Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby
Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO's new cocktail bar, The Gatsby

Fortitude Valley scores a dose of old-world elegance at the GPO’s new cocktail bar, The Gatsby

The new-look GPO opened its doors last week with a party for the ages, marking the official launch of luxe restaurant TAMA and upscale cocktail lounge The Gatsby. While gourmands couldn’t take their eyes away from TAMA’s menu, revellers headed upstairs to boogie the night away inside The Gatsby’s lavish surrounds. Champagne flowed, cocktails were shaken and whisky lovers drooled over the showcased sips, from Speyside single malts to esteemed Japanese blends. We came back in the light of day to take a better look around – here’s what we saw …

The unveiling of the GPO’s refurb was bound to be a notable event. How could it not be? The $9-million revitalisation of the heritage landmark was tabbed as one of the most-anticipated openings of 2023 as soon as it was announced last year. By the looks of things, Artesian Hospitality has used every cent of that $9-mill to great effect. The site houses multiple distinct venues overseen by award-winning personnel, from two-level dining destination TAMA – where plates of high-quality Euro-tinged fare are sent over the pass under the supervision of executive chef Richard Ousby – to The Tax Office, a forthcoming bar still shrouded in mystery. Last week the team unveiled The Gatsby, the GPO’s own glamorous cocktail and whisky bar, which is located upstairs. Together, the venues look to create an all-occasions hub located at a crucial juncture between James Street and Brunswick Street – positioned as a starting venue, an ‘on the way’ pit stop and as a locale for low-key, last-call libations. “Each of these venues are of the same quality, but appeal to a different demographic at some sort of level,” explains director of venue operations Alan Hunter. “Even though they are tied together, they’re three unique outlets, each with their own purpose.” The Gatsby’s overarching purpose is to offer revellers a comfortable space to indulge in the finer things – namely wine, whiskey, cocktails and champagne – removed from the bustle of The Valley below.

This ravishing retreat can be found one staircase twist up from the ground level entrance. Gone are all traces of the GPO’s past life as a nightclub – Space Cubed Design Studio has conjured an elegant interior aesthetic that better matches the structure’s stately exterior. It’s hard to deny the room’s inspirations – the opulent surrounds could be a painstaking recreation of a jazz lounge from the 1920s golden age or a parlour at Jay Gatsby’s Long Island mansion. You’d half expect the suited waitstaff to call you ‘old sport’ every time you approach the bar. Speaking of the bar, it’s pretty grand – clad in marble, with a line of cushy red velvet stools running along the front. The rest of the room boasts plush low-lying velvet booths, marble-topped tables with brass accents and old-world paraphernalia, all illuminated by crystalline light fixtures and a back-lit sign declaring ‘a little party never hurt nobody’ – part cheeky ode to the building’s nightclub past and part statement of newfound intent.

While TAMA’s snack menu keeps stomachs lined, The Gatsby’s main focus is undoubtedly the drinks. “The Gatsby is, of course, a whisky bar at heart and it’s got a sophisticated spirits and cocktail offering,” says Alan of The Gatsby’s broad focus. “But we’ve decided to give champagne a real hero treatment up there as well.” A flip through the beverage menu will prove that The Gatsby team isn’t messing around – the heavy tome not only lists drinks, but detailed information on everything from how whisky is made to the differences between growing regions and history of storied champagne houses. The Gatsby’s cocktail menu oscillates between riffs on classics and boundary-pushing signatures, while those with a penchant for personalisation can dictate the composition of their own negroni, martini, Manhattan and old fashioned. The extensive wine list draws from TAMA’s temperature-controlled cellar downstairs, which also houses bottles of bubbles from the likes of Krug, Dom Perignon, Louis Roderer, Armand De Brignac and Laurent-Perrier. Whisky sippers can take a tour of the world’s best producers with a nifty flight, while those purchasing a high-end bottle can store it in the building’s original 1887 vault and pick up where they left off next time they visit.

The Gatsby is now open to the public – head to the Stumble Guide for menu details and operating hours.

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.

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