Where to wet your whistle in this blue-skied city made for laidback libations… in other words, find the best venues for food and wine in Perth that the locals know and love.
Thanks to a number of experienced operators, passionate sole traders and family business outfits wanting to do things differently, Perth’s drinking scene has improved vastly in recent years. Where there were once mostly large pubs and clubs, there is now a diverse array of small bars and entertainment venues with real hospitality finesse. From new-wave wine bars and rooftop hangouts to old-school pubs and urban craft breweries, these spots will not only satisfy a thirst, they’ll take you right across the city – to its famous beaches, charming suburbia and vibrant inner city.
Good news for wine drinkers: Perth has an undeniable love of grape juice. A flurry of recent openings has set the focus firmly on natural and new-wave wines, with ground zero being Wines of While. This 50-seat wine bar and store has previously worn the crown, Bar of the Year by Gourmet Traveller, and it’s not hard to see why. A casual setting, gluggable wines and simple Mediterranean food make for a sunny alfresco afternoon well spent. That’s joined by Madalena’s Bar, South Fremantle’s resident low-intervention wine and seafood boteco, where basically everything is local.
In the city centre, Petition, Tiny’s Liquor Emporium, Shadow Wine Bar and Lalla Rookh Wine Store all offer expertly selected international wines.
Visiting neighbourhood wine joints is a great way to get to know suburban Perth and local people; head to Subiaco’s Juanita’s, Mount Lawley’s old-world-inspired Le Rebelle, Bayswater’s King Somm, Wembley’s Mummucc’ and West Leederville’s brand-new Besk.
Drink and dance
When the dancefloor is calling, go direct to Highgate’s Si Paradiso. It’s an Italo-Australian all-day drinking, dining and dancing venue with a large open-air auditorium that hosts regular DJs and live music alongside their banging house band, The Love Endeavour. From one of the same owners comes El Grotto in Scarborough, a Mexican-inspired cocktail bar and taqueria where the music is loud and live.
Meanwhile, North Fremantle institutions Mrs Brown and Mojos Bar have been supplying the south with libations and live music for a combined 30-plus years. Then there’s the entertainment roster at Freo.Social, a 900-person live-music venue housed in the port city’s heritage artillery drill hall.
Pubs new and old
Whether you prefer a no-frills watering hole or the manicured grandeur of refurbished new-wave pubs, Perth won’t disappoint. The Guildford Hotel serves a wide selection of new and old-wave beers, all within a revived heritage-listed building with classic Victorian architecture. Join in on a wildly popular Sunday session at Ocean Beach Hotel – affectionately termed ‘the Obi’ – for no-fuss beers and sunset views over North Cottesloe Beach. North Perth icon Rosemount Hotel has a relaxed beer garden and regular live music downstairs.
Fremantle way, South Beach Hotel, The Local Hotel and The Aardvark all pump with loyal local beer lovers, especially on weekends.
Subiaco newcomer Fenway recently took up the site of a much-loved Boston-Irish pub; here, you can sink into a chesterfield with your choice of beer, be it old-world or craft.
Throwback to the golden era of the suburban pub at The Quarter Acre Hotel in Applecross – it offers rotating tap beers and cocktails made from local craft spirits, as well as a relaxed back courtyard.
For a really contemporary take on the corner pub, beer nerds can’t miss Petition Beer Corner in the CBD; find 18 taps with an ever-changing list of international beers, and fridges full of some of the world’s rarest bottled beers.
Western Australia leads the charge when it comes to Australia’s craft beer industry. No visit to Perth is complete without hitting Little Creatures, the nation’s pioneer of craft-beer brewing. Its family friendly brewery located at Fremantle Port is the perfect location to drink a pale ale or three.
Beyond that, Perth is full of urban brewpubs. East Perth’s Bright Tank Brewing Co, West Leederville’s Nowhereman Brewing Co and Myaree’s Otherside Brewing Co are just a few places to taste handcrafted brews, mostly poured by those brewing them. In Burswood, check out the country’s largest brewpub, The Camfield. Able to hold 2500 people and directly adjacent to Optus Stadium (hint: time your arrival on footy nights carefully), things are based around its very own microbrewery and an enormous bar boasting some 175 taps.
In the warmer months, Perth’s cocktail hour is defined by golden sunlight and a refreshing sea breeze. The best seat in town is at Cottesloe Beach staple Il Lido, which has a thoughtful selection of quality Italian spirits and wines. On offer are $10 negronis between 4pm and 6pm daily, topped off with Indian Ocean views. Just up the road, overlooking Swanbourne Beach, The Shorehouse has an expertly crafted gin tonica menu and a lounge deck taking in the ocean.
Away from the beach, Strange Company’s inventive cocktail list, sophisticated yet casual vibe and charming Fremantle location make it an enduring local favourite.
Over in Maylands, find old-world cocktails and Saturday afternoon jazz at Swallow, an intimate 1920s-inspired neighbourhood bar with a breezy courtyard out the back.
Rooftop refreshments, the last suggestion for food and wine in Perth
Nestled among the heritage rooftops of Northbridge, Mechanics Institute was one of the pioneers of the small-bar scene in Perth, and it’s still shaking some of the city’s best cocktails. In the CBD, Hadiqa and the rooftop bar at QT Hotel are excellent jumping-off points for a night out. Alternatively, lap up 360-degree views and simple beers over Fremantle’s port and pine trees on the top floor of The National Hotel. If you’re looking beyond food and wine in Perth, you can choose your own adventure with help from our expert travel guides.
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