This popular Perth small bar tour will introduce you to some of the intimate venues that are part of the city’s boutique bar revolution. You’ll visit three contrasting bars over the course of three hours, and enjoy included snacks and a house drink. Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
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One of the things to keep an eye out for as you explore Perth’s historic arcades, lively street-art emblazoned laneways and redeveloped precincts is the bounty of small bars, many of which are tucked away in the most unexpected of places.
It’s not by accident that a sassy and sophisticated small bar scene has quietly blossomed over recent years in the Western Australian capital. In 2007, the State Government reformed liquor licensing laws — granting small bar licences to venues prepared to cater to a maximum capacity of 120 customers. Other requirements included having food for sale (although optional for patrons to purchase) and music low in the background.
A decade on and Perth’s small bar culture is thriving — affording it a diverse after dark social scene that would be the envy of many larger world cities. There’s even an annual small bar awards event.
As a visitor, seeking out the hippest and most happening venues in any unfamiliar destination is not about what you know, but who you know. Having a local to show you around is invaluable, and that’s exactly what you get on a Perth small bar tour with walking tour operator Two Feet & a Heartbeat. I meet tour guide Rusty and the rest of our group at Perth Town Hall, and we head off to explore. The tour takes in three of the city’s most innovative venues, with included finger food served at bars one and three and a house drink at the second.
Without giving the whole game away, I will just mention my two favourite venues. We head along the Hay Street Mall and down through whimsical London Court to the big end of town on St Georges Terrace. It’s currently the Winter Arts Season and there are several public art installations to stop and admire along the way. Our ultimate destination is Howard Street and a very cool basement bar known as Andaluz Bar & Tapas.
The place is jumping when we arrive and the hubbub of conversation fills the air. The bar has a relaxed vibe and several intimate sections — some devoted primarily to diners enjoying the menu of shared plates, and others to casual drinks. Here we enjoy our included house drink and everyone starts to get better acquainted.
Later in the evening we head up King Street past the silent high-end fashion boutiques, and hang a sharp right into super cool Wolf Lane. It’s home to Cheeky Sparrow, which has a great warehouse vibe and a table with our name on it. Once everyone has settled in, wood-fired pizzas magically appear. This is the final stop on the tour, and I can foresee plenty of late night fun for those who decide to kick on here.
The venues visited on this Perth small bar tour change regularly, so don’t feel we’ve given away too many of its secrets. The tour is a great way for locals and visitors alike to connect with Perth’s boutique bar culture.
The writer travelled as a guest of Two Feet & a Heartbeat.
Additional images: Bigstock
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.