From the street, the enticing double storey façade of The Charming Squire and its glistening open glass kitchen facing busy South Brisbane's Grey Street, it's difficult not to be lured inside. This is a behemoth of a venue with a massive open plan layout taking up almost an entire block – and after the official launch, and publicity galore – it's a venue that's definitely got people talking.
Open around a month, the operation backed by Lion Nathan is the newest of six siblings across other Australian capitals including Adelaide's The Curious Squire, and Hobart's, The Squire's Bounty. Melbourne has The James Squire Brewhouseat the Portland Hotel, however in a coup for Brisbane The Charming Squire is the largest of the craft beer brewing brood and a very welcome addition to Brisbane's cultural centre precinct.
Expect lots of pre-drinks and dinner before shows at QPAC and perhaps when the G20 is in full swing, the world's most important may stop here after the busy proceedings at the adjoining exhibition and convention centre where the summit is held. We can only hope, and rumour is it Obama does like a tipple.
See the brewing process as you drink beer - yes please.
As you step inside it's a challenge to decide where to look first because this place goes décor deluxe. Characterised by industrial design elements, and minimalist angular furnishings, you can't talk about The Charming Squire without making mention of the impressive onsite brewery as part of the split level layout.
Look up and marvel at the polished timber vats, and the fact that you can watch the brewing process while drinking beer. I don't know why but I had Woolworths 'You can't get fresher than that' jingle replaying in my head ad nauseam as I sipped the citrusy bouquet of the Galaxy Ale and appreciated the 'brewed straight to you' philosophy of the venue.
The lines from the brewery upstairs travel down into the bar, and should you choose the Galaxy Ale, then into your glass. The fact that patrons feel as if they are directly amongst the action is a big part of the appeal of The Charming Squire as they've made a conscious decision for people to see exactly what goes into the creation of their food and drink.
The glass kitchen is like a fish bowl where you can see an impressive team of immaculately presented chefs preparing all manner of foods, from inside the venue and from the street. With all those eyes watching, it's no doubt a little extra pressure for the kitchen staff to be on their best behaviour. It's also in this kitchen that unique coal fire spits give the steaks and other meats their smoky flavour.
Watch all the action in the kitchen - from the street!
On our visit a few Thursdays ago, the venue was filling quickly in the late afternoon. While food service was quick on our visit, after reading some recent online reviews, if you are visiting on the weekend it's likely to be packed, making it difficult to expect quick delivery of your dinner.
We waited just over 30 minutes for our charcuterie plate and pulled pork sliders, and it was definitely worth waiting for. The Charming Squire serves up the kind of fare to perfectly complement their eclectic beer menu. From typical pub food done with sophisticiation, to a proper sit down restaurant experience, depending on your mood and the time of day The Charming Squire can be enjoyed as a venue to suit multiple different occasions.
It's also the perfect menu to complement and pair with their vast range of different brews, and worth poring over their timber tablet menu to consider what foods will match well with your beer, with the staff only too happy to provide food pairing advice.
You can go all out for meals here, or if you are more in the drinking mood, go for something a little bit lighter without having to sacrifice taste (or flavour.) Our range of delicious dips, cheeses, cured meats and antipasto assortments was a the perfect accompaniment to our Golden Ale, and the pork sliders with apple slaw were quickly devoured with our great outdoor seats overlooking the Wheel of Brisbane.
After several hours stretching into the evening, we left full bellied and rosy cheeked after enjoying the great atmosphere. There is no doubt I'll be back to what is an exciting new venue where they've gone all out, and one you'll feel proud taking visiting friends and family when in town.