THE proliferation of new bars and restaurants across Ipswich is continuing, with a well-loved Booval venue undergoing a major facelift.
The Prince Alfred Hotel - better known among locals as the PA - is part-way through construction of a massive 250-seat steakhouse.
Set to open in just over a fortnight, Char'd Steakhouse will have a new customised kitchen, cocktail bar and lounge and children's play area.
Manager Paul Telford said construction on the restaurant itself began about a month ago, however planning for the restructure of the venue started much earlier, with the bottle shop that used to occupy the space needing to be relocated to a different part of the complex.
"We looked at the Ipswich area and thought it was lacking a really good steakhouse," Mr Telford said.
"Ipswich people have to travel a long way for somewhere like the Brekkie Creek Hotel. We're hoping to change that."
The changes at the Prince Alfred follow the lead of the huge transformation that took place at the Racehorse Hotel - about a kilometre down the road - in 2010 and 2011.
Big Friday night crowds have flocked to the rival venue since it reopened last year, and there's no doubt the PA will be trying to cash in on the boom in business in the area.
The new restaurant will be positioned on the Brisbane Rd end of the Prince Alfred - the space once occupied by the Harry Browns bottle shop and, several years before that, the Swags restaurant.
The full project involves some redesign of the existing Plantations Restaurant and front bar.
"About next February we will be reducing the size of the front bar to make way for the cocktail lounge," Mr Telford said.
"The front bar will keep its TAB and will become more of a sports bar."
Meanwhile, Plantations will score its own dedicated pizza oven.
Management is considering booking live entertainment, however Mr Telford said any live music would be low volume because he was aiming for a casual vibe where people could meet and greet.
"For so long now, people who wanted this kind of thing were used to just travelling into Brisbane," Mr Telford said.
"With this new venue we are aiming to encourage people to stay in Ipswich, because we have got food and entertainment that is just as good - maybe even better."
The PA hopes to have the restaurant ready by December 15.
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