Perth’s warm days and balmy nights are perfectly suited to after-hours bar hopping. Here's where to find the city's best cocktails in the coolest surrounds.
By Fleur Bainger
Dozens of small bars have opened in Perth in recent times, many of them dedicated to bringing a new level of cocktail sophistication to the West Australian capital. While you can find all the classic mixes, from martinis to negronis, it pays to be a little more adventurous, trying original creations that come with a speared marshmallow, or even a mini burger on top. Here's where.
Soft leather seats, worn timber tables and a long bar illuminated by copper light shades fill the ground floor of this 100-year-old flour mill in the city centre. Lean on that gorgeous bar and order yourself a gin martini – The Flour Factory has the city’s largest gin collection, including Tanqueray on tap. As the night progresses, take the stairs up to The Sherry, an intimate cocktail bar of distressed brick, vertical gardens and a breezy, open-air terrace.
Styled on a 1950s lounge bar, this underground venue is beneath the luxury hotel, COMO the Treasury. Take the twisted staircase down to a realm of svelte velvet chairs, gold fixtures and multicoloured theatre lighting. Ordering the eponymous cocktail is a must – the Halford is a mix of tanqueray gin, prosecco, lemon and lavender. Halford tends to get busiest at the end of the night, when its crayfish and salmon roe toastie tastes sweetest.
This is a sophisticated lounge where the mocktails are as good as the cocktails, and the staff are friendly no matter what you order. Tucked into the Brookfield Place bar and restaurant precinct on the Swan River side of the central city zone, Bar Lafayette is an old world French-inspired space filled with leather armchairs, chesterfield lounges and alfresco seating that suits Perth's summer evenings. Order the Dark Berry Smash, blended with cognac and garnished with fresh mint.
The cocktail whizzes at Mechanics Institute shake and stir all sorts of goodies, but espresso martinis remain the most requested drink on the list. Twice winner of the Best Small Bar in Perth award, this rooftop haunt is accessed via a street art splashed laneway that veers away from the Perth Cultural Centre, at the cul-de-sac mouth of James Street in Northbridge. A bonus: directly below the bar is Flipside, a burger joint that shares the same owners and will deliver upstairs. Order the Epic Bloody Mary to combine burger and beverage – it’s a drink with benefits.
Not easy to find, Helvetica is hidden down a laneway off Howard Street, itself a narrow street off St Georges Terrace in the main business district of central Perth. As you wander down Howard Lane, look up to see twin industrial chandeliers and then catch the street art characters sprayed by Perth artist Stormie Mills on the walls. Whisk(e)y is what they do best at Helvetica, but the cocktail list will likely sway you towards alternative libations. Flick to the house creations list and consider the Caterpillar Moustache, which teams Wild Turkey rye, lemon juice, lavender, and creme de violette, while the Bull Fighter presents chilli infused El Jimador, cacao, demerera, mole bitters and chocolate.