Perth WA guide the standard bar garden kitchen

Perth playground | 10 reasons to go West

Cool, understated elegance that belies inner sparkle and sizzle.

In Perth for this year’s International Arts Festival, Susan Skelly found a city busting out with new infrastructure projects and top-notch food and drink. Here’s what’s up and coming.

1. Northbridge is getting ready for its close-up as the $5.3b Perth City Link project works to bury the railway line and bus station underground, and push the city seamlessly north. Once on the seedy side, the area is tidying up its act to become a drawcard for laneway bars, good coffee and standout food.

2. Alex Hotel (50 James Street), with its 74 rooms, a groovy fit-out and elegant bronze cut-out screen exteriors, is due to open next month. OUT: minibar, room service and gym. IN: honour bar with local wine, cycle fleet, plenty of books. Immediate surrounds include an edgy restaurant, a juice joint, a rock’n’roll dive bar, a tea room and an art installation in the entrance laneway. From $250.

Perth WA guide alex hotel northbridge

All gleam and good looks: the new Alex Hotel in Northbridge. Photo courtesy the Alex Hotel

3. From the Bell Tower, watch the $2.6b Elizabeth Quay taking shape. When finished (much of it this spring), EQ will be an “intimate inlet” (next to the Barrack Street Jetty) with a quirky pedestrian bridge and water park, all surrounded by residential buildings and a Ritz hotel. The development has a $4m public art budget. (In Perth, all development must allocate one per cent of its budget to public art.)

4. A luxurious 48-room boutique hotel on the corner of Barrack and St Georges Terrace, with six-star fit-out by Kerry Hill Architects, opened in October. Called Como The Treasury, it’s Singapore’s Como Hotels and Resorts’ entry into Australia’s hotel market. The $102m project incorporates the renovated Treasury buildings. Instead of a lobby (once the GPO), its entrance is public thoroughfare with retail, cafes, craft beer bar, cocktail bar, barbershop and chocolatier.

5. The Standard Bar Garden Kitchen (28 Roe Street, Northbridge) just might have the best bar food in town. Chase Weber brings fine-dining sensibilities to the bar – beef carpaccio with pea sprouts and wasabi cream, chicken parfait in brik pastry cigars, raspberry pannacotta with horseradish crumble, and a lemonade foam science experiment. John Parker has turned a one-time card club for locals into a casual creative space. It has glass-brick features, high stools, cool carpentry, a courtyard with tubs of flowers and trees, and a fairy-lit deck atop a shipping-container bar with city views.

Perth-WA-guide-the standard bar garden kitchen rooftop

Courtyard at Perth’s Standard Bar Garden Kitchen. Photo courtesy Standard Bar Garden Kitchen

6. The Leederville Food Safari is admittedly a slightly off-beat idea. Rickshaws? Really? But it’s a good way to connect three dining experiences with ease as a visitor in an unfamiliar city. Start at Ria, a Malaysian eatery, get carried off to Kitsch Bar Asia for mains (the Red Rickshaw cocktail is mandatory), and end at Foam Coffee Bar for “rawlicious” dessert balls.

7. The Terrace Hotel (237 St Georges Terrace) is located among the West End’s corporate heavyweights, heritage buildings, and food and drink hot spots, notably Brookfield Place featuring subterranean Choo Choo’s, Trustee Bar & Bistro and Print Hall. The hotel’s cruisy Rear Bar has crystal chandeliers and a mahogany bar clouted in brass rivets. From $269.

Perth WA guide the terrace hotel mahogany bar

The impressive mahogany bar at Perth’s Terrace Hotel. Photo Paul Pichugin

8. Whether it’s small bars, big history, tall stories, progressive dinners or – new to the portfolio – bike tours of Rottnest Island, Two Feet & a Heartbeat deliver. Owner Ryan Zaknich knows his city and he and his team still get a kick out of sharing knowledge.

9. The State Theatre Centre of WA. Find something to watch here, especially in the Heath Ledger Theatre, a beautiful space by Kerry Hill Architects. The wood is awesome and the seats are linen with their numbers embroidered on.

10. Perth by David Whish-Wilson is one in the admirable collection of personal capital-city “biographies” published by NewSouth. He captures Perth’s beauty, history and bounce. Good for reference and R&R.

Source Qantas the Australian Way, April 2015

Your turn: Come on sandgropers, what do you love about Perth? 


Editor. Writer. Traveller. Keeping tabs on all things fab.

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Copyright © Susan Skelly 2020.