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 tasty eats at two venues, and an included drink at one. Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
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 city’s bounty of small bars, many of which are tucked away in the most unlikely and 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 Australia capital. In 2007 the WA State Government’s reformed liquor licensing laws — granting small bar licenses to Perth 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 the small bar scene is thriving, with plenty of interesting venues affording the city a diverse after dark scene that would be the envy of many larger world cities. There’s even an annual small bar awards.
As a visitor, when it comes to finding the hippest and most happening venues, it’s definitely not what you know but who you know that counts. Having a local show you around is invaluable, and that’s exactly what you get with local walking tour operator Two Feet & a Heartbeat. Their popular Perth small bar tour takes in a selection of three of the city’s most innovative venues, with finger food included at bars one and three, and a drink on the house at the second.
We meet our guide Rusty at The Clock Tower at Perth Town Hall, before heading east on Hay Street to our first stop — Bar Sequel. Along the way Rusty imparts interesting tidbits of information on various landmarks and historic points of interest, some of which surprises even the local contingent of our group.
Bar Sequel — which has only been open a few weeks — is housed in what was once a Chinese restaurant — and reputedly, an illicit gambling den. The bar reflects the owners’ love of movie sequels, and is adorned with movie posters dedicated to cinematic second outings. There’s a well stocked cocktail bar at one end, several communal tables and comfortable seating. Rusty points out the ceiling tiles with molded Chinese dragons that hark back to one of the bar’s previous incarnation. Try the Last Drop Pale Ale on tap, which is brewed at Bar Sequel’s sister venue Last Drop Pub & Brewery.
After about 45 minutes we take our leave and head back up to 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 some to casual drinks. I could quite easily settle in for the evening but there’s still one more venue to visit, and rather reluctantly we take our leave.
Heading up King Street past the silent high-end boutiques including Chanel and Prada, a sharp right down super cool Wolf Lane brings up to our third and final venue — Cheeky Sparrow. There’s a table with our name or on it and as we settle in wood fired pizzas magically appear. The tour ends here but the warehouse vibe promises a whole lot of late night fun for those that decide to stay on and make a night of it.
The venues visited on this Perth small bar tour change regularly, so don’t feel we’ve given away all the tour’s secrets. For visitors keen to see a different side of the city, or locals looking for a top night out, this walking tour is a great way to connect with Perth’s boutique bar culture.
Adam 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.