Love Brisbane: Cheers to The City - the Gresham Bar - Visit Brisbane

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Love Brisbane: Cheers to The City - the Gresham Bar

Award-winning bartender Daniel Gregory discovers there is no place like home at The Gresham Bar.

Former Bartender of the Year Daniel Gregory is a mover and shaker on Brisbane’s cocktail scene.

After honing his skills as a pastry chef at boutique and fine-dining establishments in Brisbane in the early 2000s, Dan, 38, made the surprise transition to the bar side in 2007.

He timed the move during the resurgence of classic cocktails and found his culinary knowledge of flavour profiles and combinations distilled perfectly to high-end bartending.

“It was an easy transition to understand flavour combinations in cocktails,” he says.
“I already had a palate for mixing flavours, which is something I could translate to cocktail making.”

“In the kitchen, you also have to be quite precise with recipes and it is the same for mixing drinks. It’s like baking a cake, you can’t just chuck everything in and hope for the best. It’s the same principle for cocktail making – you have to understand the process, the ingredients and the measurements.”

Dan joined The Gresham Bar in 2015, which had already garnered an Australia-wide reputation as a multi-award-winning venue, putting the bar and Brisbane on the map with interstate and international visitors.

Steeped in history, The Gresham resides within the heritage-listed National Australia Bank building tucked away on Gresham Lane off Queen Street in The City and specialises in top-shelf spirits, including more than 600 whiskies.

“The Gresham was established in 2013 with the goal to offer premium beverages and high-end cocktails to our clientele in an environment that is welcoming for everyone to come in and enjoy a drink, whether it’s a morning coffee or a late-night cocktail,” Dan says.

Open on weekdays from 7am to 2am, The Gresham’s old-world ambience offers a welcome respite from the frenetic pace of the outside world and a distinctly unique proposition in The City that attracts a diverse clientele of office workers and visitors.

“Being open all day means we see The City change like a chameleon from the early-morning commuter rush for coffee to mid-morning meetings, lunchtime drinkers to the afternoon crowd, then pre-dinner and late-night drinkers to round out the day.”

Dan left The Gresham in 2016, and after a three-year stint in Hobart at MACq 01 Hotel’s Evolve Spirits Bar, he returned to the bar in April 2021 as general manager during the height of the pandemic.

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While challenging, COVID-19 operating restrictions was an opportunity for The Gresham to move from bar service to table service, a positive outcome that Dan says has refined their hospitality style and increased their interaction with guests.

The Gresham team also adapted to a change in clientele from serving predominantly beer, wine and whiskey to office workers and an after-work crowd to catering for after-dinner and late-night drinkers with handcrafted cocktails.

“I’ve worked in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart and I don’t think I have come across any bars in the realm of The Gresham and what we aim to achieve with our service and offering.”

“In hospitality, it is rare for staff to return to a venue, but while other bars have opened in Brisbane, The Gresham was definitely the bar I wanted to go back to.”

“The Gresham is quite unique in the diversity of people it attracts and remarkable in how one space can be so many different things to different people – it occupies a very special place in The City.”

For the wider CBD hospitality industry, Dan says the camaraderie that exists among The City’s bars and restaurants and the innate liveliness of Brisbane City will entice people back to fill watering holes and fine-diners again.

“The hope for The Gresham and the CBD hospitality community is growth; inviting people back into The City to experience the amazing service in the bars and restaurants throughout the CBD.

“Brisbane is an amazing city and we want to contribute to making it vibrant and thriving and give our best back to the community.”

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