A New Wine Bar, Retail and Creative Hub Is Coming To Highgate
“There’s so much going on in Perth right now.”
In the midst of a busy pre-opening week, hospitality operator Kate Santos is feeling the love for Perth.
“I don’t think people realise how much talent is bubbling away.”
Kate, alongside her business partner Craig Mangini, is about to open Homme: one part Euro-style wine bar, one part retail space, and Highgate’s newest creative hub.
“I think that this level of community is something I haven’t seen in Perth for a long, long time,” Craig adds.
“The relationship we have with Si Paradiso next door, despite having something that’s gonna compete to a certain extent – we have got nothing but love from those guys. Tom’s as well, they great mates of ours.”
Kate is determined to instil a similar sense of community to the younger generation of creatives:
“All these young kids are a little bit disjointed. They know each other and they’ll see each other out, but to have somewhere where they can regularly hang out and interact and collaborate, and having that space where they know other creatives will be… It’s fun and it’s exciting, and it’s nice to give those people a home.”
This is certainly a dining room we’d be happy to hang out in. While it’s had a more unpleasant recent history, the space remains one of Perth’s most beautiful: we can’t stop gazing up at the soaring ceilings decorated with ornate moulding, juxtaposed by large timber panels lending a mid-century flavour.
“I live around here and we just kept driving past. I’m like, ‘I f**king want that site.'”
Craig agrees: “We think it’s probably the most beautiful dining room in Perth.”
“Just completely under utilised for a rotating list of tenants. It hasn’t had the opportunity to be showcased.”
Originally, they intended to use the space for their other business, Upperhand Burgers. While they did transform the rear of the tenancy into an Upperhand (“The laneway’s a little bit darker and night clubby. Much better suited!), the elegance of the room demanded something different.
“I think Ace Pizza did it really well,” Kate adds. “They were a little bit before their time – maybe if they were around now they would be killing it.”
We’re sitting in one of Homme’s large, curved booths, upholstered with a quilted, sage green leather (“This leather is 25 years old, probably. And there was never a thought of replacing it,” Craig tells us). Although the booths and pizza oven remain from the Ace days, they’ll take a more broad approach to their Euro-style menu – utilising the oven not just for the occasional pizza, but for focaccia and wood-fired meats. Talk of share plates includes mention of carpaccio octopus, kingfish ceviche, wagyu, and plenty of charcuterie.
“It’s all about sharing and having an experience.”
“We’re not a pizza restaurant. I think if we hadn’t have inherited the oven, we definitely wouldn’t have bought one. But it is a gift!”
On the drinks front, an always-rotating wine list will be almost entirely available by the glass.
“Wine is heavily rotating, so we’re not staying local, we’re not staying international. We are just gonna buy cool shit that comes along.”
It’s the same approach – “buy cool shit” – that has guided Kate in her curation of the retail offerings. Vintage designer luggage sits alongside streetwear, skincare, sneakers, homewares, skateboards. Here, lime green acrylic shelving and a mammoth marble counter create a more contemporary tilt to the rest of the room.
In the corner, a barber set up is ready for trade two days a week, with the hope that a tattoo artist can also work out of the space one day a week (“Obviously there’s logistics with that!”)
“I’d love people to be sitting on their laptops at lunchtime working for a couple hours, meeting and networking.”
“It’s meant to be a space for people, not just a transactional wine bar or lunch spot.”
Homme is located at 448 Beaufort Street, Highgate, is is scheduled to open on Thursday, November 10.