When I was in Perth I had the opportunity to catch up with Gavin Bellinger, a friend of mine and owner of cafe turned small bar Double Double in Subiaco. Gavin is the perfect example of the new breed of small bar owner in Perth – a guy who quit his day job and backed himself to follow his dream of owning a small bar, the kind of place him and his mates would like to hang out in. I was keen to hear Gavin’s thoughts on opening running a small bar in Perth and here’s what he had to say.
You’re winding down after a long day. What’s your drink of choice?
I am a big fan of ginger beer during the summer, simply garnished with a couple of lime wedges and some crushed ice.
What rum based cocktail do people need to be drinking now?
I’m really enjoying a cocktail that I give to people who come into Double Double and tell me that they don’t like rum. It’s called “My Pet Squid” and contains Kraken Rum, peach and pineapple. It’s delicious and converts even the most ardent detractors.
Perth’s small bar scene has changed immensely over the past few years. What do you predict for 2015?
I sense that there will be a bit of a shift away from the CBD and Northbridge, with more suburban “local” bars popping up around Perth. I think that Perth’s bar scene has reached that level of maturity and is ready for that next level of diversity. Drink wise, we’ve seen rum slowly become more popular as 2014 has come to a close and I see people really getting into experiencing the diversity that rum has to offer in 2015.
I know you had some difficulties with red tape when it came to getting the license for Double Double extended. What changes would you like to see made to Perth’s liquor licensing laws?
There is a lot of double dipping between the rules and regulations of local councils and the Department of Racing, Gaming & Liquor (“Department”), which really drags out the process. Also once the assessment of a new/amended license begins there is no contact between the applicant and the Department no matter how hard you try and what your individual circumstances might be. It is a very long, complicated and frustrating process that could very easily be streamlined and simplified – applicants would get their applications processed faster and cheaper and the Department and local councils would save on administration costs.
What was your favourite new bar of 2014?
Either The Dominion League (downstairs) or Sneaky Tony’s. Both great bars that have really helped elevate the small bar scene in Perth.
I’ve heard rumours that you’ve got something big planned for 2015. Can you tell us more?
I don’t want to give too much away yet but yes, there’s something very special on its way.