names,” said Gregorski. “There’s always a nice feel in those places.”

Underpinning the rustic ambitions, the Group is forking out a half-million on renovations. The Port Office dining room will open tomorrow with an all-new menu in the style of a classic British gastro-pub – but with a “fresh twist” to it.

“We’re really excited about the new menu,” continues Gregorski. “There’s Fraser Island spanner crab, a nose-to-tail section with specialties like bone marrow, a chicken rotisserie, and steaks will be a big part too.

“Our executive chef, Graham Waddell, doesn’t just copy others. They say there’s no original ideas in hospitality, but you’ve got to execute them well, and he gets it right. He’s been with us at The Alliance for the last three years – I hope he stays another 33 years.”

Beyond the restaurant, the Gregorskis are re-working the upstairs function room, to be called Colonial Bar. The round marble bar in the front bar area will be replaced with a traditional, long timber bar, and expected to be open in coming weeks, with the rest of the pub.

The 921 m² Hotel possesses five EGMs, but Gregorski says gaming won’t be a focus and they will see how they perform in the first year.

Speaking of the sale, Fraser relayed he had targeted the Gregorski Group as his client wanted a “strong tenant with a good track record” that wouldn’t be gone in a few years. In confident expectation of what’s to come, Fraser says he is headed to the Port on Thursday for an office party.

“I’d seen what they did at The Alliance, which has won a lot of awards and has a great following. Every man and his dog knows the place and its great country hospitality feel.”