When Fortitude Valley's newest watering hole launched on the corner of Ann and Constance streets, you could step into the future while nodding to the past. The site most recently known as Fringe Bar and Kerbside is set to become The Osbourne Hotel, a name that dates back 153 years. In fact, that's what the pub was called right up until 1992, when it became The Dead Rat Hotel, and then the Rat & Parrot.
Back in 1864, The Osbourne was the second hotel to open in the Valley, a fact that's certain to have made it popular. With a visible, multi-million dollar makeover both outside and in to restore the building to its original colourings, fittings and layout, the revamped spot will be hoping that history repeats itself when it welcomes patrons through the door from October 6. Well, not the more colourful parts — a man was famously shot dead there in 1974, women on roller-skates served drinks in the '80s, and a fire swept through in 1984.
That was then, this is now — and Fringe and Kerbside regulars, you'd best prepare for a vastly different space. The Osbourne features 94 taps throughout the now 800-person venue, as well as a 400-seat glass-ceiling bistro and beer garden. For those after more than a casual drink and a meal, the old boarding rooms on the first floor have been transformed into function and meeting rooms, as well as a private dining area for hire.
With two bespoke copper bulkheads boasting 31 taps each — and proving the only two of their kind in the country — thirsty visitors can expect a beer-heavy drinks menu focusing on craft, local and international brews. Also a highlight is a cocktail list providing new takes on old favourites, such as The Osbourne G&T, watermelon margaritas, barrel-aged old fashioneds and pineapple basil cucumber pisco sours also on offer.
In a kitchen overseen by ex-The Alliance Hotel and The Walnut Restaurant chef Jamie MacKinney, dishes include all-day pizzas, char-grilled meat and oyster plates (aka the kind of pub fare they probably cooked up last time The Osbourne existed), as well as Peking duck spring rolls, karaage chicken, sweet potato and cashew empanadas, and cheese kranskies with onion jam. A special daytime menu serves up lunch for under $20, while evening specials range from burgers to steak to wings.