While Perth doesn’t have winding streets with bars hidden in shipping containers, it does have a group of very brilliant bartenders who are hiding in plain sight.
#1 The Jazz Cellar
Where: Scarborough Beach Road & Buxton Street, Mount Hawthorn
The Jazz Cellar is the ultimate hidden venue. You enter through a phone booth and once in the basement, people and jazz music fill the room wall to wall. Completely BYO, the venue allows patrons to bring any drinks (including spirits) and their own food down to the basement giving it the ultimate home-away-from-home vibe.
Pizzas can be delivered from the joint next door and guests are invited to spend Friday evenings letting the sounds of the Corner House Jazz Band wash over them. Management recently implementing ticketing, which means you don’t need to be queuing outside the phone box at 5:30pm on a Friday.
#2 Varnish on King
Where: 75 King Street, Perth
Varnish on King is tucked away behind an unassuming doorway and down a staircase. The décor is fantastic– it feels fancy but welcoming, high end but not pretentious.
The bar is really well rounded, offering over 200 whiskeys, a large and impressive wine list and a creative food menu featuring tator tots, mac and cheese and chicken wings with popcorn. The food menu is designed around seasonal produce and the drinks are spot on – try the Sazerac.
#3 Sneaky Tony’s
Where: Rear of 28 Roe St, Northbridge
Sneaky Tony’s is a speakeasy so secretive that it requires a password to enter (seek some magic words on their Facebook page), but it’s worth the hassle. Think low lights, wooden features and cool bar staff. Keep your eyes peeled when you’re looking for it – there’s no signage so you could easily walk right past. That is, if there aren’t 75 people lined up to get in on a Friday or Saturday night.
The bar is to rum what Frisk is to gin – an absolute celebration, with over 250 rum varieties. If rum isn’t your thing, the the bar also features cocktails, red wine and white wine on tap. While having wine on tap isn’t the most traditional thing around, Sneaky Tony’s isn’t your traditional bar so it all sort of works. Add a good burger menu to the mix and you’ve found yourself the perfect spot to spend an evening with your pals. Try the Diplomatico Exclusiva, neat.
#4 Ezra Pound
Where: 189 William Street, Williams Lane, Northbridge
Ezra Pound was one of Perth’s first small bars and is a staple of the hospitality scene. Entry is from either Williams or James street, depending on the time of the day and the antique-filled bar is the perfect low-stress venue to slow down the pace. The large bottles of beer are served in brown paper bags and their wine list is small but each drop on offer is carefully curated and easily spoken about by their knowledgable bartenders.
Ezra Pound have recently branched out into backyard parties with flowing food and booze, taking over half of the venue’s adjoining carpark. At a recent event, partygoers said to hell with some bad weather and danced in the rain. Glorious.
Where: Rear 101 St Georges Terrace, Perth
Helvetica is a place that’s hard to find and hard to leave. And really, why would you want to go anywhere when, instead, you can buy a bottle of whiskey (from the 115 varieties available) and store in your own private locker?
The bar is bustling. It’s small, intimate and loud, and you’ll like it that way. As well as whiskeys galore, there’s a well-rounded cocktail list, a host of beers and a 13-or-so deep wine list. Don’t be surprised if you end up spending hours in here – it’s an easy space to get lost in. We just suggest you line your tummy with some of the back-to-basic bar snacks – who said party pies weren’t for grown ups, anyway?
#6 Joe’s Juice Joint
Where: 232 William St, Perth
Joe’s is a hospitality hot spot and between 1:30am and 3am every Friday and Saturday. In these early hours, a gaggle of bartenders will descend down the steps of Joe’s to drink rum and cheap beers and to feast on peanuts; 99% of which end up on the floor.
Joe’s is a great dive bar – there’s loud music, lots of tasty beers and lots of liquor. The service is good, the bartenders are great and if you feel like throwing it down on the dance floor, you can move your way through the crowds of people and let loose. It can get pretty crazy in there, so it’s not for the faint-hearted (or for anyone who’s allergic to peanuts) but it does exactly what it says on the tin – “Dive bar, rock’n’roll, craft beer and har liquor.” Give the Apple Pie Moonshine a try.
#7 Mechanic’s Institute
Where: Rear 222 William Street, Northbridge
While Mechanic’s is well known, it kind of has to make the list of best hidden bars. Down the alleyway that also houses Joe’s, this rooftop bar has been built between two buildings and is one of the most unique spaces in Perth.
The Bloody Marys they serve on a Sunday come complete with a mini burger on the top and their cocktail menu board has seen roughly 150 different drinks grace its surface over the years. It’s loved by pretty much everyone, and the couches inside are as good for winter as the deck outside is for summer.