Best pubs in Queensland: The story behind the silver mugs

Built in 1908, Warwick Hotel on Palmerin St is one of the Rose City's oldest dining establishments.
Built in 1908, Warwick Hotel on Palmerin St is one of the Rose City's oldest dining establishments. Sophie Lester

AT THE Warwick Hotel, they take the phrase 'Last Drinks' to the extreme.

A time-honoured practice of passing down the silver mugs remains embedded in the culture of the establishment, formerly known as the Imperial Hotel.

Many years ago, the silver mugs were the centrepiece of the main bar, and were waiting for their rightful owners to drink from them after a hard day's work.

These mugs were engraved with their patron's name, the true sign of a community pub.

The mugs have been passed down through each publican over the past century, and have quite the interesting story attached to them.

When a drinking mate would pass away, a priest would come to the Imperial, and fire a bullet through the bottom of the mug, so that nobody could drink from it again.

The family would then be given the mug as a keepsake, a symbol of the important role that the Imperial played in the lives of residents.

The significant silver cups at the Warwick Hotel.
The significant silver cups at the Warwick Hotel. Sean Teuma

The structure of the Warwick Hotel as we know it today dates to 1908.

It has become synonymous with history and tradition, as well as a strong community feel.

Owner James O'Hagan and wife Bridget owned a hotel in Tannymorel, before moving to Warwick and renting a premise.

They exchanged that for the old Imperial Hotel, however the O'Hagans yearned for the farm life, moving back to Tannymorel to live on a large farm.

Mr O'Hagan was lured back to town once more, demolishing the Imperial Hotel and erecting the new two-storey structure in 1908.

This grand new building featured a man bar, bar parlours, sample room, a laundry and a kitchen.

Further to this, the introduction of 20 horse stalls and 20 buggy houses topped off the immaculate design, costing more than 5000 pounds.

Today, the history remains ingrained into the Warwick Hotel.

Manager Dan Watt said links to the foundations of the old Imperial Hotel continued to add character to the venue.

"The pub maintains the feel of the older times, and encapsulates the rich past associated with the hotel,” Mr Watt said.

"The old-style theme is something different that you don't see a lot of today.

"From the steel-pressed ceilings through to the cellar and the fireplaces, the Warwick Hotel keeps the over 100-year old tradition alive.”

Topics:  best pubs queensland heritage imperial hotel warwick queensland pubs southern downs

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