We scratch the surface on Perth’s hidden gems
Ok Melbourne, you probably think Perth is a snooze-fest, right?
Maybe you’ve never considered visiting, maybe you’ve been and found pretty standard pubs and cafes – but I bet you didn’t experience Perth like a local.
Scratch the surface and find the treasures these hidden bars have to offer, and you’ll be impressed. They might not be on the main drag or the typical go-tos, but it’s true of any city that the locals know the best places to hang out.
So whether you’re ending your day or starting your night, I’ve got some spots to share with you.
First cab off the rank (and while we’re on the subject, make sure you’re not the designated driver) is Ezra Pound.
Ezra Pound as one of Perth’s first small bars on the scene and is still proving popular today with a diverse crowd of liquor-loving clientele.
“everything from suits to pluggers”
The theme is based on the prohibition-era speakeasy, where alcohol had to be hidden in colourful cocktails and bars had to stay low-key (due to being illegal and all)
In addition to the Berry and Rosemary Gin Fizz, there’s a short but eclectic collection of cocktails, all prepared with skill and flair for the discerning drinker.
Ezra Pound has a small but mighty selection of local and imported bottled beers, and the taps host seasonal guests chosen by a passionate and knowledgeable team. If you haven’t tried it before, perhaps start with a longneck of Swan Draught to really get into the local swing.
Location: Williams Lane, Northbridge
Mon to Thurs 3pm – 12am
Fri & Sat 1pm –12am
Sunday 1pm – 10pm
Vibe: Speakeasy, low-key
Shy John is newer on the scene and mixes two of the greatest things in life – Yum Cha and craft beer. It’s a brewery right in the heart of the city and it will not disappoint beer fans.
Kick-start your visit with some crispy salmon skins and a Beer Dragon Paddle where you’ll get 5 tasters of their house brews, plus one feature cider.
Start at the top of the Dragon Paddle and work your way down until you find your favourite, then browse the menus and settle in to treat to your tastebuds.
Shy John is a brewery, but the other beverage offerings are enough to cater to any non-beer drinkers in your friend circle without them feeling like second-class citizens.
The food is nothing like your typical brewery “dude food” with a distinctly Asian character, so whether you just need some “beer mates” to go with your drinks or you’re in for a meal – there’s everything from tofu to toothfish.
Location: Horseshoe Lane, Yagan Square, Perth City
Speciality: Craft Beer
Fri & Sat 11am - Late
Sun to Thurs 11am - 10pm
Vibe: Brewery & Yum Cha
Hola! Welcome to Perth. If you have a love of all things Mexican, make sure you check out Caballitos (Little Horse) on Queen Sstreet, where tequila is considered a way of life.
No wonder they know everything there is to know about the cactus spirit! If you know your reposado from your añejo you’re going to have a good time at Caballitos.
Try a Largerita – it’s a frozen margarita + beer combo that you won’t find anywhere else. There’s even a selection of shared cocktails available for two or three amigos. And if the tequila starts to take its toll, you can always try some tacos.
Location: Basement level, Queen Street, Perth City
Monday to Thursday - 4pm - 1am
Friday & Saturday - 4pm - 2am
Vibe: Mexican (not Tex-Mex – actual Mexican)
The Flour Factory is three floors of old flour mill in the heart of the city. Their focus is gin, which you can see straight away from their impressive back bar collection of over 100 local and international gins. Gin-lovers will not be dispirited by the extensive offerings at here.
You can even spin the gin wheel (say that after a couple of gins) to spark your imagGINation. We tried the Sloe Black Betty (Bramble Am) which you can see in the video.
We loved it! And not just for the sweet sensation, but the because a Blackberry Bramble is a classic cocktail, named with an obvious nod to a rock and roll banger.
There’s an intelligent menu showcasing the finest local produce so you can sip until supper or slip up to Sherry (the rooftop bar) to make the most of a balmy Perth night.
Location: Queen Street, Perth City
Monday to Friday 12pm – 12am
Saturday 4pm – 12am
Vibe: Historic modern (it’s literally an old flour factory)
Find a nook in the decadently renovated Perth Technical School and set your cocktail-loving heart on fire at Bar Lafayette, underneath the CBD at Brookfield place.
The extensive cocktail list here, forged by mix masters goes from time travelled classics to hall of famers and encompasses everything in between. There’s also an impressive wine list, interesting beer menu and some carefully crafted mocktails if you’re not getting into the spirit.
Try the Bourbon pork sliders while you soak in the lush surrounds and browse a back bar whiskey collection that’d flip a Scot’s kilt.
It’s a great meeting point due to it’s proximity to the Elizabeth Quay train station and the perfect place to start or finish your night.
Location: Lower George’s lane, Brookfield Place, Perth City
Monday to Thursday 4pm - 12am
Friday 2pm - late
Saturday 4pm - late
Vibe: Old world cocktail bar
There we have it. Some very not-so-boring bars brought to you by Perth locals - who know to look down laneways and browse basements to uncover the best places to wet your whistle in the city.
Whose round is it?