Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley has received yet another injection of trendy culture, in the form of a $9 million refurbishment of the GPO precinct that’ll house three venues: TAMA, The Gatsby and The Tax Office.
TAMA and The Gatsby opened in early July 2023, while The Tax Office is currently only partially open. Its bar and dining component has opened, while its Late Night section will open Saturday, August 12.
The original 1887 Victoria Italianate façade, balconies, stairwells and ceilings have been carefully restored to their original decadence, while contemporary, high-end finishings, like exposed beams, brick and grand fireplaces, have been added in.
The project was a close collaboration with The Royal Historical Society of Queensland, Brisbane City Council, heritage architects, Zero9 Builders and Space Cubed Design Studio. Together, they worked to maintain the history of the iconic building, but also modernise it for a sustainable future.
“We wanted to ensure every detail was carefully executed, from hand-beaten copper detailing, one-off chandeliers, to glass art installations,” says Matt Keegan, Managing Partner of Artesian Hospitality. “It was recognised from inception that no expense would be spared to ensure the precinct was designed and constructed in-line with the rising expectations of the Brisbane hospitality scene.”
Brisbane’s hospitality scene has gone through rapid transformation in recent years, Keegan says. Many businesses are expanding to Queensland, and these companies are attracting talent, including Melbournites and Sydneysiders who’ve relocated up north.
On the GPO’s ground floor is TAMA, an elevated restaurant with soaring ceilings, double-story windows and marble floors. Its mezzanine level can be booked for private dining for up to 40 guests. Richard Ousby, who’s had lead roles at Quay Sydney and Stokehouse, will serve as Executive Chef.
The team worked with some of Australia’s best protein suppliers and Queensland producers to create TAMA’s dishes. Diners can tuck into grass-fed Tomahawk steak, cooked over fire in a world-famous Josper oven, which you can’t find anywhere else in Brisbane. Table-side artisan cheese and caviar service can also be ordered.
The Gatsby, an upscale bar and lounge, is set on the upper level. The décor features brass and leather accents, velvet booths and the GPO’s original vault from 1887, which has been restored and primed for private tours. Live entertainment, like saxophonists and violinists, also helps set the scene.
“It feels like you’re being thrown back into the soiree of the 1920s golden age — it’s an incredibly unique venue, which will have exemplary service to match,” says partner Alan Hunter.
Finally, The Tax Office is another bar and lounge, aimed at those keen on those looking for mid-week dinners or after-work drinks. The venue’s Late Night offering will include more bars, VIP booth seating, a DJ booth and one of Australia’s largest disco balls.
“The Tax Office boats a unique design, with a stone-topped infinity bar at its centre and heritage architecture standing tall against sleek and upscale finishes,” says Keegan. “It’ll be a hive of activity at any hour, carrying guests all the way from casual dinners to extravagant bottle service and beyond.”
Keegan says asking him to pick a favourite corner of the precinct is like asking him his favourite child. But if he had to pick one, it would be TAMA. The food there is sensational and the entire venue comes together so well, he says.
“I couldn’t be happier with how TAMA has come together but with that said, having a cocktail at The Gatsby and partying at The Tax Office does come a very close second,” Keegan says.