While we love to give you the hot scoop on the all the latest and greatest hospo news – sometimes there’s a spot that’s a bit more of a slow burn.
It took us a while to finally make it to Patio – but that’s perhaps fitting for the relaxed, unpretentious vibes of the bar. This is the Freo pace of life, after all.
“The concept is kind of a non-concept,” co-owner Kim Isaac told us.
“If we’re doing a theme, it’s ‘bar’! We believe Freo really suits small bars. There are so many good ones: Strange Company, Ronnie’s, Nieuw Ruin, Jungle Bird, Mrs Brown, Percy Flint and The Flaming Galah. We want to add to that tapestry but in our way and with our philosophy. Casual, comfortable, independent leaning, a strong music focus and good people.”
Taking over the tucked-away Essex Street location that was once home to X-Wray Café, Patio is about as easy-breezy as they come.
The bar’s namesake patio will be familiar to anyone who visited the former café in its 2010s heyday – although it’s been pared-back and refined, as well as more fully enclosed with crisp white shutters. It remains a delightful spot to while away an afternoon – especially when paired with the minimal-intervention-leaning wine list and easy-drinking aperitifs you’ll find over the bar.
Inside, things are a little more different. The team of owners (Isaac, Max Kordyl and Rhela Belton), undertook most of the fit out themselves with the help of architect Anna Harford of Love-Shack and, as Isaac told us, “the nicest bits of furniture” designed and built by Remington Matters.
As well as local DJs most weekends, a selection of records have been curated by Pat Little of Shari-Vari Records for day-to-day listening.
In a way, this dichotomy typifies the Patio approach. Hand-written menus, timber trestle tables, $10 glasses of sauv blanc and Swannie longnecks on one hand, custom furniture, bougie bottles and dirty martinis on the other. It’s relaxed, but it’s good.
The “all the time” menu is a succinct, snack-focused offering that pairs exceedingly well with a drink. A selection of house-made focaccia, ricotta and giardiniera promises a well-rounded afternoon snack (particularly when accompanied by a juicy, stone fruit-y glass of LS Merchant’s Hoi Polloi orange). Tuck into a couple of meatballs if you need a more substantial offering.
If you keep an eye on their socials, you may also be lucky enough to spy one of their kitchen takeovers, when local cooks are invited to collaborate with the Patio kitchen to bring home-cooked food and family recipes to a wider audience.
Patio is located at 4/3-13 Essex Street, Fremantle.