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The Norman Hotel Story – 1889 to 2009
The story of the Norman Hotel started in 1885 when Mr Robert Heaslop purchased two lots of land in Woolloongabba from Mrs Elizabeth Qualtrough, after whom Qualtrough Street is named.
Mr Heaslop’s vision was to build a grand hotel on his land for a not insubstantial amount (in those times) of £3,500.
In the late 1880s, Queensland was beginning to develop its own distinctive architecture, reflected by John B Nicolson’s design of the Norman Hotel. Construction of the hotel by F Steffens was completed in 1889 – the same year Central Station opened.
Heaslop decided to name the hotel after Sir Henry Norman, the newly appointed Governor of Queensland. Norman, who relocated to Queensland from Jamaica, was a well-respected and likeable Governor as demonstrated by the number of Brisbane localities named after him.
From 1896, Heaslop leased the hotel before selling it to brewing company, Perkins & Co, in 1900. Perkins & Co, which acquired a number of Brisbane pubs in the same year, was known for its series of beers featuring the letter X. They produced the Perkins XXX Bitter Ale, the iconic XXXX Bitter Ale (introduced in 1924) and even a XXXXXX beer. (The number of Xs referred to the alcoholic strength of the beer.)
Perkins & Co leased the Norman to a series of Publicans until 1928, when the brewer was taken over by its biggest rival and Castlemaine Perkins was born.
With the exception of minor renovations and the construction of air raid shelters, the Norman Hotel remained relatively unchanged until the late 1980s.
In 1987, the Cavill family of hoteliers purchased the Norman Hotel and some adjoining land, on which they built a beer garden and outdoor dining area. The air raid shelters and stables were also removed from the rear of the property and, in 1988, the now-famous steakhouse opened.
With their experience in operating successful pubs and steak restaurants, the Cavills quickly transformed the Norman Hotel into one of Brisbane’s most iconic, destination pubs.
As its popularity and reputation grew, the Norman Hotel became known as Brisbane’s Worst Vegetarian Restaurant – a tag that endures today.
In 2006, the Cavills sold the Norman to Lasseters Hotel Group who two years later sold it to the current owners, the Australian-owned Independent Pub Group.
In 2009, fire broke out at the Norman Hotel during the popular Friday lunchtime service. While there were no injuries to staff or patrons nor damage to the historic public bar, the pub was forced to close for a month for restoration.
When it reopened, everything patrons had come to know and love about the hotel was back – great steaks and great atmosphere – with a new addition to enhance the Norman experience, Norman’s Bar.
The management and staff of the Norman Hotel encourage you to discover what has made the Norman such a special place to meat and dine for the past 120 years.
Ultimately, it is the steaks at the Norman Hotel that turns first-time visitors into regulars. Sourced from Australia’s best meat suppliers the steaks fortify our position as ‘Brisbane’s Worst Vegetarian Restaurant’.
An integral part of the overall experience is to select your own premium cut from the chilled cabinet and watch our expert cooks char grill it to perfection in front of you.
From our Grill Court and Fountain Court to the alfresco Beergarden and the new Norman’s Bar, we have a range of inviting dining settings for you to enjoy.
Our staff, some who have worked at the Hotel for decades, are the backbone of the Norman family. They treat guests like you would a friend in your own home.
Our passion for quality food and friendly service is the foundation for the Hotel’s success. We strive to create an experience you will tell stories about to friends and family alike.
The Norman Hotel has long been a famous watering hole in Brisbane. Our two distinctly different bars – the new Norman’s Bar and the traditional Sports Bar – provide something for everyone and are a great place to rub shoulders with some famous faces.
Norman’s Bar is an exciting new addition to the Hotel offering a relaxed and comfortable setting to meat before a match at the Gabba, catch up with friends, wind down on the weekend, or watch your favourite team on our 103 inch plasma screen – the first of its size in a pub in Queensland. It is a great spot to soak up all the action and atmosphere at the Hotel and an ideal place for a pre and/or post dinner drink.
Alternatively, you can catch all the live sport action in our Sports Bar. Nestled in the corner of the heritage-listed part of the Hotel, the Sports Bar is a favourite with locals and punters alike.
The Norman Hotel
102 Ipswich Rd
Woolloongabba QLD 4102
P +61 7 3391 5022
F +61 7 3391 2096