I’m lucky enough to live within stumbling distance of the excellent Grand Central Hotel, which I fondly regard as my local. The public bar is passable for a cheap feed, a pint, a punt and a chance to rub shoulders with the old guard of Queensland’s public servants. Located directly below Queensland Rail HQ and Brisbane’s Central Station, opposite the Anzac Square Shrine of Remembrance, the site has an interesting history. In the golden age of railway, ‘refreshment rooms’ where built on the site, a place for passengers to quench the thirst of their long journey and by 1965 had morphed into Fihelly’s Arms Hotel, a pub serving cold beer in the great Australian tradition. Today’s patrons are a slightly more complex lot, and the Drinx hotel group has responded to the influx of city residents and the tastes of corporate types by creating a small contemporary bar and dining area ‘Platform’, which cleverly wraps itself around Central Station’s Ann Street facade, a pedestrian tunnel and railway platforms. Rather than feeling confined, Platform succeeds at being both inviting and intimate.
Grand Central Hotel today, and pre 1965 when it housed ‘Refreshment Rooms’ for weary rail travellers
For a few years now Platform has done great trade for corporate functions and the like but hasn’t solidly packed them in the way you’d expect given its transport oriented location. Enter Matt Coorey, a man on a mission to bring craft beers to the increasingly discerning drinkers of Brisbane. Matt has cleverly transformed Platform from just another bar to the place to try something new whilst you drink away the stresses of the day and catch up with your mates. With over 50 craft beers on offer, each endorsed with the Rubber Stamp Hand Crafted Beer Excellence mark, you could spend many a merry session working your way through the list. A decent wine list and fully stocked bar are there if you ever get tired of the endless variety that is craft beer.
Matt comes from a family of publicans with his family operating the much awarded Spotted Cow Hotel at Toowoomba, and has pulled a pint or two at a number of top pubs around the country. The staff at Platform share Matt’s passion for all things hopped, malted and brewed with ‘beer lists’ proffered to drinkers, expert knowledge of their product and many beers served in suitably matched glassware.
After a few rounds, you’ll probably be in no hurry to leave. And with two menus are available at Platform and the adjoining Dining Car there’s no reason not to hang around. A simple menu of bar food offers perfectly cooked chips, salt and pepper calamari, oysters, bollywood pizza and bruschetta and a more substantial menu offers honest dishes like lamb shanks, juicy steaks, fresh fish and salad and is available at lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday. The adjoining bottle-o offers many of the beers available at Platform, along with a selection of wines that encourages lengthy browsing. This unassuming hole-in-the-wall also stocks a wide range of whiskys and an extensive range of Barossa Valley wines and uncommon varietals.
Platform sure makes a great local.
Grand Central Hotel
270 Ann St
Brisbane QLD 4000
(07) 3220 2061
Open Monday - Saturday