Pavement Whispers: The Wright House, a new brewpub concealing a secret American-style steakhouse inside, takes shape in Woolloongabba
Pavement Whispers: The Wright House, a new brewpub concealing a secret American-style steakhouse inside, takes shape in Woolloongabba
Pavement Whispers: The Wright House, a new brewpub concealing a secret American-style steakhouse inside, takes shape in Woolloongabba
Pavement Whispers: The Wright House, a new brewpub concealing a secret American-style steakhouse inside, takes shape in Woolloongabba
Pavement Whispers: The Wright House, a new brewpub concealing a secret American-style steakhouse inside, takes shape in Woolloongabba

Pavement Whispers: The Wright House, a new brewpub concealing a secret American-style steakhouse inside, takes shape in Woolloongabba

Is there any restaurant crew on a hotter streak than the Talisman Group? After opening three well-received venues in 2022, the hospo hit maker is set to make 2023 another banner year with the opening of its biggest concept yet. The Wright House, 300-person brewpub with sleek mid-century-inspired design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, will open near the year’s mid-point. Here, guests can expect a family-friend menu of woodfired pub-style cuisine as well as bright tanks dispensing freshly brewed beers from Aether Brewing. That’s not all – the venue will also be home to The Office, a swanky 30-seat steakhouse perfect for Mad Men fans eager to do their best Don Draper impression. It’s going to be a big one – read on to find out what’s in store …

All of the Talisman Group’s South City Square venues boast a specific inspiration at their core. For example, the group’s debut eatery Sasso Italiano drew influence from the Italian-American diners frequented by owners Jared Thibault and Vince Lombino in their youth, while Purple Palm was an evocation of the breezy hospitality scene of their one-time home of Palm Springs. The concept for the group’s forthcoming (and, perhaps, most ambitious) venue is couched in a myriad of ideas, including mid-century design, classic American steakhouses, craft beer, Australian pub culture and a love of woodfire cooking. It’s a lot to work into a singular concept, which is why the group isn’t stuffing it all into one venue – it’s creating two. Later this year the team will open The Wright House, a hybrid-style bar and eatery that fuses Australian pub approachability with mid-century American aesthetics. Inside The Wright House is where you’ll find The Office, part private dining room and part upscale steakhouse that feels uprooted from 1950s Los Angeles and transported through time and space to Woolloongabba.

The Wright House, in the simplest terms, is a brewpub – but one unlike any seen in Brisbane to date. “Having a brewpub was always going to be part of [our plan],” says Jared. “We do want to have a little bit of everything for everyone and nothing’s better than a classic Australian brewpub. Being so close to The Gabba it always made sense.” As with each Talisman venue, Jared and Vince are playing with an established hospitality model, tweaking and shaping it with their own personal tastes. This time, the Talisman Group is disseminating American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright’s sense of spatial style into the brewpub’s homely aesthetic, with a scheme of stone, tile and timber featuring throughout. Boasting a 60/40 split between indoor and outdoor dining, the 300-person venue will featured a hovering cantilevered mezzanine accessed by a floating glass and wood staircase, an open kitchen centred around a 2.5-m Spanish style parrilla with a woodfire hearth, and six custom rose-gold bright tanks above the bar. These vessels will be used to dispense beer crafted by the crew at Aether Brewing, including beers that Aether has made for the Talisman Group’s other venues, such as Sasso’s Italian-style lager and Casa Chow’s chicha-inspired rice lager made using Peruvian purple corn, as well as an American-style ale made exclusively for The Wright House. “My favourite beer in the States, being from Boston, is Sam Adams,” says Jared. “So that’s what we kind of envision it will taste like, but obviously an interpretation of it.” A small pilot brewing system will also be installed for small-batch on-site brewing, available to hire for private events. The rest of the beverage list will include classic cocktails, a broad array of spirits and a wine list of quaffable Australian vino. As for the kitchen, Talisman Group executive chef Gabriele Di Landri will craft a menu of pub-style fare melding Australian and American flavours. “We’ll do some classic Aussie pub food but with a little twist but, of course, we’re going to be focused on the wood fire,” says Gabriele. “We’re going to do a beef burger cooked on wood and we’ll do a schnitty but probably a nice veal schnitzel. It still needs to be appropriate for everybody, we need to be approachable for families and approachable for those going to the stadium.”

Tucked away upstairs past The Wright House’s mezzanine seating area is the venue’s hidden gem, The Office. Described as an old-school American-style steakhouse, this 30-seat haunt will treat guests to an elevated offering and a classic style of service. “It’s old-school LA,” says Vince. “It’s inspired by a love of [Mad Men’s] Roger Sterling and Don Draper’s lunches that they used to have every day – where they’d eat oysters and steaks at midday and there’s no windows so you don’t know if it’s noon or midnight. We’re bringing back all the things that disappeared when everybody went fast and easy.” The space will be lavishly furnished, with a detail-oriented design reminiscent of an accomplished businessperson’s office, complete with filing cabinets, decanters, globes and books. Vintage lamps will cast illumination across black leather booths and dark mahogany furnishings, while waitstaff attired in classic uniforms will offer tack-sharp table-side service. The parilla will also be utilised for The Office’s menu of steakhouse fare, with chef Gabriele drawing upon past experience as executive sous chef of The Dining Room at Sydney’s Dolphin Hotel. “When I was at the Dolphin, its dining room had one hat at the time, while the public bar had the classics,” says Gabriele. “Similarly, The Office is going to give us the chance to showcase a little bit more [than The Wright House]. We’ll do prime ribs, we’re planning to do Ceasar salads at the table, double-baked potato, mac ’n’ cheese – all American-inspired steakhouse sides.” Drinks wise, The Office will boast a dedicated Manhattan bar, with whiskies from 78 Degrees Distillery available alongside esteemed American labels like Michter’s. The wine list will also boast a solid representation of big and bold American vino, with the selection highlighting shiraz and cabernet to match the steaks – though South City Wine’s extensive list will also be made available to those with a penchant for a particular sip.

The Talisman Group is targeting June for The Wright House and The Office’s opening. Stay tuned for updates in the coming months. 

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

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