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The Wickham Is Reopening with a Revamped Beer Garden and New Indoor Spaces After a $3.1-Million Makeover

It's been 138 years since this Fortitude Valley pub first opened its doors — and now its beloved beer garden will be weather-proofed.
By Sarah Ward
March 13, 2023
By Sarah Ward
March 13, 2023

More than seven months after kicking off a huge renovation, Fortitude Valley favourite The Wickham is finally reopening its doors. Come Monday, March 27, the heritage-listed Wickham Street mainstay will unwrap its latest revamp, complete with a made-over beer garden that can host festivities all year round no matter the weather, plus two newly done-up indoor spaces.

"As a historic Fortitude Valley icon, throughout the revamp it was important for us to respect The Wickham's heritage whilst bringing it into the future, and we feel we have achieved this," said Australian Venue Co's Chief Operating Officer Craig Ellison.

"We can't wait to swing open the doors on 27th March and welcome Brisbane's LGBTQIA+ community back to experience The Wickham's next chapter."

Grace Smith

When the makeover was announced back in August 2022, Australian Venue Co advised that it'd be putting $1.5 million into The Wickham's fresh look. Now, as well as revealing when Brisbanites can hit up the 138-year-old venue again, the hospitality company has advised that The Wickham's do-over cost $3.1 million.

That sum has gone into a new design by Newline Design — well, as new as the site's heritage listing allows. Accordingly, the revamp is all about balancing historic charm with upgrades. The beer garden has been weather-proofed, for instance, so that its parties and shindigs can happen rain, hail or shine; a new kitchen has been put in; and existing areas of the pub have been given a new lease on life.

So, say goodbye to The Wickham's old corner bar and studio spaces. They're now known as The Peacock Room and Garland Room, respectively, with decor to match. The first is decked out with vintage furniture, work by local artists — heroing LGBTQIA+ talent — plus nods to the Wickham's peacock Frankie, and is being put forward as an option for cruisy drinks. The second is the venue's new club space, which means that DJs, performers and parties will be filling it ASAP.

The Wickham's reopening will see 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 will also host bottomless burlesque brunch sessions once a month.

Markus Ravik

Executive Chef Dylan Kemp is overseeing a new menu, so get ready to enjoy 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'll span crispy pig skin, meat balls, gravy and peanut butter.

Taking cues from the 70s and its fondness for disco, the drinks list is getting a once-over as well under Beverage Director Kevin Peters. Think: Disco Fruit Tingles, which'll be served in disco balls; 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 is upping 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.

The Wickham will reopen at 308 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley on Monday, March 27, with bookings open from Monday, March 13.

Top image: Markus Ravik.

Published on March 13, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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