Perth is a hot destination, with nightlife, rooftop bars, water views and culture.
With happy hours that put a smile on your face, you’ll love your time here. Perhaps by virtue of its isolated location and its high ratings on the World’s Most Liveable Cities list, Perth is an adventure, and visitors receive a warm welcome. Since the gold rush days of the 19th century, what was once a remote outpost has blossomed into a thriving metropolis with a robust cultural heritage and a residential population that’s doubled in a decade. With 20 sport clubs in the city and a population that skews to the younger side (55 per cent are aged 20-39) this is a city of energy and discovery. Explore the best of what Perth has to offer and make the most of your time in this city by the Swan River. Get moving, and explore with a guide to the best bars in Perth.
131 St Georges Terrace, Perth
Charismatic, they call themselves – and oh, are they ever. Think attention to detail, classic cocktails with a twist and a sultry, sexy interior that screams of 1920s Prohibition. It’s no wonder it’s one of Perth’s best bars. The notorious ‘Teapot Punch’ is a must for any first-timer, a nod to the days of the alcohol embargo, where industrious drinkers were required to elicit creativity in spades to enjoy a proper drink. Served in colourful teapots and gold leaf-laden cups and saucers (pinkies up!) that would make any respectable Auntie proud, these kettled creations are seriously strong and serve four. You’ll be powerless against your compulsion to document them on social media – the ultimate seal of approval, indeed.
Neon Palms, Northbridge
245 William St, Northbridge
Wear your brightest colours and pop into this playful party style venue where every day is 80s summer Miami-style. Inside, a right mix of age groups nestle into comfy booths and tucked-away tables for catching up and snacky nibbles like tostadas and chunky guac. At the weekend, sign up for a Neon Session, bottomless Latin American inspired food and cocktails that will leave you satiated and smiling. Their signature drink? The Neon Margarita – a balmy blue mix of tequila, agave and fresh lime. We also think the Vice City, with its rum, coconut, pineapple and lime flavours will knock your neon socks off. Go see for yourself, why don’t you?
Strange Company, Fremantle
5 Nairn Street, Fremantle
Let’s call it casual, but make it sophisticated. A relaxed crowd, albeit a very stylish one, sip inventive cocktails and, if they’re so inclined, order something off the compelling food menu as well. We’re intrigued by the grilled kingfish wing and the saltcrust kipflers, and would immediately pair them with a local boutique cider or IPA to balance the salt. The cocktail menu is divided into flavours; spritzy, fresh, sour, fruity and bittersweet, which assists indecisive minds in narrowing down the delicious decisions, but the bartenders are happy to get creative with you based on what you like– and don’t. Check the schedule for live music on the weekend with special offerings like Limoncello gimlets and Basil Caprioskas, not something you're likely to find on the regular. It’s one of the top picks for Perth.
Terrarium Perth, Perth
Howard’s St Entrance, 99 St Georges Terrace, Perth
A newbie to the scene, Terrarium has gotten some big accolades in a very short period of time. It took out a spot in the Top 15 Bars in the WA Good Food Guide, which is no small feat amongst some stiff competition. No bookings are accepted, so walk in and suss the sophisticated spirits and lush rooftop garden in the jungle-like smooth vibe this place puts off. Snacks are polished bar food (steak tartare, Chinese five spice fried chicken) versus meal-sized portions, unless you go for the 250g beef fillet. The cocktail menu is the reason you’ll come, but the views from the top are fabulous, too – definitely one of the top rooftops for a drink or two.
Percy Flint’s Boozery & Eatery, South Fremantle
211 South Terrace, South Fremantle
The specials board is hot at this happening little number, situated on a sweet corner of South Freo, and locals keep it pumping. Pop in for an always exciting new addition to the regular wine list where by-the-glass selections are abundant, or perhaps something light like an unconventional mandarin and grapefruit fresh ale by local brewery, Gage Roads. The menu, from Tom Josham of Long Chim glory, is ridiculously enticing and may have your previous plan of ‘pre-dinner drinks’ turning into ‘dinner and drinks.’ But don’t go away quite yet. You may have thought you wanted a beer garden, but what you really want is a wine courtyard. Hidden like a secret treasure out back, and quintessentially Fremantle, sip a pinot or two in the alfresco chic of this flame tree-shaded hideaway that feels like being on holiday.
Sneaky Tony’s, Northbridge
Somewhere in Chinatown
Speakeasy infamy, that’s what Sneaky Tony’s is all about. Prohibition is well and truly dead in Perth. Hidden amongst the Chinatown lanes, you’ll need a password to get in on Friday and Saturday nights (check the Instagram page). Order a dram of rum and relax; tucked away from the busy street, this gem is more than a place to have a tipple. It’s a spot to spend some time and chat, no matter if you’ve come on your own or with a few friends. The hip masses at this buzzy bar only add to the tingle of being here. Trust us, you’ll linger.
Hula Bula, Perth
12 Victoria Avenue, Perth
Explore your inner rum runner and take a tropical vacation for tiki-tiki happiness without leaving Perth. Since 2005, this quirky South Pacific-themed cocktail institution has hosted a legion of locals and visitors for slightly hokey but always amusing nights out. As would be expected, the focus lies solidly on the drinks, and by drinks, we mean that gorgeous golden brown sugarcane distillate that goes so well with… pretty much everything. More of a place for a good time than it is a cultural citadel for the Caribbean, patrons love the throwback to the 70’s vibe and drinks served in traditional tiki mugs, which can be purchased to take home. Take your time and ask for advice, there are over 250 rums in stock, just awaiting your taste buds.
Casa, Mount Hawthorn
399 Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn
Another Good Food Guide winner, Casa is the best of easy-going wine bar vibes with food that’s dependably, consistently marvellous. We think it’s one of Perth’s best. Think of it like going to your good friend, Ina Garten’s house for a casual Sunday lunch. A ‘low-intervention wine-list’ will transport you to regions both local and beyond Australia, while the robust cocktail and spirits roster provides practically endless choice. Why not try the Seven Seasons green ant gin in a nod to local ingredients or the Garage Project salted white peach sour tinnie? We hear the Paloma cocktails are the choice for tequila lovers, but a Mescal Tommys is tempting, too.
35 Ewen Street, Scarborough
You don’t speak Norse? Let me help you out; SKØL equates to “cheers”, and rightfully so. Located in the trendy beachside neighbourhood just 20 minutes from Perth’s CBD, it’s in an area already rife with excellent food and beverage options – but this Scandi cutie is the cream rising to the top. Take a nice long look at the drekka (cocktails) menu and plot out your intentions. The Malmö sounds delish (vodka and Cointreau based) for a warm day, and the Fruits of Yjjdrasill (bourbon with spiced pear and Shiraz syrup) might be the call on a rainy one. Combinations of Aussie natives (local fennel-infused gin, rhubarb syrup) marry well with traditional Nordic fixings like lingonberry across the food and drinks menu. This is rustic Northern European at its most delicious.
Republic of Fremantle, Fremantle
3 Pakenham Street, Fremantle
You must admit; gin is having a moment. Once nicknamed ‘Mother’s Ruin’, it’s come a long way – and a few mothers I know might think of it as exactly the opposite of ruin, in fact. Developed by those clever Dutch in the 16th century as a medicinal agent and given to the soldiers as a part of their daily rations, it’s where the term ‘Dutch Courage’ originated. Makes sense, right? At this working distillery we’d highly recommend the Signature Tasting Flight, because try it all. If you’re still feeling parched, perhaps a Gin A Colada or a group serve of the Patio Pounder? Food is upscale snackalicious and share plate focussed. Go once and you’ll see why it’s trending as one of the best bars in Perth.
Varnish on King, Perth
75 King Street, Perth
This one’s been banished to the basement, and that’s anything but a punishment. Situated in the heart of the CBD, with warm wood, exposed brick and a full-on American whisky dive-bar vibe, you’ll find yourself settling in just like you’re at home – if home is a bougie clubby living room. A taxidermied beaver (called Justin, naturally) is the unofficial mascot, and the iconic bacon and whisky flight they offer is a thing for ‘those in the know’ – so now you know. Flip a gold coin in the elevated jar and see what happens. If whisky isn’t your go-to, please, PLEASE try the Banana Bread Old Fashioned with bourbon, sugar, bitters and cinnamon… oh, and a blast of fire torch for toastiness.
Frisk Small Bar, Northbridge
103 Francis Street, Northbridge
The ‘ginophiles’ at Frisk have taken gin and celebrated it in all forms, specialising in the herbaceous juniper-derived spirit and elevating it. At least 200 are behind the bar at any given time, ready to be mixed into cocktails or simply sipped straight up on ice. They believe if you don’t like gin, you simply haven’t found the right one yet, and that’s something they’ll help you overcome. The offerings are heavy on the Aussie gins, which we find to be a magnificent point of difference. Food is super basic, so this isn’t a spot for dinner. Munch on the pixie-dusted skin-on fries or a bowl of salty pretzels – maybe some almonds or olives. And if you’ve not tried sloe gin before? Rectify that immediately, kay? Bottoms up.
Tiny’s Bar and Liquor Emporium, Perth
QV1, Corner of Hay and Milligan Street, Perth
Soooo pretty, this one. Light and airy, it’s no dive bar, that's for sure. Greenery and art set the stage for Tiny’s with terrazzo table tops and elegant flourishes everywhere you look. The food menu is what brings most to this bar, with plates like gorgeous freshly shucked oysters, heirloom tomato tostadas and the esteemed shawarma rotisserie chicken. Since they use only veggies from the rooftop garden, you’ll be noshing on true local fare, which is always a good thing – for you and the planet. With one of the best-curated yet still extensive wine lists in the area, you’ll want to treat yourself to a tasting plate that compliments the vino and vice versa. If you prefer beer or spirits, you can count on something here that’s going to hit the spot, like a Running with Thieves Lager or Smokestack cocktail.
502 Hay Street, Subiaco
Sit inside amidst classic Australiana or make the most of a pretty day under the outdoor umbrellas. It’s not fancy, and it’s not meant to be, so come as you are. Take this opportunity to test drive some WA beer; this menu reps local, as they say. Grab a conti roll (a real Perth regional specialty) which is a fat sanger of mixed continental meats (typically mortadella, coppa and salami) with pickled vegetables and cheese or a needs-two-hands halloumi and hot chip wrap. What we like is the community feel of the place, it’s one of the stand-outs in Subiaco. Perhaps board game with that tinnie and burger, and settle in with an espresso martini for an UNO showdown while nibbling on chicken parmy croquettes. Bring your dog, too and have their photo added to the wall, or just pat someone else’s if you’re dogless.
Bar Rogue, Highgate
515 Beaufort St, Highgate
It’s not always what you drink, sometimes, it’s where you drink it. Take Bar Rogue. A moody, cosy spot where the food is as good as the (gorgeously presented) cocktails, so no one goes home disappointed. In 2022, they won Cocktail Bar of the Year, actually. No mere pub snacks here, you can make a night of this place and thrill your inner foodie with friends at communal tables, cool-cat worn-in lounges or intimate two-tops. It all goes down nicely with the distinctive and somewhat particular wine menu as well as a cocktails list to cry over. Decisions, decisions!