Drive along High Street, Toowong any given Wednesday night and you’re guaranteed to see a queue stretching 100 meters along the footpath. It’s mostly students from the nearby University of Queensland keen to “get their drink on” at the iconic Royal Exchange Hotel.
This display of determination and loyalty certainly lives up to it’s website statement as “Queensland’s favourite student destination”, but the pub has also benefited from a lack of competition from the nearby Regatta, which was damaged in the January floods.
RE bartender Stephanie Bell says Wednesday night is “RE night. I think every single student in the area is here on Wednesdays!”
Established in 1876 the hotel has a fairly small seating area and on busy nights walking to the bar and back can be a squeeze. However, cheap drinks appeal to the clubbing generation and many says the $8 jugs of beer are the main attraction.
RE regular Abo Minase maintains he is regularly seen at the pub because, “All my friends come here and there are lots of regulars that you make friends with.”
Another patron says she is only at the RE because The Regatta is undergoing a refurbishment.
On Wednesday nights it used to attract similar crowds of university students.
Miss Bell suggests the RE’s popularity stems from, “The laid back feeling. You don’t have to dress up…Everyone’s here for a good time.”
And when asked about dealing with the crowds on a Wednesday night Miss Bell exclaims Wednesday nights are, “Fantastic and a heap of fun,” but also admits, “I’m always on my toes …[it's] a lot of work!”