In the last few years Perth has had a meteoric rise in their bar scene and now has some of the coolest bars in Australia. Western Australians are truly blessed to have so many fantastic bars to choose from. The Clipp team were only too happy to take on the huge task of sampling them, and choosing what we think are the top 5 best bars in Perth for you to visit next time you’re out and about in the west!
Enrique’s School for Bullfighting
Originally supposed to be a temporary pop-up Enrique’s School for Bullfighting proved popular enough to become a permanent fixture in the Perth bar scene. Enrique’s is another product of the brother and sister team who brought you the elegant Trustee Bar & Bistro and inspired Beaufort Street Merchant, another two bars that should you definitely be checking out.
Enrique’s could be considered a Gin bar. On the first page of the menu is “Gintonica” which is a make-it-yourself G&T list. With 15 types of gin, 5 types of tonic and 15 garnishes it is great fun coming up with a new G&T combination to blow your socks off. If you think that this should be left to the professionals then they also have their own suggestions at the bottom of the page. Larios 12 with East Imperial tonic and garnished with coriander and kiwi fruit is our recommendation.
For the massive gin fans they also have a menu with some of the rarer bottles of gin out there. It is enough to get anyone excited. The cocktail menu is a menu is the loosest sense of the world and instead of telling you what sort of alcohol is in the drink it just lists booze so it is a surprise every time. Our choices would be the Army Navy #3 or the desert-like Pavlova Sour.
The food is Spanish inspired, designed to share and based heavily on seafood. Try the prawn gazpacho or the sherry chorizo if you want something amazing that does not break the bank (if you are getting 40% off with Clipp go for the beef ribs, treat yourself.)
The seats in the booths are covered in cow-hide and the chairs are bright and colourful making it a vibrant and energetic place to enjoy their amazing G&T’s. Enrique’s School for Bullfighting is a definite must for any visitor to Perth or any local that has not quite made it there yet and deservedly opens our Top 5 best bars in Perth list. Check out Enriques School for Bullfighting on Clipp here.
The Stables Bar
Enter through the iron gate down Hardware Lane to find this two storey bar in one of Perth’s original horse stables. Our second entry in our Top 5 list of the best bars in Perth is The Stables Bar. It’s rustic and welcoming with exposed bricks and wooden fittings. Upstairs is a slightly more elegant dining area but it still keeps the welcoming feeling from downstairs. The large sepia photos on the wall add warmth to what could have been an otherwise cold feeling room. The balcony bar has world class views of the city and is kept warm in the evening by the fire in the corner.
The menu is divine and the food even better, which is all the more astonishing when you read that the chef’s make everything in-house. They bake the bread, cure the meat and create the condiments from scratch which just shows off their commitment to excellence. The 3 kg Slow cooked Blackwood Valley Lamb Shoulder for $125 was very tempting, it would be difficult to justify that amount of meat for one person. In a group of four or more the lamb shoulder would be perfect. For a smaller party our suggestions would be the Jerk Chicken Taco’s or the Baked Ricotta Gnocchi and finish off with some dark chocolate s’mores.
Like the bar and the food menu, the drinks menu stays close to the classics. The wine list is enormous and the beer taps include James Squire and seasonal craft beer. Their Old Fashioned’s and Whiskey Sour’s are top notch and their house creations are superb.
The Stables Bar is available for functions and is also the place to be for a quiet drink with mates after work on a Friday night. Check out Stables Bar on Clipp here.
Descend into this basement bar to be greeted with a warm and welcoming area complete with graffitied walls and lived-in furniture. Choo Choo’s is a small but relaxed bar, specialising in exemplary customer service. The real highlight of Choo Choo’s is the fact that it has no menu, instead the bartenders actually talk with their customers to make a drink especially for them.
Blindly trusting a bartender to just make whatever they think you will like is a big ask but at Choo Choo’s you are in safe hands. The bartenders are some of the best around and will take your preferences into account when producing a top class cocktail. We have yet to hear of anyone leaving disappointed.
The dim lighting and sitting area is designed to make this already small venue feel intimate and it would be the perfect place to take a date for drinks after dinner. The music is not to loud, nor to soft, you are able to have an actual conversation with out having to shout and yet the music can cover up your more private moments. Apparently, they also have live music every so often.
Choo Choo’s would be our pick to have a relaxed evening after work, a couple of cocktails made especially for you by a fantastic bartender and a great night. Check out Choo Choo’s on Clipp here.
Hidden down a little lane way, Helvetica can be hard to find but definitely worth the hunt once you are inside this world class whiskey bar. Like its namesake, Helvetica is just as cool and as classic as the timeless typeface. The two storey bar is dimly lit, the low stools providing a splash of colour against the excess of black. The large amount of black is not a bad thing, after all nothing is more classic than black. The food is simple but tasty with a selection of bar snacks and pizza to share.
Helvetica has an extensive Whiskey list, the majority of which come from the homeland of great whiskey – Scotland. Scotland separates its whiskey into five distinct areas and Helvetica follows convention letting you choose from Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Campbeltown and Islay. They also list Islands as an area you can pick from which are generally listed amongst the Highland distilleries but in this we thought it best to defer to the experts.
The temptation was great to go straight for a Laphroaig from Islay but having heard about the strong smokey flavor we decided to ease ourselves up to it with a few cocktails first. The Dublin Sour was excellent and comes highly recommended. For those not interested in drinking whiskey straight or on-the-rocks, their cocktails are separated into gin, whiskey, rum and misc. They also stock a large selection of local and imported wines and beer.
Helvetica out does itself in regards to whiskey. Hidden in the pages of its whiskey menus are a few that’ll make the whiskey lovers among you stop and take a deep breathe. Port Ellen 32 year old 1983, which can go for $4000 AUD a bottle, is listed at just under $800 for a dram.
Perfect for after work drinks and for regulars, Helvetica will let you buy a bottle of your favourite whiskey and will keep it for you to drink at your leisure. Check out Helvetica on Clipp here.
The Laneway Lounge
With live acts bringing you the best of Australian jazz four nights a week, Laneway Lounge is more than just another cocktail bar. The Laneway Lounge feels like it came straight out of the New Orleans French Quarter and is the perfect place for dinner, drinks and late-night eats.
There are three distinct areas; the lounge, the booths and the live music dining room. The lounge’s mismatched furniture somehow fits together in a style uniquely Laneway Lounge and the dining room is dimly elegant.
The food is perfect with pork belly doughnuts being the thing that would make us return again and again. For a larger meal the sirloin steak with duck fat potatoes hit the spot perfectly. Laneway Lounge has one of the most extensive drinks menu around with over 50 different gins and close to 70 different whiskeys, they also stock an amazing amount of wine and beer. Their cocktails are twists on favourites like the Smoked Chocolate Sazerac or the Chamomille Whiskey Sour. Definitely try the maple syrup and bacon Manhattan or the lemon meringue cocktails for something a little different.
If you are in the mood for fantastic cocktails and food while watching an up and coming Australian Jazz act then the Laneway Lounge should be the top of your list. Check out the Laneway Lounge on Clipp here.
So there you have it – Clipp’s top 5 best bars in Perth but there are plenty of her awesome bars out there. By the way, each of these bars provides Clipp Last Minute offers (up to 40% off!!) which is pretty awesome.
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