From Old Faves To New Winners: A Tidy 28 Of Perth’s Best Bars
From hidden-away listening bars to pumping pubs, we’ve attempted the oh-so-arduous task of narrowing down our favourite drinking holes across Perth.
At first unassuming, a second look makes it clear why this itty-bitty Swanbourne bar has been creating such a buzz. Vinotto’s drinks are curated by Caitlin Johnston, and hit just about every corner of Europe – in vibe, if not strictly in provenance. At the pint-sized pass, Head Chef Justin Scarvaci is serving up snacks that truly deliver – we’re yet to find a miss amongst the heavy hitters.
2/137 Claremont Crescent, Swanbourne
When we first wrote about Casa, they had zero posts, yet four thousand-odd Instagram followers… if that doesn’t tell you the level of anticipation, we don’t know what will. Unsurprisingly, Casa has been an instant hit – and with good reason, dishing up a menu that is both contemporary and nostalgic, influenced by Italy as well as touching on Mexican and classic French flavours. The duck liver parfait eclair may already be on its way to becoming an all-time classic.
399 Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn
La Madonna Nera
Offering a delightfully intimate dining experience, La Madonna Nera is pairing some truly delectable libations with a snack game that’s hard to beat. Nuovo-Italian vibes abound, both on the plate and in the glass – and if you hit them up between 4 and 6pm on Friday and Saturday arvos, and you’ll be able to get your hands on some seriously good bites for their aperitivo hour.
1/155 Scarborough Beach Road, Mount Hawthorn
While Naber’s backyard bar IIII is all disco fun, we think inside is really where it shines – despite the sultry, intimate date night vibes. An ever-changing roster of small plates showcase local produce, with an approach that’s kind of fine dining, kind of casual, and completely unique. As well as some twists on classic cocktails, snacks like the cheeky pig on toast – succulent, jammy and decadent – are practically pornographic.
148 Oxford Street, Leederville
The paint’s barely dried but we’re already calling it: Astral Weeks is our new favourite haunt, and Perth’s first ever listening bar. As well as a considered drinks list, the star of the show is their hi-fi system, lovingly hand-built to showcase their immense vinyl collection.
Shop 12/60-66 Roe Street, Northbridge
Wines Of While
We do dither on about Wines Of While a lot, and the fact it’s basically impossible to find a seat just an hour after they open every day is testament to its popularity. Known for impeccably-sourced natty wines and alfresco dining in the sun up the top of William Street.
458 William Street, Northbridge
If like us, you were feverishly anticipating something replacing the beautiful space at the top of William Street that used to be Meat Candy (RIP) – Vincent Wine has more than delivered since opening. Bringing the Euro vibes even when we couldn’t travel, their wine list is 200-strong with a focus on France, along with plenty of homegrown specialties. Grab a seat in the courtyard in the late afternoon sun, a couple of glasses of wine, and some snacks to enjoy as you let the day slip into night.
465 William Street, Northbridge
Already one of Perth’s best spots for a bev, Picabar has truly levelled up with an expanded outdoor decking area and bar, and even a now-unearthed fireplace inside. Somehow they’ve managed to lose none of their old charm, whilst upgrading everything to make it one of, if not the best watering holes in Northbridge.
51 James Street, Northbridge
While their front bar is loud and proud on Roe Street, the Standard‘s leafy courtyard – tucked away between the train line and Chinatown – finding is like stumbling onto an urban oasis. Their cocktails are appropriately tropical, while their delicious eats will keep you fuelled for the night ahead.
28 Roe Street, Northbridge
Sipping on a Negroni down Ezra‘s laneway is an unparalleled treat. The laneway tables are the perfect spot to set up camp with a couple of mates, and maybe even enjoy a cheeky bowl of pasta from neighbouring fave Francoforte.
Williams Lane, 189 William Street, Northbridge
They might be taking a breather while they wait for the city to return to full capacity, but that doesn’t mean we’ll leave out Willi’s. A revamp of The Royal’s ground floor venue, Willi’s emerged victorious into the tail end of 2021. Their menu manages to be both decadent and precise, yet relaxed – while their wine list, curated by wine director Daisy Case, is robust.
531 Wellington Street, Perth
Le Rebelle has been raising the bar since opening their doors in 2019 with their contemporary take on the French bistro – so the opening of their sister venue just down the road is cause for significant celebration. Bar Rogue boasts the same attention to detail, high quality produce and star service, but with a more laissez-faire approach characterised by no bookings and a “snacky” menu that deftly jumps between continents.
515 Beaufort Street, Highgate
Opening in September, Parley has become a fast favourite of Mount Pleasant locals with a boutique wine list and decadent bar snacks – think house made chicken liver parfait served with sourdough and pickles, or Fremantle octopus alongside cannellini bean purée and a spicy nduja oil.
The Precinct, 893 Canning Highway, Mount Pleasant
Clarences Company Store
The closure of beloved Beaufort Street drinking hole Clarences in 2019 was a devastating loss to locals – and seemed to be a dire sign for Mount Lawley’s future. Like a phoenix, the 2021 saw the iconic small bar rise from the ashes – bringing the same good vibes with a new, jazzy, New Orleans-inspired flavour.
566 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
There’s obviously something in the water in Doubleview, and with the opening of these great small bars… Maybe we should be moving? Another significant enticement to the area is cosy neighbourhood spot, The Corner Dairy. Easy, breezy; a dependable drop-in. That’s the vision for the Corner Dairy – and one we’re pretty keen on, especially when paired with that sunny alfresco and their interesting selection of wines.
260 Woodside Street, Doubleview
To put it simply, Percy Flint’s is an absolute treat. A small bar and eatery (and sister venue to Picabar), they do some bang up pub fare (parmis, steak sandwiches) as well as some more small-bar-high-brow options, plus a tidy little rotating wine list. Whatever you get, it’s best enjoyed while the South Freo sun slowly sets on a warm Sunday afternoon – whether you’re in the courtyard or watching the world go by out the front.
211 South Terrace, South Fremantle
Juanita’s is a bar with character. Around for yonks, afternoon drinks at the warm and welcoming neighbourhood favourite have become a fixture for locals, rain or shine (although a bit of shine doesn’t hurt). Head there for a top selection of eats that pair perfectly with a few drinks out the front, all while your pooch captures the hearts of anyone walking past.
341 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
A stylish new bar from the team behind North Freo’s Mrs Brown and Propeller, (as well as Northbridge haunt Mechanic’s Institute) St Brigid is already a favourite for locals. It’s got all the winning elements from their previous ventures, including a sunny and chic courtyard designed by Finespun Architects – but most importantly, a warm and welcoming vibe.
Image via Finespun
257 Scarborough Beach Road, Doubleview
The Maylands-based masters of pinot and pizza, King Somm is a ripping neighbourhood bar and has a wonderful little courtyard to boot. Their bottleshop is stacked with handpicked delights to drink in it or at home: “Lo-fi, small batch, natural, new world, old world, local, international, vegan…whatever the label, as long as the wine is of exceptional quality and delicious, we will drink it (and sell it, of course!).”
13 King William Street, Bayswater
It’s hard to go past Si’s stunning amphitheatre, which will transport you to the Amalfi coast with not only their décor, but love of fine wine. It can be easy to lose a day here, sipping on wines and dining on delicious breads and pizza in the afternoon, before switching into Italo disco mode when the sun goes down.
1/466 Beaufort Street, Highgate
A favourite haunt for some of Perth’s best chefs on their days off, Mummucc’s sparse layout, friendly atmosphere and elegantly simple menu all set the scene for you to really indulge in your love of wining and dining. Their wine list is extensive yet curated – and the all-knowing staff are always happy to thoughtfully guide you. Bring your tasting cap!
46/56 Grantham Street, Wembley
Another Perth Is OK pleasure, it’s hard to resist the South Freo sun combined with the Madalena’s staff’s relaxed vibe. Don’t mistake the casual vibe for a lack of knowledge however; they know their wines, and will find you the exact right drop you’re looking for to go with their delicious seafood offerings. As well as the more food-focused downstairs, they’ve recently expanded to include an upstairs bar – with more cocktail offerings, they’re ready for you to dance the night away.
406 South Terrace, South Fremantle
If you like your drinks drenched in history, Foxtrot Unicorn in the CBD is the place to be. Chesterfield couches, hundred-year-old WA surveyor maps and even vintage spirits await in this beautiful basement venue. Their ethos is simple: “Good booze. Better times.”
101 St. Georges Terrace (Basement Level), Perth
Not content to just dominate the CBD bar game, the team behind Foxtrot Unicorn has expanded into Fremantle with the highly-anticipated opening of Nieuw Ruin. A 300-bottle list of “weird wines”, high-brow pub fare on the menu, all within a charming, classically Freo cottage? We reckon it’s a recipe for success.
12 Norfolk Street, Fremantle
Conveniently just across the road from the West Leederville train station you’ll find Besk, a bar, restaurant and killer bottleshop all in one. Co-owned by one of the blokes behind Mane Liquor, their booze selection is unmatched around Perth, with a rotating seasonal menu and chilled vibes year-round. While their behind-the-bar selections are always on-point, you can always grab something from the bottleshop to drink while you hang there too!
264 Railway Parade, West Leederville
Rodney’s Bait & Tackle
Just quietly, there’s a bit of a small bar revolution going on in Mosman Park, and we reckon the success of the seafaring Rodney has a lot to do with it. Combined with Samsons Paddock and O Brother next door, there’s much to love about this area just across the road from the traino. But it’s hard to resist the lure of Rodney’s relaxed vibe, incredible maritime décor and simple snack options – and you can’t forget the famous Friday Fish Raffle.
598 Stirling Highway, Mosman Park
The gang behind Hoodburger just can’t miss – and as well as the addition of Applecross and Mandurah stores, 2021 also saw the expansion of their Inglewood store to include a neighbouring wine bar, 848. As well as some fashionably low-intervention wines, you can enjoy a select menu of cured meats, cheese, olives and bread – plus their signature burgs, of course.
848 Beaufort Street, Inglewood
Tucked away on a quiet street, just moments from the main cafe strip – it’s a tiny pirate bar! If you’re looking for an entertaining location to enjoy your cocktails, then Darling Darling is the place. As soon as you push aside the curtains at the door, it feels like you’ve stepped into the belly of a pirate ship – there’s ropes hanging on the walls, a ship’s wheel at the entrance, and candles dripping pools of wax onto tables. The cocktails are simple and delicious, with offerings like a classic dark and stormy, or a Dutch East Indies Tea (gin infused with Earl Grey Tea).
36 Henry Street, Fremantle
Header image: Foxtrot Unicorn
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