The Regatta Hotel, Toowong, Brisbane, Queensland


Situated along Coronation Drive on the Brisbane River at Toowong is one of Queenslands most historic pubs - the Regatta Hotel. Without a doubt, the Regatta Hotel is the grand old lady of the Western suburbs. This magnificent old building stands like a sentinel at the entrance to Brisbane's most beautiful suburbs.

The Regatta Hotel takes its name from the rowing races, which were once held in the Brisbane River. Traditionally the pub was the finishing point for these rowing races. Old wooden oars from past regattas now grace the walls of the bars as a reminder of the pubs history. It is still possible to see the rowers in action along the Brisbane River as many of the rowing clubs and school rowing sheds still use the Brisbane River for their training.

The Regatta Hotel gains its architectural impact from its wide verandahs, heavily ornamented by cast iron. It represents a building type in which cast iron received its most lavish use throughout Australia. It is because of this striking architectural design, that the Regatta Hotel is classified by the National Trust, and listed in the Register of the National Estate by the Australian Heritage Commission.

Many people have fond memories of the Regatta Hotel. In 1965 it became the starting point for women's liberation in Brisbane. Two women, one being Merle Thornton (mother of Sigrid Thornton - the Australian actress) chained themselves to the bar in an attempt to liberate public bars from being men-only. It is now recognised as one of the defining moments of the feminism movement in Australia. In 1982, when Robert De Castella stormed from the pack in the Commonwealth Games marathon, the Regatta was packed with onlookers hanging from the verandas to witness this event. They then went on to celebrate the win into the early hours of the morning. In 1983, when Australia II won the America's Cup, police had to close surrounding streets in an attempt to control the crowd. People would even flock to the pub to celebrate big storms and floods, the Regatta going under well up to its first floor in both the 1890 & 1974 floods. And for rowers and spectators of the sport they would remember the Regatta Hotel as the finishing point for the annual head of the river

It is within her bars and her ornate iron laced verandahs that the memories of celebratory drinks have been held for some 100 years. It is to those bars and verandahs that the new owner, Steve Hammond intends to return the celebrations as early as next year and has put aside $2 million to do it. The massive renovation program to restore the Grand Old Lady to her former glory and become the most exiting Hotel Brisbane has seen will begin in late January 2001. Included will be a total interior redesign giving it 4 floors of completely different entertainment and atmosphere unique to Brisbane. This development will also include surrounding blocks with the plans already being drawn for a beer garden and steak house to be attached to the hotel. 

Apart from the $2 million Steve is going to pour into a lift and tuck and paint job for the grand dame, he's set aside $30,000 in prize money to draw everyone who can get a boat back to the annual Head of the River competition. This will start the opening day festivities of the NEW Regatta. But until that day in May 2001 when the NEW Regatta opens, you can have a drink at the old Regatta.

The Regatta has entertainment 7 days a week, such as a unique '000' party on Monday nights, pool comp Thursday nights, and a headlining act on Saturday nights. Armed with a baldhead, handle bar moustache, Hawaiian shirt, guitar, and a huge repertoire, yes you guessed it - Tuffy is back! Tuffy's reputation as the ultimate party host will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen him perform live. On a regular night he has the dance floor packed within 30 seconds of taking the stage and the attention of everyone in the room. Catch Tuffy hosting the "COUNTDOWN TO THE NEW REGATTA PARTIES" every Saturday night.

The new management have taken the time to write to us to let us know that they look forward to giving a special welcome to all readers - make sure you introduce yourselves!

The Regatta Hotel
543 Coronation Drive Toowong Brisbane Queensland 4066
Phone: (07) 38707063
Fax: (07) 38707727

Take a break from drinking like the author of this article did - Read why and how in his book Between Drinks: Escape the Routine, Take Control and Join the Clear Thinkers