If you’ve pulled into a few closeouts at Scarborough beach or just spent a day on the sand in the past few years, there’s a good chance you’ve grabbed a coffee before or after at Oska Tallis’ Livid Skate Cafe.
From its early days as a skateboard-filled hole-in-the-wall to its current form with The Fishbowl Gallery next door celebrating local artists and photographers, it’s as part of the Scarborough furniture nowadays as Bondy’s equally hated and loved hotel just up the road.
And now Tallis has expanded his empire with Kokomo’s by Livid, continuing to celebrate skate culture and the photography, live music and art that surrounds it, and the latest edition to the FOMO Freo precinct.
We caught up with Tallis (the smiling bloke in the photo above) to find out a little more about the birth of Livid’s new little sibling, what plans he has instore for the place, and if the Freo crowd have been welcoming of a dirty Scarbs northerner (hint: they have been):
Congratulations on Kokomo’s, your second cafe now after Livid, can you tell us a little about how it came to be?
Kokomo’s first came about in mid-2020, think peak COVID, we’d actually just reopened the cafe in Scarborough after being closed due to early COVID worries. Earlier that year I’d visited Japan for the first time and coming from an architectural background was blown away. Bloody loved the place – their use of small spaces and the feeling created in these made a real impression and was something that stuck with me upon visiting the new site. I gave myself a little brief which was essentially, “How much can we pack into this little corner?”
Design work started and initial concepts followed by delay after delay just to get going. It was originally meant to open late 2020, obviously COVID had other plans but let’s forget about COVID… I ended up taking on the build with the help of some great friends last year and plugged away dealing with isolations, delays, material delays and so on. It feels great to be open now and have people come in and enjoy the space. The delays to be honest meant I had some extra time to brainstorm all the little things. It’s been a journey but one I’ve learnt a lot from and am stoked I stuck with.
What were a few lessons you’ve learnt running Livid for the past few years that you were able to put into action with Kokomo’s?
There’s a fair few of these I tell ya. I think the main thing was to build something that would make it easier to do what we do. Think built-in PA, toilets to satisfy licensing, a rad bar space to work and service the indoor and alfresco area, a decent kitchen space and storage! I think Livid has taught me to just have a go and follow your instinct, do what makes you happy and persist. Put it out there and see what happens. Give a fuck while not really giving a fuck.
Kokomo’s is obviously not just across the road from one of Perth’s best beaches, so what’s the vibe?
Yeah Scarbs is for sure a little different to the Port City. Each have their own charm and unique characters. Freo has always been a special place for me – growing up listening to my dad play music in the many venues that make up Freo’s vibrant nightlife, to be honest inspired what I do at the Scarborough Cafe. The vibe is pretty obvious when you walk in. We are a skate brand that celebrated the many cultures that surround what we do. Whether it be skateboarding, photography, art and music. It’s what we do. You’ve gotta start your day the right way so delicious coffee and tasty toasties, wraps and bagels are what we aim to help make your day a good one however we can.
Which suppliers are you using for beans, and besides coffee what else are you serving up at Kokomos?
Dimattina look after us with their delicious beans and we’re serving up a selection of toasties, wraps, croissants and bagels (for now).
I know you’ve got a liquor license in the works, once it comes through are you looking at a cafe-by-day, small-bar-by-arvo/night kinda deal?
Yeah that’s the idea! Over the past four years of having the cafe we’ve run a bunch of small intimate music events inside the cafe (as well as some rather larger ones in the laneway). These events were originally inspired by music nights my dad was running , funnily enough around the corner at the old Fly by Night and shortly after upstairs at Ronnie Nights. Music nights where there are open discussions between songs, laughter and good times…
The real things in terms of the community we’ve built with Livid over the years are yet to come I believe. In the musical department I think the “vibe” will be the people that accomodate the space that’s there. I guess we intend to blur the lines of a “cafe” in a sense. I can’t see a reason to not have live music on in the middle of the day. It’s Freo baby!
How has that Freo community welcomed a Scarborough local to the area so far?
They’ve been pretty gentle. I won’t lie, it was probably the one thing that concerned me the most when I first looked at doing Kokomo’s. Scarborough was my backyard so opening there made complete sense. I thought about it a lot, spoke to a bunch of friends who are the self-proclaimed “Mayors of Freo”, “Gatekeepers” and “Port Authorities” and they all gave me the permission to cross the river…
In all seriousness the community has been all welcoming and lovely. Been a lot of love and we intend to return the love in what we do.
Aside from serving booze in the future, what else have you got planned for Kokomos?
Once Kokomo’s kicks off in the afternoon’s / evenings we’ll be serving up tapas and charcuterie boards to accompany a select beer/wine/spirit selection as well as some classic cocktails!
Kokomo’s by Livid is on the corner of Henderson and William St in Fremantle, and is open 7am-2pm daily.
Image Credit: DG Imagery