Pub Sale to bring a taste of London to Brisbane’s South Bank

19 February 2024

The 29th of February is the least frequent date in the calendar, and this time around it corresponds with the opening of another rarity, a genuine Brisbane gastropub.

The Rose & Crown will open its doors in South Bank following the leasehold sale and refurbishment of what was formerly known as the Little Big House, situated within a two-storey Queenslander built in the 1880’s.

CBRE Hotels’ Senior Director Paul Fraser and CBRE Retail Leasing Associate Director Tanaka Jabangwe negotiated the off-market sale to Alex Derrick, a Queenslander who went to the UK for a two-year working holiday and came back 24 years later with a mission.

“I fell in love with two things in the UK. The great British pub and my wife Bella,” Mr. Derrick said.

“I changed my plans for a career in medicine and started operating some of the first gastropubs in London. These were pubs that really took food seriously, using the best available seasonal ingredients and producing a small but ever-changing menu.

“The secret was keeping the informal atmosphere of a local pub, not trying to be fancy or pretentious but blowing customer expectations out of the water with restaurant-quality food. For 24 years I put my stamp on more than 80 pubs in London, the south of England and Wales. I am proud to say that many are now iconic, much-loved local heroes.”

Mr. Derrick and his team have earned several awards, most memorably Best Pub Company in the UK in 2010 and have always wanted to bring the same idea to Brisbane.

Returning last year with his family, he set his sights on finding the perfect spot for a proper London-style gastropub that would offer a point of difference from the existing offers across the city.

“There will be no pokies, no TAB, not even a parmy! It will be a place you can feel at home, whether you are looking for a three-course freshly cooked meal or a spontaneous pint with a mate. I really want to recreate the famous feel of a good British pub where regulars love bringing friends to their local and staying up later than they should, having a ball,” Mr. Derrick said.

The Rose & Crown will be the only pub in Queensland serving traditional cask beer, direct from the cask. Tap beers will include Birra Moretti, Brewdog, Magners and Guinness in addition to a 40-bin wine list.

Head chef Kevin Honeywood has worked in many top UK kitchens while Bella Derrick, Alex’s English wife, is an experienced interior stylist whose plans include incorporating classic elements to complement the heritage Brisbane building, while adding a few nods to her British background.

To engage the local community the Rose & Crown will host a weekly pub quiz, showcase regular live music and sport, and have a karaoke room, with the grand opening set for March 13.

The property is located between the Flight Centre building and The Emporium Hotel, directly in front of South Bank station.