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Now Open (Again): The Wickham Is Welcoming Brisbanites Back in Following a $3.1-Million Makeover

The Fortitude Valley pub's latest incarnation includes a weather-proofed beer garden, late-night snacks, monthly drag brunches and a dedicated food menu for dogs.
By Sarah Ward
March 28, 2023
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By Sarah Ward
March 28, 2023
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It's been more than seven months in the making, and it's finally here: after a hefty renovation, Fortitude Valley favourite The Wickham has reopened its doors. Hitting up the heritage-listed Wickham Street now means enjoying a revamped beer garden — one that's now weather-proof, too, taking not only Brisbane's sunshine but the city's storms into account — and spying pops of colour everywhere, spotting Jennifer Coolidge among the artwork and tucking into Disco Fruit Tingle cocktails served in disco balls.

It was back in August 2022 that the 138-year-old venue's makeover was announced, with Australian Venue Co advising that it'd be putting $1.5 million into The Wickham's fresh look. Renovating a bar that dates back to 1885 isn't a small task, though. Accordingly, in early March the hospitality company advised that hotel's do-over cost $3.1 million.

As seen across the revamped outdoor area and two newly done-up indoor spaces, that sum has gone into a new design by Newline Design — well, as new as the site's heritage listing allows. Walk through The Wickham now and you'll notice a mix of the old and the fresh, aka balancing historic charm with upgrades. A new kitchen has been put in as well.

Among the existing areas of the pub that've been given a new lease on life, The Wickham's old corner bar and studio spaces are now welcoming in patrons in their new guise. They've both been renamed, dubbed The Peacock Room and Garland Room, respectively. And yes, they now sport decor to match.

The Peacock Room is decked out with vintage furniture, work by local artists — heroing LGBTQIA+ talent — plus nods to the Wickham's peacock Frankie. It's also the venue's favourite option for cruisy drinks. Garland Room is the venue's new club space, which means that DJs, performers and parties will be filling it ASAP.

The Wickham's reopening also sees it bring back Thursday night trivia in the beer garden, live tunes from Friday–Sunday and drag shows on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Peacock Room is also set to host bottomless burlesque brunch sessions once a month.

Menu-wise, Executive Chef Dylan Kemp is overseeing the new food lineup, which spans stone-baked pizzas, bar snacks and late-night options, including a sizeable range of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. On offer: cauliflower hot bites, fried quail with truffle mash, deep fried Golden Gaytimes and fairy bread — and a menu just for dogs that spans crispy pig skin, meat balls, gravy and peanut butter.

Taking cues from the 70s and its fondness for disco, the drinks list has scored a once-over as well under Beverage Director Kevin Peters. Think: those aforementioned Disco Fruit Tingles; Glitter Bellinis, complete with edible glitter; and frozen G&Ts made with pineapple tonic. If you're keen on a tipple without the booze, the venue has upped its non-alcoholic range of wines, spirits, beers and cocktails as well, which'll feature a No-groni and the Espresso Marti-no.

The Wickham is no stranger to nips and tucks during its century-plus existence, of course, including last undergoing a refresh back in 2014 and gaining five completely new spaces in the process.

Australian Venue Co has been spearheading makeovers at a number of Brisbane pubs over the past few years, as seen as spots such as Cleveland Sands HotelSalisbury Hotelthe Crown Hotel in Lutwyche and Bribie Island Hotel. It's also revamping Riverland in the CBD, with the results set to be unveiled in 2023, too.

Find The Wickham at 308 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley.

Published on March 28, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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