Bar Crawl Through Perth’s Inner North

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PERTH | I recently visited Perth for a weekend, and accompanying me was fellow City Lane contributor Jeff, on his first trip to Perth in 15 years. I might live in Melbourne but I’m still a proud Western Australian and I was excited to be able develop a Perth bar crawl to showcase the city’s inner north, my favourite part of the city. Perth’s small bar scene was in its infancy when I left in 2009, with the laws to allow small bars having only just been introduced. Almost 10 years on and Perth’s bar scene is unrecognisable. Today there are numerous quality establishments offering quality drinks to those looking for a fun yet responsible time.

The inner north is one of the best places to go on a Perth bar crawl, with a mixture of old institutions, pubs, and new bars on offer, along with plenty of fantastic places to eat too. This bar crawl starts in Mount Lawley, and finishes up in Northbridge, and offers a great selection of venues for those who are visiting Perth, or those who live there. Assuming that you stick to one alcoholic drink per venue, with a glass of water at each one too, this should take you about 10-11 hours.

The Perth bar crawl starts on Beaufort Street in Mount Lawley at Caboose, one of Perth’s top craft beer venues. Caboose offers 11 rotating taps of interesting beers, a focused selection of quality Australian wines, and some tasty bar food. It’s located behind the pub ‘The Flying Scotsman’, and is perfect for making sure you’ve had a good feed before starting the day’s activities. After this, it’s a short walk down to Five Bar, a relaxed space with fantastic wines and cocktails, eight rotating craft beer taps, and tasty food.

Next are two of the stalwarts of Perth’s drinking scene in Highgate – The Queens and The Brisbane Hotel. The Queens was built in 1889 and extensively renovated in 1986. It’s a contemporary pub with a decent selection of drinks, consistently reliable food, and a fantastic outdoor area where you can watch the world go by. After this is the longest walk of the bar crawl, a 9 minute stroll down to the Brisbane. The Brisbane was built in 1898 and renovated to its current state in 2004. The renovations have aged well, and the venue feels contemporary yet traditional – grab one of the outdoor tables if you can as they’re the best spots in the venue.

After this it’s time to leave Beaufort Street and head over to William Street, Northbridge to 399 Bar. It’s a super laid back, totally unpretentious spot that’s owned by the same people who own Five Bar and offers a great selection of interesting beer, wine and cocktails that will keep everyone on the bar crawl happy. Next is hidden laneway bar Ezra Pound, which was one of the first small bars to open in Northbridge back in 2009. This cozy spot has stayed at the top its game by getting the important things right – great service and atmosphere and fantastic drinks, especially cocktails.

Following Ezra Pound it’s time to cross the road into an unmarked alleyway behind William Street and up a set of stairs. It’s here you’ll find the Mechanics Institute, a rooftop bar with a focus on great tunes, beer, wine, cocktails, spirits, and staff who really know their stuff. Seated inside or out, it’s one of the best small bars in Perth. By now you’re probably getting quite hungry, and a few minutes back up William Street is Baby Mammoth. The food here merges the owner’s South African and Malaysian backgrounds to great effect – try the pulled pork donuts and the biltong popcorn. The drinks focus is on quality craft beer, but there are also fantastic wines, cocktails and spirits too.

By now the sun has gone down so it’s time to move into nighthawk mode. Sneaky Tony’s is a prohibition-era themed rum bar and one of Perth’s most hidden. Head to Nicks Lane, between James Street and Roe Street until you find the unmarked alleyway that runs off the lane. See that door leading into what looks like a shed in front of the back of a building? That’s where you need to go. Ring the doorbell and respond with the password (available on Sneaky Tony’s Facebook page) and you’ll be transported back in time. There are a lot of great drinks here, but you’ve got to check out the extensive rum selection.

Moving on to the home stretch, you need to head back to the alleyway where Mechanics Institute is. A bit further up you’ll find an open door with stairs that lead up and down. Upstairs is Alabama Song, a bar influenced by the USA’s deep south with the requisite music and paraphernalia. There’s over 120 different types of bourbons, whiskies and ryes on offer here, and staff are very knowledgeable. Downstairs is dive bar Joe’s Juice Joint, which is all about loud rock music, pinball, and quality drinks. Joe’s has a late night license, is a lot of fun, and is open until 4am on weekends – the perfect place to finish your Perth bar crawl.

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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