From an underground whisky den to breezy coastal gems, Perth’s bars have upped their game in recent years. Here are our top picks. By Zoe Deleuil.
Mechanics Institute Bar
Once you ascend the metal staircase from the rear laneway, you’ll understand why Mechanics Institute Bar has been so popular since it opened in 2012. It’s the prime location, just near the Perth Cultural Centre; a breezy rooftop seating area; and velvet couches amid Scandinavian interiors. It’s easy to settle in for a few hours and if you get hungry, you can order a burger from nearby Flipside and eat it at your table.
222 William Street, Northbridge
Who’s Your Mumma
Just far enough from Freo’s centre to feel like a local haunt, this lamplit bar turns into a mellow party most nights, thanks to the friendly staff and old-fashioned cocktails (pina colada, anyone?). The passing parade on South Terrace provides a lively backdrop to the cool concrete interiors, while the food is all about simple crowd-pleasers, including nachos, burgers and delectable steamed pork buns.
142 South Terrace, Fremantle
Varnish on King
This sophisticated city venue specialises in whisky and has an underground vibe, thanks to the basement setting below high-end King Street. The summer menu features ham hock terrine with cucumber and plum, plus pickled octopus with fennel. Lighter cocktails, such as rye whisky with freshly pressed apple and mint julep, are perfect for the warmer weather.
75 King Street (basement level), Perth
Little Creatures Fremantle Brewery
Its waterside setting, abundant seating and relaxed atmosphere make Little Creatures a perennial favourite for a group get-together. As well as the industrial-style Great Hall, the brewery has a shady deck overlooking the water. Food includes pizzas and chilli mussels – perfect accompaniments to the world-famous beer.
40 Mews Road, Fremantle
Rodney’s Bait ’n Tackle
This charmingly kitsch joint gets busy on Friday nights, when the fish raffle draws a crowd. The bar itself is a lovingly restored 1950s boat and sells bait and tackle for those inspired by the salvaged fishing memorabilia. Sunday jazz, DJs and fine local musicians provide an ever-changing soundtrack to this soulful little place.
598 Stirling Highway, Mosman Park
Petition Wine Bar & Merchant
Billed as a “wine library”, Petition’s bottle shop – which is separate to the main bar – has a few tables where you can drink a takeaway bottle (many of them biodynamic or organic) for a flat $15 mark-up. There’s also a one-page menu with dishes designed to complement the wines.
State Buildings, corner of St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street, Perth
The Rosemount is a classic Australian pub, right down to the steak-special nights and vast beer garden. It’s also one of Perth’s oldest live-music venues, with local, national and international acts passing through its doors. The eclectic crowd travels from all over the city for gigs.
459 Fitzgerald Street, North Perth
With soft lighting, room to move and old-school cocktails, The Standard makes for an instant good mood. The garden area offers a breath of fresh air in the city, while the menu features adventurous ingredients and generous servings: try the excellent charcuterie platter or the caramelised kangaroo with sesame soy custard and pineapple.
28 Roe Street, Northbridge
Coast Port Beach
This newly opened bar, billed as “everybody’s beach house”, is the place to go if you want a view of Western Australia’s pristine coastline to accompany your drinks. Fresh interiors with white-washed bricks and comfy chairs, plus a menu focused on local fish – including excellent beer-battered Spanish mackerel and chips – make Coast the perfect spot for a lazy summer’s afternoon.
42 Port Beach Road, North Fremantle
Live rockabilly, cheeseburgers and leather booths – what’s not to like? Alabama Song is a welcome newcomer to Perth’s bar scene and a great late-night den, with the location – down an alleyway – adding to the slightly illicit feel.
232 William Street, Perth
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