The 2016 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Award finalists have been announced and Perth has shown the nation just how strong we are as contenders!
From hidden lanes in Northbridge, to down windy stairs and outside amongst open gardens, our bars aren’t just great watering holes for our State, they’ve gained recognition at a national level.
Bobeche, nominated for WA Cocktail Bar of the Year, is an early 1900s Parisian carnival bar that focuses on friendly, approachable service alongside great drinks.
The cocktails on offer are heavily influenced by the classics and showcase their base spirits as a priority.
There’s happy hour from 5pm-6pm on days they’re open, which includes pints of draught beer, wines by the glass and house spirits all at $7 each.
The signature cocktails vary depending on the time of year – think hot coconut buttered rum for winter.
But they’re most well known for their ornate teapots (a nod to prohibition) which house group-serve cocktails like the Bobeche iced tea, a creative twist on a long island.
Perfect to enjoy with some small plates from the dining menu like kangaroo tartare, pulled venison and wild citrus croquettes.
Bar Manager Joe Sinagra is a highly seasoned competition bartender that has competed at an international level as well as enjoying success at a national level.
He’s recently been named one of Drinks World Magazine’s Top 25 Australian Bartenders.
Shadow Wine Bar
Opening in May 2015 together with the Alex Hotel, Shadow Wine Bar is a beautiful addition to Northbridge.
The food is steeped in European tradition, suited to enjoy with a beautiful glass of wine from their impressive list of options.
Perched in the heart of the suburb, the dim lighting and elegant décor transports you upon entry.
The team working are friendly and knowledgeable, and always happy to recommend dishes and drinks worth trying.
The shark bay crab spaghettini, veal carpaccio and hiramasa ceviche are my particular favourites – and hard to pass by when visiting.
It’s no wonder Shadow Wine Bar is a finalist in the 2016 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards Best Hotel Bar category with popular drinks including negroni, spritz and vermouth on the rocks.
And of course, the ever-delicious late night manhattans.
Sneaky Tony’s is the creation of Clint Nolan, the man behind other venues such as La Cholita, Pleased to Meet You and Alabama Song.
It’s a hidden bar that offers patrons the opportunity to participate in a cheeky game of espionage, trotting down lanes, knocking on a secret door and calling out the changing password to gain entrance.
Nominated for the Rum Bar of the Year Award, this prohibition speakeasy style venue is a guaranteed good time.
There’s a different cocktail on offer each week, and complementary peanuts to munch on while you sip away on the delectable alcoholic delights.
It’s a unique experience visiting this cosy, dimly lit bar, and for those who fall in love with the location you can choose to subscribe to their cocktail club to gain access to their small batch cocktail of the month.
That Tony might be sneaky, but gosh he’s so much fun too!
Halford is located in the basement Safe Room of the 1897 Titles Office of the newly restored State Buildings.
It’s gloriously rich for all the senses, with it’s contemporary take on the 1950s late night lounge bar.
From the velvet upholstery to the crayfish brioche toasties, every moment there is pure decadence.
The signature cocktail is the Halford Martini, which is an original venue recipe that uses Tanqueray 10 Gin, Lillet Blanc, Apricot Brandy rinse and is garnished with anchovy stuffed olives.
It’s considered a meal in a glass to dedicated punters, and one of the shining successes that has resulted in Halford being nominated for the 2016 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards WA Cocktail Bar of the Year category.
Managers Elise and Riccardo bring so much personality and spark to the bar, and are also the only WA entrants to make it into the preliminary finals for the 42 Below Cocktail Earth Cup, a sustainability focused cocktail competition.
We’re all watching this space to see if they bring home a win after the grand finals in Queenstown, New Zealand later this year.
Chef David Thompson has quite the reputation on an international scale.
His dedication and elevation of Thai cuisine has the world sitting up and taking notice.
So you can imagine how lucky we all felt when he chose Perth as a location to open a street food venue – Long Chim.
The food… is damn spicy – and definitely requires a drink or two to accompany.
From the deep fried fish with three flavoured sauce, to the pad thai and hot & sour chicken wing soup, this is fine dining meets the streets.
Nominated for three different accolades in the 2016 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards, all eyes are on this restaurant which is in it’s first year of trade.
The categories they’re in the running for are Best Bar Food, Cocktail Bar of the Year State Award and Rookie of the Year for staffer James Pennefather.
Whatever the outcome, Long Chim will continue to be hot, hot, hot!
Hearing that The Standard is shortlisted as a finalist for the WA Bar of the Year Award is no surprise!
It’s nestled on the urban border of Northbridge’s creative hub and the CBD, providing a relaxed indoor bar and outdoor garden oasis.
It’s a place with an easy, friendly atmosphere that suits anytime and any occasion.
The food is designed to share, perfect for grazing over a bottle of rose (or two!) in the wine garden.
I wont lie… I’ve systematically made my way through the whole menu now – but luckily for me Chef Chase Weber is a culinary genius and adds to it on the often.
My current obsessions… the beef carpaccio with its soy pearls, the caramelised kangaroo and potato salad.
Oh and of course – the notorious chicken grill, which is a staple you need to try.
Their cocktails come in single size, or can be ordered in a carafe to share with friends.
With summer on the horizon, my pick is their blossom punch cocktail which is a delicate blend of gin, butter vodka, nectarine, verjus, cider and lemon sherbet.
Otherwise for those of you dropping in late at night, I’ve been told cold brew martini is a knockout.
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The Flour Factory
The Flour Factory was born simply by chance thanks to one of our city’s vibrant and beautiful buildings becoming vacant.
And from an opportunity emerged a successful venue that houses a butchery, bakery, rooftop bar The Sherry, top floor function centre and ground floor bar.
With Chef Danny Sanchez heading up the kitchen, the menu is a fusion of a New York deli and Spanish bodega cocktail bar.
Cocktail master Simon Hough leads the bar with a focus on unique fortified wines and gin, alongside notorious bar personality Matt Bodycoate.
It’s particularly impressive that they have their own exclusive and original vermouth served on top – just the right thing to enjoy as an aperitif along with their own house made Tanqueray and Tonic.
The Flour Factory is nominated for the WA Bar of the Year Award, as well as Gin Bar of the Year.
Owner Andy Freeman is shortlisted as Bar Operator of the Year.
They won WA Small Bar of the Year in both 2013 and 2015, as well as Australian Small Bar of the Year in 2015.
So it’s safe to say, Mechanics Institute is no stranger to the spotlight.
This year could be even bigger for them, with nominations in eight different categories: Small Bar of the Year, Bar Manager of the Year (for Dimitri Rtshiladze), National Bar of the Year, WA Bar of the Year, Best Bartenders Bar, Bar Team of the Year, WA Cocktail Bar of the Year and Rookie of the Year (for Mitch Gurrin).
Since springing onto the scene four years ago in 2012, Mechanics can be seen nestled among the heritage rooftops of Northbridge.
The staff are hilarious to engage with, and always quick to suggest a tasty concoction for you to sample – both on and off the menu.
While they don’t have a kitchen on site, you can order Flipside Burgers at the bar and they’ll bring them up to you to enjoy in the cosy inside or on the decking outside.
I definitely recommend taking advantage of Perth’s sunny weather when it returns and enjoying a drink outside.
From day to night, it’s the kind of place that is for everyone. No pretention, no pretence, just damn good times.
Varnish on King
Another of Andy Freeman’s venues, Varnish on King is also in the running for the WA Bar of the Year Award, as well as Small Bar of the Year and Whiskey Bar of the Year.
Created as a venue with a timeless era, it’s a place you can disappear into.
Down the stairs off King St you’ll find yourself in a venue that combines the style of a New York bar with the food and beverage culture of Melbourne.
They have a focus on old world wines and American whiskey, with a researched selection of unique and interesting spirits lining the bars.
Jamie Passmore is the venue’s whiskey aficionado, and brings his expertise to the heritage listed building.
The menu, crafted around seasonal, local produce, is impressive.
Dishes like beef tendon crisps with brown butter and lime, bone marrow with grated venison heart and southern style grits demonstrate the playful and dedicated approach to food.
Venue Name: Varnish on King
Location: 75 King Street, Perth
Hours: Monday-Friday 11.30am-12am, Saturday 4pm-12am
Petition Beer Corner
Nestled in the State Buildings, Petition Beer Corner is more than your average pub.
Elevated by a delectable food menu curated by Petition’s Head Chef Jesse Blake, it’s a place to relax, catch up with friends, or just enjoy the extensive range of beers on offer.
There’s a great deal of thought behind the beverages on offer, with 18 independent taps and a vast list of bottled varieties.
The servers are Cicerone Program Certified, ensuring they’ll help you find just the right beer to suit your personal tastes and the food it’s accompanying.
They’ve been shortlisted for the Best Beer Venue and New Pub of the Year Awards, thanks to their approach in respecting (and highlighting) the brilliant craftsmanship of local and international brewers.
With an ever-changing range on offer, it’s definitely worth stopping by for an afternoon tipple next time you’re in the city.
The Dominion League
Forget the rooftop bars of Perth, The Dominion League’s basement den is where it’s at.
From their cocktails to their outstanding dedication to whiskey, it’s the kind of place that is no muss, and no fuss, which I really like.
It has a fun but relaxed atmosphere which shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
This year they’re shortlisted for WA Cocktail Bar of the Year, Cocktail List of the Year, Whiskey Bar of the Year, and National Cocktail Bar of the Year.
This comes back to back after taking home the Cocktail Bar of the Year award in 2015.
With $15 pub lunches available from 12pm-4pm daily, there’s never been more of an excuse to drop in.
Whether it’s a parmi or pie that you’re craving, enjoy one with a cheeky drink in hand to cheers the playful bartenders at work.
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