Say hello to Fortitude Valley’s newest public house Hotel Carrington
It’s no easy task taking not one, but three heritage-listed tenancies in the heart of The Valley and turning them into a cohesive hospo hub with mass appeal. That said, if anyone has the savvy saloon know-how and public-house nous to pull it off, it’s the crew behind The Montague Hotel in West End. Peter Stark and his tavern-trained team have just opened Hotel Carrington – the anticipated pub situated on the corner of Wickham and Gipps Street. This isn’t your regular pub – Hotel Carrington’s spruced-up interior is home to two beer gardens, a sports bar, on-site bottle shop and a kitchen pumping out a greatest hits of Mod Oz eats.
When counter-culture cocktail bar Sabotage Social closed up shop earlier this year, much discussion was had about what would become of the bar’s heritage-listed home, Carrington Chambers. Curiosity turned into excitement when it was announced that the space had been snagged by seasoned hospitality operator Peter Stark, the mind behind West End’s The Montague Hotel. Excitement turned into euphoria when it was revealed that Peter and his team had also secured two adjoining tenancies for what would become Hotel Carrington – a multi-faceted hub that sounded more like a boozy wonderland than a pub. After a period of renovation, Hotel Carrington officially opened to the public on Thursday July 11, showing off two beer gardens, a sports bar, a bigger kitchen and space for 300 revellers. In addition to the venue itself, Peter has also taken the opportunity to expand his portfolio of Wines and Ales bottle shops, which boasts Victoria & Montague in West End, South Bank’s Vulture & Grey and South Brisbane’s SW1. Like its sibling stores, Hotel Carrington’s bottle shop stocks a sharp selection of beverages, from established and new-wave wines, mainstream and craft beers, and small-batch spirits.
Even after a quick inspection, it’s plain to see that the venue’s overhaul was nothing less than substantial. Gone is Sabotage Social’s grungy dive-bar aesthetic – Peter and his team stripped back the interior to fully reveal its heritage bones, which date back to 1906. Inspired by old-school London pub atmosphere, Hotel Carrington’s resulting fit-out boasts a warm and inviting feel. Step off Wickham Street and in to the front-facing public bar and you’ll be greeted by exposed brick, pressed-metal ceilings, polished-concrete floors, hanging greenery, cushy leather banquettes, smooth timber furnishings and decorative flourishes imbued with Victorian-era flair. Situated behind the green-tiled main bar is the sports and TAB facilities (television screens are also dotted around the space, each airing the latest sport fixtures), while at the venue’s rear sits one of two beer gardens. Both open-air spaces are connected. Can’t find a seat? Head down a clandestine alleyway and find yourself a few doors down at the chic modern-industrial bottle shop, which boasts a handy beer garden of its own.
The food and drink
Once you’ve surveyed the scene, pick a nook and browse the menu. Hotel Carrington’s food offering has been curated and implemented by executive chef Craig Watson, who is building upon a foundation of modern-Australian classics but pushing the flavours further with the help of a custom-built smoker. Sharpen your appetite with grazing plates such as cheeseburger spring rolls, popcorn pork with baconnaise (yep – bacon mayonnaise) and baked brie wheels, before dialling things up with mains such as the karaage chicken burger, fish battered in 4 Pines Pacific ale and the Talisker 10-year-old whiskey-infused sirloin. The foodie fun doesn’t stop there – once the smoker fires up, it produces mouth-watering morsels such as beef brisket (served with mac’n’cheese and onion rings), hot-smoked salmon and crispy crackling pork belly. Throw a bunch of stone-baked pizzas, salads and desserts into the mix, and you’ve got a few tough choices to make. Our suggestion – ponder your selection with a drink. Hotel Carrington’s bar (overseen by Brad Cochrane, Sabotage Social’s co-owner who has remained as Hotel Carrington’s bar manager) has got plenty to offer, including local, craft and imported beers on tap (with plenty more bottled options chilling in the fridge), seven wines on tap, top-notch spirits (including a selection of infused vodkas) and a colourful clutch of cocktails to sip. Over at the bottle shop, you’re more than welcome to enjoy your wine or beer purchase on site in the attached beer garden.
Hotel Carrington is now open to the public. For all the key details, click on over to the Stumble Guide.
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