March 19, 2016
A good cocktail really is a magical thing. In the hands of the right bartender a selection of ingredients can be transformed into something greater than the sum of it’s parts. A mixture of knowledge, skill, theater, customer service, speed and execution; proper cocktail bartending is a profession that requires as much passion and dedication as any trained chef or snooty somelier. The drinks they make are exercises in creativity and balance of flavour, texture and mouthfeel. They are – when done right – nothing short of liquid works of art.
Bartending used to be a thing that people in Perth did while they were waiting to get a real job. Thankfully that attitude is becoming a thing of the past as establishments across town are more and more frequently being staffed by dedicated professionals for whom making the perfect drink is a lifelong ambition. Even the style of cocktail service has changed these days. Rather than just pick an item off a list (although that’s definitely still an option), it’s becoming more common to have an interaction with your barkeep and to get them to recommend something from their vast repertoire based on your individual tastes and preferences. The following list contains our favourite places to get a top notch tipple made by some of the best booze slingers in the country.
Named after a Western Australian secessionist movement from the 1930’s, The Dominion League could definitely form it’s own republic of cocktail deliciousness if it wanted and we’d sign up to be the first citizens! Bought to you by the same people behind Mechanics Institute (which took out Australian Bartender Magazine’s Small Bar of the Year Award this year), the drinks are of just as good a quality as at it’s prestigious sister venue. Having the added benefit of being a little bit more out of the way, The Dominion League is a great option on a busy Friday or Saturday night. Head downstairs to the super cool basement room and settle into a booth for an evening of liquid delights (they also have a great bar food menu and a cracking whiskey selection too!).
Address: 84 Beaufort St, Perth WA 6000
Tucked away underneath some shops on South Terrace, Who’s Your Mumma is a fantastically quirky little joint that is a great reward for those willing to explore a little further out of downtown Freo. While they don’t have the biggest back bar in town, what they do have they put to good use in coming up with some creative inventions that are as tasty as they are left-field. Who’s Your Mumma also does come kick-ass bar food to accompany your liquid refreshments too (we’re utterly addicted to their pork buns, soooo good slathered in Sriracha!).
Address: 7A, 142 South Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160
One of Perth’s original small bars, 399 is still one of the best places in town get your hands on a finely mixed drink. It’s especially good for after you’ve been out to one of the excellent Asian restaurants located nearby. Sit at the bar and see how many of their collection of vintage bobble-head dolls you can name as you sip at your tasty beverage.
Address: 399 William St, Perth WA 6000
Situated at the back of The Mantle in Fremantle (a shared food space down towards the docks that is home to several excellent eating establishments), Alter Ego is well worth the trip to this somewhat obscure location. Specializing in all manner of in-house brewed and infused concoctions, they mix up a damn fine drink that is perfect before or after a meal (or sometimes as a liquid meal in itself if you’re so inclined!).
Address: 1 James St, Fremantle WA 6160
Although not technically a specialist cocktail bar, the guys and gals at No Mafia actually whip up some of the tastiest drinks anywhere in town. Don’t believe us? We once took a non-drinking American food blogger who didn’t like the taste of alcohol there on a media visit and their Nocello Limonade was so good that she finished the whole thing and now drinks them regularly at a bar in her home town. The Godfather Old Fashioned (made with your choice of in-house made flavoured sugar cube), Basil Aperol Spritz and fantastic homemade Limoncello are worthy of an honourable mention too.
Address: 189 William St, Northbridge WA 6003