Monday, 16 September 2019

A Glasgow bonus - street art

Glasgow is a city on the move. Friendly folk with fire in their bellies.

With a buzzy vibe and hundreds of historic buildings, Scotland’s biggest city also has a surprise for visitors with a range of street art to be savoured.

Keep your eyes peeled as you stroll the city streets.











# The writer is a guest of www.peoplemakeglasgow.com and the Moxy Hotel, Glasgow.  www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/glaox-moxy-glasgow-merchant-city/  

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Look out USA - Australia has wine to sell you


Wine Australia has launched its largest-ever promotion of Australian wine in the United States. 

The Far From Ordinary campaign is supported by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package. 

The $8 million campaign to start later this week is promoted as a key milestone in the fourth and final year of the $50m Package, integrating three years of targeted marketing strategy into a single campaign.

New Yorkers will be treated to three nights of Australian wine celebrations at the Union West in Chelsea this week. The invitation-only Australian Women in Wine Awards will recognise the work of women in the Australian wine community and the Far From Ordinary consumer events aim to highlight the current Australian wine scene.

Wine Australia’s first ever New to Market Showcase in New York on September 18 will connect a select group of USA importers and distributors with 18 Australian wineries looking to gain a presence in the market. 

Starting on September 19, over 100 Australian exhibitors will showcase their fine wines to the American wine trade as part of a six-city roadshow visiting New York, Chicago,  Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The roadshow will feature trade tastings, educational seminars and importer/distributor networking opportunities, and is expected to attract up to 2,500 attendees across the six cities.

The Far From Ordinary campaign will culminate with 100 American wine influencers – sommeliers, wine writers and other industry members – gathering at Lake Tahoe, California.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said: “The US remains the world’s largest and most attractive market.

“Its estimated retail value of US$38 billion is more than double that of second-placed China.

‘This Far From Ordinary campaign invites USA trade, media and consumers to experience a side of Australian wine that they never knew existed.”

‘While Australian wine exports to the USA grew 2 per cent to $432 million in the year ended June 2019, much work remains to increase our market share in the world’s biggest market.”

Saturday, 14 September 2019

A celebratory dinner in Norwich

There are dozens of Indian restaurants in Norwich, the beautiful county town of the English county of Norfolk.

The one that comes highly recommended is the Merchants of Spice, tucked away in one of the city’s many lanes.

I tried to eat here on Thursday night - but it was fully booked.

Likewise on Saturday as locals were celebrating their football team’s win over English champions Manchester City.

I waited until quite late to get a slot and was rewarded with slick service, a buzzy atmosphere and some outstanding tucker.

A few images to whet your appetite. All nicely spicy but well balanced and a mixture of North and South Indian dishes from chicken tikka to prawn malabar and garlic naan.






Thursday, 12 September 2019

Hip new hangout for Perth

First it was the Gold Coast, now Perth is to get a Hyde Kitchen + Cocktails outlet - the joint venture between sbe and Accor Hotels.
 
The venue will open in the new The Adnate hotel this October. 



Accor Chief Operating Officer Pacific Simon McGrath said: “We partnered with sbe to launch our first Hyde venue earlier this year on the Gold Coast and this opening is very much on the back of the success of this.” 

McGrath, believes Hyde Perth Kitchen + Cocktails will take Perth's restaurant and bar scene to a new level, adding:  “It won't be like anything else in Perth and is destined to become a favourite for Perth locals, due to its unique offering and central Hay Street location, as well as domestic and international visitors to the city.”

Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of sbe, said: “I and my team at sbe are extremely excited to see the HYDE brand grow in Australia with our partner Accor. This second opening is part of our international strategy to expand our hotel, residential, culinary and entertainment brands across the globe in collaboration with Accor.”

Hyde Perth Kitchen + Cocktails will boast an outdoor pool, sun loungers and DJ decks. 

The Hyde brand is known for its venues in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami.

See www.hydeperth.com

Woolworths swoops to buy Chapel Hill

In what was one of the worst-kept secrets in the wine industry, Wooworths-owned Endeavour Drinks has bought award-winning McLaren Vale winery Chapel Hill for an undisclosed sum.


In a deal predicted several weeks ago by Wine Business Magazine, Chapel Hill joins Krondorf (Barossa Valley), Isabel Estate (Marlborough) and Riddoch (Coonawarra) under the Paragon Wine Brands umbrella.

Chapel Hill was acquired from Swiss investors and is best known for producing The Vicar and The Parson shirazes among a fine range, had been sold through Endeavour Drinks as well as through cellar door sales and exports for several years.

“We have been selling a lot of Chapel Hill wine over the last five years – our customers love it – and it’s a lovely complement to a portfolio of really important brands that we’re privileged to have in our suite of brands,” Endeavour Drinks managing director Steve Donohue said.

Chapel Hill’s chief winemaker and chief executive Michael Fragos said the existing team would stay with the company and relationships with grape growers would not change.

Eggcellent news for gourmets

Imagine a machine that makes perfect scrambled eggs in a minute?

Or a companion device that produces perfect boiled eggs every time.

After more than 10 years of research, the Dutch company Eggciting Products has successfully developed two devices that can perform those tasks.

The And in addition to the time saving and energy saving, the devices make an important contribution to combating food waste. 

Thinks of the average breakfast buffet in a hotel: the boiled egg is never cooked exactly as you want it and the scrambled eggs are drying under the heat lamps and don't look or taste like fresh eggs.

Also, after the last guests have eaten, the remaining eggs are often thrown away.

"This needs to change," thought the Dutch CEO of Eggciting, Marcel Bivert. He brought together a team of engineers, people from the hotel industry and a food manufacturing company. The result: two patented devices that are as simple as they are ingenious; The Eggcheff.

Consumers can easily and safely operate The Eggcheff devices by themselves. With only a touch of a button on the Eggcheff Cooker, hungry folk can choose between a soft, medium or hard-boiled egg.

The Eggcheff Cooker brings the cooking time of an egg from twelve minutes down to one which has never been done before, it is claimed.

The Eggcheff Scrambled automatically cooks and mixes the eggs and even adds a spork to the cup or mug to take away. Fresh ingredients like tomato, bell pepper, onion and cheese can be added and cooked to preference.

"All of this in a minute. In the same time that you wait for your coffee," explains Bivert. The Scrambled Eggcheff doesn't only make personalised scrambled eggs with fresh ingredients but can also cook other breakfast foods such as oats, egg whites and other healthy options.
The devices developed by Eggciting Products use a new patented hybrid heating technique that is promoted as "the most energy efficient way to cook eggs".

The Eggcheff devices will be unveiled in October.

See www.theeggcheff.com

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

What the hell have they done with Brussels?

Brussels is/was one of the most imposing cities in Europe. 

The Belgian capital is/was full of impressive old buildings, delightful small shops, cafes and bars and quiet pedestrian walkways. So much more than a statue of a small boy urinating.

Or it used to be. 

Today it is full of road closures, renovations, major building works and noise - lots of noise. 

Whichever city father, or mother, who allowed so much work to go on at the same time needs to hang their head in shame. 

From the Gare du Midi to the Grand Place, Brussels is a city in transition. Best to visit when all the work has been done. If that ever happens. 

I strolled the city today looking for eye-catching sites. There are still plenty among the chaos, but the city is, unfortunately, a sad shell of its former glory. 











  
    

Effects of strike linger on and on

The effects of a two-day British Airways strike are lingering on across Europe. 

Disruption continued on Wednesday for thousands of BA passengers after the airline was left with its aircraft and crew in the wrong locations for the day's flights.

 
Nearly half of BA's fleet of over 300 aircraft and more than 700 pilots started the day in the wrong place. 

The lack of flights also meant international train bookings and those on other airlines were heavier than usual. 

"We are very sorry for the disruption BALPA's industrial action has caused our customers," the airline said in a statement. "We are working hard to get back to normal and to get our customers to their destinations.

"The nature of our highly complex, global operation means that it will take some time to get back to a completely normal flight schedule, however, we plan to fly more than 90% of our flights today."

"We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or an alternative airline."


The next scheduled strike - if no solution is found to pilot's grievances - will be on September 27 (thankfully the day after I leave Europe).

One place you won’t want to miss in Munich

A trip to the historic Lowenbrau Keller is de rigueur on any trip to Munich.


With wait staff in traditional Bavarian costumes, a range of terrific beers and hearty German food, it is a whole lot of fun. 

You can can even go for breakfast if you wish - and on good weather days the leafy beer garden is a must.


Even though it is now owned by American brewing giants Anheuser Busch, there is a whole lot of history dating back centuries.


I checked out an original lager and a Wiener schnitzel with potato salad. You’ll be pleased to know they all lived up to expectations. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

A top spot to kick back in Munich

Sometimes when you are travelling you stumble across a place in which you feel instantly at home.

On my visit to Munich that place was Cafe Kosmos.


It is pretty scruffy hole in the wall but a great spot for a beer or two, or a well-made coffee.

Set on two levels (upstairs is reached via a rather menacing circular staircase), it attracts an eclectic crowd with its welcoming vibe and well-priced drinks.

The Cafe Kosmos can be packed to the rafters at night but us more relaxed by day with beers for €1.30 and an espresso for €1.40.


Look out for the Barbie cigarette vending machine where the dolls shake their heads when you try to buy; and the Vodkazilla vodka machine.

The theme is “everyone is welcome.”

Staff behind the bar are super-friendly and multilingual, there is free wifi and the bar is just around the corner from the main railway station.

Not the most salubrious quarter but if shabby chic (or happy, smiling people) are your thing then you will love it.

http://www.cafe-kosmos.de/lage.html



Monday, 9 September 2019

Double celebration for wine producer

Wirra Wirra winery, one of the stars of McLaren Vale, is this year celebrating its 50th birthday as well as its 125th birthday. 



If that sounds a little bonkers, then Wirra Wirra has a long association with eccentrics from its original founder Robert Strangeways Wigley to the man who revived the business, the late Greg Trott. 

Wigley, a former state cricketer and lovable rogue, established Wirra Wirra when he purchased 240 acres and began  a pioneering operation.

He died in 1926 and the winery was closed in 1936.

Then, 50 years ago, Greg Trott and his brother Roger saw the potential in a few crumbling walls, and vowed to restore Wirra Wirra to its former glory. 

Trott died in 2005 but his legacy lives on at a winery that has long had a sense of fun while making wines that are serious.  

Last month Wirra Wirra marked both its founding and its revival with a series of tastings, events and dinners, including inviting several of its ex winemakers and staffers to show off what they are doing now.



That list of star alumni included Ben Riggs (Mr Riggs), Sam Connew (Stargazer), Kerri Thompson (Wines by KT), Paul Carpenter (LongLine), Julian Forwood (Ministry of Clouds) and Tim James (Dawson James) to show off what they are doing now. James was unfortunately unable to attend.  

The potential longevity of Wirra Wirra reds was underlined by a pair of stunning 2004 vintages of both the Church Block and The Angelus Cabernet Sauvignon.

A memorable occasion marked by some memorable wines, a fabulous dinner, a trebuchet performance, music and fireworks. Just as the slightly manic Trott would have wanted.      

Australia now home to the world's biggest lollypop

Australians love "big things". From the Big Pineapple to the Big Sheep the Australian landscape is dotted with giant caricatures. 

Now the world’s biggest free-standing lollypop has been unveiled in Ravensthorpe in Western Australia’s Golden Outback, about 530 kilometres south east of Perth.

 
Standing 7.4 metres tall at the Yummylicious Candy Shack, the idea of the giant lollypop was developed two years ago after the local nickel mine was closed for the second time.

Yummylicious Candy Shack owner Belinda McHarg said that launching the world’s biggest lollypop was tourism driven. 

“We wanted to create something to help boost tourism in our town, and who wouldn’t love a giant lollypop?” Belinda said. “It’s big, colourful and just makes people smile.”

Ravensthorpe is known for  for hosting the world’s biggest wildflower festival every September featuring up to 700 different species of wildflowers on display.

Australia’s Golden Outback CEO Marcus Falconer said that the world’s biggest lollypop is a great reason for locals, visitors and self drive tourists to stop in Ravensthorpe.

“It’s something a little bit different and you can’t help but feel happy when you look it,” Marcus said.

“I think it’ll do well on social media which is key to spreading word-of-mouth about Ravensthorpe and the region.”

The launch of the world’s biggest lollypop coincided with Yummylicious Candy Shack’s third anniversary and was celebrated with a free community festival that saw hundreds of people enjoy cupcakes, balloons, sumo wrestling, jumping castle and a free lollypop for every child.

Yummylicious Candy Shack is open daily from 10am to 5pm. 

Sunday, 8 September 2019

A lo-fi festival for lovers of minimal intervention wines

Wine and the Country is one of Australia's hippest little wine stores with an excellent selection of local, natural and imported wines.

Owner Jen Latta - wife of winemaker Owen Latta - also organises a very on-trend wine festival: Everything In Its Right Place each October.



Now its 3rd year, the festival will be held on Sunday, October 13, at Daylesford Town Hall and is being billed as "bigger and better than ever" with more activities, more producers, more food, more regions.

Some importers have been added to the line-up and there will be 40 winemakers in the room. Organisers promise you will need over four hours to sample all the wines.

There will also be two masterclasses during the day (free for all ticket holders) as well as some competitions.O

Dos Deli will also be in site be offering toasties, cheese and charcuterie.

There will also be some supplementary events. Tickets are $40 per person.

For full details see www.daylesfordwinefestival.com/ 

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Government warns of Hong Kong dangers

Australian travellers are warned to exercise greater than usual diligence while visiting Hong Kong.


More protests are planned in the coming days, some of which are not authorised, the Australian Government's Smart Traveller website warned. It said there was "an ongoing risk of violent confrontation."

Protests may cause traffic disruptions, including to and from the international airport, the site said.

"Consider arriving at the airport well ahead of usual check-in times and be aware of extra security arrangements. Be alert, and avoid protests and demonstrations.

"f there are signs of disorder, move away quickly to a safe place. Monitor media and follow the advice of local authorities.

"The situation is very uncertain. We have not changed our advice level: we continue to advise Australians to 'exercise a high degree of caution' in Hong Kong."

Consumer advocates slam TripAdvisor

Do you believe all the hotel reviews on TripAdvisor? Leading consumer organisation Which? says you should be very wary.

TripAdvisor is failing to stop fake reviews boosting the rankings of top-rated hotels, Which? reported. 
The consumer organisation analysed almost 250,000 reviews for the 10 top-ranked hotels in 10 popular tourist destinations around the world, finding one in seven had “blatant hallmarks” of fake reviews. 

Which? reported 15 cases to TripAdvisor and claimed that the site admitted 14 of the hotels had already been caught with fake positive reviews in the last year. 

It said TripAdvisor revealed that six of these hotels had been penalised for breaking guidelines and two had previously been given a “red badge” warning for suspicious activity, but this was not made clear to travellers.

Which? said TripAdvisor had taken down hundreds of reviews following its investigation. One hotel in the Middle East, rated as the “best hotel” in Jordan, had a “hugely suspicious” pattern of reviews, Which? reported, adding that the unnamed hotel denied any wrongdoing but TripAdvisor had subsequently removed 730 of its five-star ratings.

There were several other examples provided. 

In Las Vegas, two of the 10 highest-ranked hotels received almost half (48% and 41% respectively) of their hundreds of five-star ratings from first-time reviewers who had never made any other TripAdvisor contributions before or since, raising suspicions that they could be fake, Which? said.

Which? Travel’s Naomi Leach said: “TripAdvisor’s failure to stop fake reviews and take strong action against hotels that abuse the system risks misleading millions of travellers and potentially ruining their holidays.

"Sites like TripAdvisor must do more to ensure the information on their platforms is reliable, and if they continue to fall short they should be compelled to make changes so holidaymakers are no longer at risk of being duped by a flood of fake reviews.”

A TripAdvisor spokesman said: “It is far too simplistic to assume all first-time reviewers are suspicious. Every genuine reviewer in the world is at some point a first-time reviewer. Accurate fraud detection requires analysis of a wide range of data points, such as IP information, location data or details about the device an account was using when submitting a review. This crucial data is missing from Which’s analysis."


Friday, 6 September 2019

A legendary hotel brand makes a Sydney comeback

The legendary hotel brand Sebel is back in the Sydney market. 


Australia's largest hotel operator, Accor, has announced that Quay West Suites Sydney has been re-branded to The Sebel Quay West Suites Sydney, effective immediately.

Situated in Sydney's historic The Rocks precinct, The Sebel Quay West Suites offers apartment-style suites with views over The Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay. 

Minutes from the ferry terminal and Overseas Passenger Terminal, the property brings back a brand that was an icon in the 1980s and 1990s with the Sebel Town House. 

Accor Pacific Chief Operating Officer, Simon McGrath, said: “It's a delight to welcome The Sebel brand back to Sydney's CBD. Many would remember The Sebel Town House, which opened its doors in Sydney over 50 years ago, and since then has become a well-established premium apartment offering, renowned for its stylish and spacious surrounds supported by exemplary, personable service that is both welcoming and knowledgeable.

“This is a strategic move for this well-known property in The Rocks, which will only be enhanced by its new brand positioning. The Sebel Quay West Suites Sydney offers both the sophistication and independent flexibility that our guests expect from The Sebel brand.”

The Sebel Quay West Suites Sydney joins a network of 29 internationally branded The Sebel apartment products across Australia and New Zealand. 

Guests of The Sebel Quay West Suites Sydney will be able to earn points and privileges via AccorHotels' loyalty programme - Le Club AccorHotels. 

The Sebel Quay West Suites Sydney is located at 98 Gloucester Street, The Rocks, NSW 2000.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Calling all chardonnay lovers

Leading British wine educator and writer Jancis Robinson will headline the Langton’s Chardonnay Symposium Australia 2019 to be held at the Yarra Valley Racing Centre on October 31.

The Chardonnay Symposium is about sharing the world’s best practices in growing and making chardonnay. 

The program will feature presentations from industry leaders including Vanya Cullen, James Halliday and Michael Brajkovich.

“Australian chardonnay is at a particularly perfect stage in its evolution, emaciated, technically perfect and more elegant,” Robinson said (rather pretentiously IMHO). 

The schedule will provide insights into research and development of the variety as well as predicted future trends in growing, making and consuming chardonnay. 

Wine flights tasted on the day will include leading chardonnays from Australia, New Zealand and France.

“There is a reason why chardonnay is the most widely distributed white wine grape in the world," Robinson said. "Its appeal is universal. It is supremely versatile, making potentially excellent wines both still and sparkling,” Robinson said.

Ticket-holders will have the opportunity to hear from global leaders on best practice in the
vineyard, the winery and what’s happening in the global context of chardonnay.

The Langton’s Chardonnay Symposium Dinner will follow with a four-course menu featuring the
local produce of the Yarra Valley. 

Tickets are on sale now. Participants are welcome to purchase tickets for the Symposium + dinner $650+GST, symposium only $500+GST, or dinner only $200+GST.

The full schedule is available here: www.chardonnaysymposium.com.au/program/

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Seventeen days of fun, wine and food

Sydney's inner city will be home to over two weeks of fun, food and wine when the Pyrmont Festival is held for the ninth time from September 20-October 6.



The festival is partnering with Orange in Central West NSW for a series of special events showcasing outstanding cool-climate wines from the region. 

Spearheading the celebrations will be a family friendly headline event at Pirrama Park running on September 28-29 featuring wines from Orange and gourmet offerings from local artisan food producers as well as live entertainment.

“We’re very thrilled to announce our packed full program," said Pyrmont Festival director Alex Gibbs.

"In this celebration of the tight-knit relationship between city and country, the irresistible buzz of inner-city dining meets the inimitable flavours of Orange, to the backdrop of our unbeatable harbour views.”

 
Also in the spotlight will be limited-release beers from Pioneer Brewing Co and Badlands Brewery. 

Pyrmont eateries will also spotlight Orange’s winemakers with a series of special events, including wines from Orange region on show at the Pyrmont Point Hotel (September 20–October 6); and a celebration of all things biodynamic, organic and direct-trade at Bar Zini paired with Tamburlaine Organic Wines (September 21).

On 24 September, The Apprentice will welcome Sydney’s next generation of chefs serving up a dinner matched with wines from SeeSaw Wines; while the Terminus Hotel will pair with Printhie Wines for a September 29 after party. 
.
Running throughout the festival will be evenings of Orange wine tasting hosted by local liquor shop Porter’s Liquor; and cooking masterclasses with Sydney Seafood School. 

For details see: www.pyrmontfestival.com.au

A delightful welcome dinner in Bolzano

After travelling through four countries today: the UAE, Germany, Austria and Italy, it was terrific to arrive in Bolzano for the Alto Adige Wine Summit.

We kicked off tonight with a casual courtyard dinner at the Hotel Laurin.

With fresh mountain air, super-efficient multi-lingual service and some spiffing food and wine we enjoyed an excellent introduction to the region.

Here are some images to whet your appetite. Enjoy!






Tuesday, 3 September 2019

An Australian success story


From a husband and wife business in the the 1920s to sales across Australia and New Zealand, HPM is an Australian success story; one of Australasia’s largest suppliers to the electrical industry.

Founded by Doris and Berthold Hermann in Sydney, HPM went from moulding buttons to creating plastic knobs for transistor radios.  

Now part of the Legrande Group, HPM is part of the one of the leading global specialists of products for electrical installations and information networks servicing the domestic, commercial and industrial markets.

Legrande sells more than 130,000 catalogue items, has a commercial presence in more than 70 countries, sales in over 180 countries, and more than 33,000 employees. 

Nowadays, HPM is probably best known for its range of travel accessories, including a one-size-fits-all solution to reduce cable clutter: the 3-in-1 USB cable featuring a Lightning, Micro B, and USB-C adapter. 

It also markets the HPM World Travel Pack, with an adaptor for just about every country (I've just packed two for my latest trip) and 2 USB ports so you can charge your phone and other devices without the need to carry a dedicated power adaptor. 


HPM’s USB Wall Charger features two USB A and one SB C port allowing the charging of three devices simultaneously. 

For a full range of useful gadgets, see www.hpm.com.au to locate a retailer.

Monday, 2 September 2019

A peek behind the scenes at one of Australia's iconic wine producers

Change happens slowly, if at all, at Ashton Hills, one of Australia's finest producers of boutique pinot noirs. 

Established in 1982 on what was previously a Piccadilly Valley paddock growing brussels sprouts and potatoes, Ashton Hills was started by Stephen George, one of the pioneers in the Adelaide Hills wine region, right on the doorstep of the South Australian capital. 



Brian Croser was one of the few far-sighted vignerons to identify the potential of the region around the same time. 

George, who also makes wines for Clare Valley icon Wendouree, quickly established Ashton Hills as one of Australia's pre-eminent pinot producers, albeit in tiny quantities. 

In 2015 with no succession plan in place, he sold out to McLaren Vale-based Wirra Wirra, another company with a reputation for attention to detail. But George is still the winemaker, oversees the blending and still lives on the premises. 

About the only change is the new deck where visitors to the cellar door can soak up the sunshine, and the addition of talented young Liam van Pelt to the team.

Nowadays there are no fewer than 38 different clones of pinot planted on the three-hectare Ashton Hills site. 

The reserve and estate pinot noir and the estate riesling are all made exclusively from fruit grown on site, while the Piccadilly Valley chardonnay and pinot use fruit sourced from nearby growers. 

"With pinot noir, your first task is to get the fruit ripe," says George. His first vintage produced a wine that looked like dirty tap water. "Fortunately colour almost irrelevant to how pinot tastes."

George says his aim is a simple one: "to produce full-flavoured pinot noir with as little alcohol as possible".

The 2018 Ashton Hills pinots are about to the hit the market.

The 2018 Piccadilly Valley Pinot Noir ($35) is fragrant, long and immediately approachable, probably best consumed within 10 years. 

The 2018 estate pinot noir ($55) is absolutely beautiful; elegant pinot perfection: stylish and supple, while the 2018 reserve ($85) is very complex but still a little closed and deserves a good lie down before being disturbed.  
        
A most impressive trio.   



        

Historic Brisbane pub reopens after fire


One of Brisbane's most historic pubs has reopened after a devastating fire.

The Port Office Hotel, which dates back 155 years, has been closed since January. 

Owners Nick and Megan Gregorski were badly hit by the fire, which followed two years of renovations to the property. 

The pub in Brisbane’s CBD was gutted by a fire that originated in the ground floor dining room kitchen. All patrons and staff were safely evacuated, but the fire quickly spread throughout the ceiling cavities, causing significant damage.

Seven months on the long timber front bar is serving up drinks and the award-winning Port Office Dining Room is open for lunch and dinner, under the guidance of executive chef Graham Waddell. 

On the first floor, the Colonial Bar is once more taking bookings for functions.

“Reopening after the January fire is a massive relief," said Nick Gregorski. "We’re excited now to be open and just so happy to see our customers back and to have things going again, to be working in the pub and doing what we love. 

“It’s such a beautiful pub and we were so devastated and stressed for the last six months, so relief is probably the biggest feeling we have right now.”

The Port Office Hotel has survived three major floods since 1893, and been rebuilt several times. The property is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.