May 16, 2013 by 250 Beers
Located on Eagle Street adjacent to the Brisbane River and within spitting distance of Eagle Street Pier’s long list of restaurants, eateries and bistros is the Pig ‘n’ Whistle Riverside (not to be confused with the Pig ‘n’ Whistle on Queen Street Mall).
The interior of the place is fitted out just like a traditional English pub with wood everywhere…wooden bars, wooden tables, wooden stools, wooden clad everything. Wood you enjoy it there? Probably. I know I do.
Having bought my first ever pint (albeit under age and illegal) in a pub that was very similar to the Pig, I get a very homely feel from the place. It reminds me of England a lot and I like that.
The last house that I owned in England before emigrating to Australia was in Kings Hill near the small village of West Malling in Kent which boasted a whopping five pubs that all dated back hundreds of years. My abode before that was an apartment on Narrow Street in London’s Docklands. Along Narrow Street is a pub called The Grapes which dates back to 1583. A certain Charles Dickens used to frequent the place whilst en route to his London publisher from his home in Rochester, Kent. The first time I ever went into the The Grapes (circa 2001), I got served a pint of Castlemaine XXXX by an Aussie guy from Brisbane. How bizarre.
The Pig ‘n’ Whistle will never be like those English pubs with nearly 500 years of history but they’ve given it a good go at creating that vibe.
In keeping with the English theme, you’ll only get a beer poured in imperial measures – in half pint or pint glasses.
Many English football clubs (sorry, soccer clubs) that have a large following here in Brisbane use the ‘Pig’ as their base. It’s home to official Brisbane supporters groups such as Glasgow Rangers, Liverpool, Tottenham and both Manchester teams to name just a few.
The every day selection of beer obviously includes mainstream ‘daft’ varieties but I shouldn’t take away the fact that the Pig always has a decent selection of tapped craft beers available too. In recent months under the Pig’s roof I’ve laid my hands on Moo Brew’s Barrel Aged Vintage Imperial Stout (8.5%), Murray’s Big Wednesday IPA (6.0%), Blue Sky’s IPA (4.5%), Queensland Ale (4.7%) from Bacchus and McLaren Vale’s Rhubarb Witbier (5.0%). Not to mention the recently launched Original Golden Ale (4.4%) by Fortitude Brewing Co. who chose this venue to launch the beer AND the brewery.
The management market the pub as Brisbane’s number one craft beer venue. I haven’t seen any figures or wish to speculate but I’m fairly certain that other venues that dedicate 100% of their taps to craft beer may well lay claim to that title. That said, over the past few weeks the top 12 from the Critic’s Choice Best 100 Australian beers of 2012 have graced the taps. That was a pretty decent coup.
It is also worth noting that the Pig Riverside was the first pub north of Byron Bay to tap the hugely successful and popular Pacific Ale from Stone & Wood. It was also home to the very first keg of Little Creatures’ Pale Ale on the Eastern sea board. Pretty cool claim to fame that!
I’ve eaten here a few times now and can confirm that the food is great. Decent sized portions served in a timely fashion. I’ve never been let down. It’s real value for money.
The menus are pretty extensive so I’d urge you to check-out the website for more details.
There’s no doubt about it – the pub is absolutely huge. Once you’ve bought yourself a drink (hopefully a pint of craft beer) and ordered some food there are nine or ten (I lost count) different areas to sit and enjoy it. Each area comes with its own ambience.
You’ve got to experience the pub to understand what I mean properly.
I can’t finish this piece without mentioning the toilets. They are located in the centre of the premises and offer a pretty cool communal area of hand basins. What the shitting heck is cool about washing your hands I hear you ask! Well, this area reminds me so much of something out of Victorian London. It’s a rotunda clad with bright white tiles that really makes lathering up the digits quite enjoyable¹.
Of course, primarily, you should savour the liquids and great food on offer in this fine establishment, but why not enjoy a piss afterwards?
Pig ‘n’ Whistle, Riverside Centre, 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane, QLD 4001. Phone: 07 3832 9099
¹I should state that I enjoy a bit of architecture and interior design every now and then. The paragraph above does not constitute me being labelled as some kind of sicko that frequents public toilets.