The Raven Hotel is West End’s newest pub, offering an intimate hospitality experience for the burgeoning Brisbane neighbourhood.

The building – previously a restaurant – was purchased by ALH Group earlier in the year and after minimal changes to the venue’s fittings and furniture was reopened last Friday to a great reception by locals.

The pub is located in West End, a suburb with a lot of apartment buildings and high-density living. As a pub with a fairly small footprint, the idea was to create an extension of the homes of nearby residents.

“It’s quite a small pub, and the whole goal was to create a Melbourne-style corner gastropub,” explained operations manager Lance Burrows.

“There really isn’t that offering in Brisbane, so we’re trying to create that home away from home extension of people’s living rooms because there’s lots of units around West End.”

The hotel is named after Nicholas Walpole Raven, who owned three acres of land on Montague St, West End in the 1880s. Raven applied for a provisional hotel license on several occasions unsuccessfully, hampered by the strength of the temperance movement in Queensland at the time. After more than a decade of trying, Raven skirted the rejections by opening the West End Club.

With an abundance of large-format hotels populating Brisbane, the Raven Hotel’s offering focuses on more intimate atmosphere and high-end menu that straddles the line between casual pub dining and a more high-end restaurant offer.

“That’s what I think will drive the foot traffic here once people find out what the product is all about. It’s the kind of pub where you can sit at the bar and talk to the bartender, and soon the publican of the hotel will know pretty much everyone who walks in because it’s a community pub,” stated Burrows.

“And if people go to Brisbane and are looking for a pub with a high-end F&B offering it’ll be a little gem to be discovered.”

Overseeing the menu is head cher German Gonzalez. The cuisine will be an upmarket take on contemporary pub dining, with dishes like duck liver parfait, oysters with lime granita and grilled octopus for entrees. Steaks have had a similar upgrade, with steak frites on offer, as well as a shared dry-aged T-bone, that comes with entrees and sides at a fixed price.

“It’s still priced right to keep it casual. That’ that whole attraction – to get people out of their living room and make this their living room, and have a steak frites and a glass of red wine,” suggested Burrows.

Raven Hotel opened to locals on Friday night and was received very warmly since.

“It traded really well over the weekend and seems to be ticking the box that we want it to tick at the moment.”

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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