Foresters Restaurant and Bar: Heritage Building Transformed into Landmark Restaurant in Fortitude Valley

Photo Credit: Foresters Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

In an elegant collaboration between Tim Gurner and the Signature Hospitality Group led by CEO James Sinclair, the corner of Brunswick and Alfred Streets in Fortitude Valley has been revitalised with the 4th of July opening of the Foresters Restaurant and Bar, in what is now the Valley’s growing food and beverage precinct.

Heritage Roots

Built in 1889, Foresters Hall is an iconic heritage-listed building that has since gone through some major architectural facelifts whilst still staying true to its turn-of-the-century roots. Originally used by the Foresters and other Friendly societies as a social hub for their predominantly working-class members, the hall also subsequently became the Valley’s very first movie theatre, Cook’s Picture Palace, in 1910.

Photo Credit: WikimediaCommons

In later years, it became an appliance store, as the rest of the neighbourhood slowly declined before the resurgence that the area is experiencing today.

Old But New — Beautifully Repurposed

Currently one of the stops in the Vibrant Valley Heritage Trail, the handsome building’s distinctive facade, characterised by original exposed brick that are over a century old, natural timber detailing, large archways and metal tin tiles, has since been returned to its original glory, with some tastefully added new fixtures to update its look.

Now in its new incarnation, this iconic landmark gleams in its grand whiteness, the hawkishly cool exterior belying the regal warmth of its interior.

The feeling of warmth starts to build as one enters the beautifully restored entryway, into a 140-seat dining area, with large windows providing great views of both Alfred and Brunswick streets. A dimly-lit bar that can comfortably seat 60 people provides the perfect place for an end-of-day pick-me-up or a good weekend unwind.

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Extremely elegant yet comfortable dining ambience is available for singles, couples and small groups. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner – from 6:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Get comfortable on one of their posh leather-covered seats and simply allow Chef Peter Popow, Foresters’ master wine and food pairing guru to work his magic. Just a quick tip – try their intriguingly named special Pornstar Martini or their Salted Caramel Espresso Martini, topped with pieces of popcorn. It’s a delightful tribute to the building’s cinematic past.

Photo Credit: Foresters Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

For Simon Barnes, general manager of Foresters, their modern Australian take on traditional gastropub fare is the key to satisfying their now-growing clientele. Visitors are mainly residents and upwardly mobile, young professionals who patronise the place for its cosy ambience, well-rounded wine selection, carefully curated cocktail list, and the opportunity to see and be seen.

Definitely a place to check out, if you’re in the area.