Across Perth and Fremantle, innovative bars and restaurants are breathing new life into historic buildings. Here’s where you can get a taste.
Feature by Max Veenhuyzen
Keep your eyes peeled: Perth’s historic buildings are often hiding in plain sight. Even better, many of these spaces house some of the city’s best places to eat and drink, making it possible for visitors – and locals – to have their cake, eat it, and get a free serve of history, too.
Tenderly restored by the Colonial Leisure Group, Print Hall offers visitors many ways to admire the former headquarters of The West Australian newspaper. At ground level, Gazette offers Italianate eating and drinking, while one floor up, The Apple Daily Bar & Eating House serves big and punchy Asian flavours. Thirsty? Bob’s Bar on the rooftop is a celebration of all things craft beer.
Brookfield Place, 125 St Georges Tce, Perth.
Print Hall, Perth
As ambitious as it is beautiful, the State Buildings merges 140 years of history with the best of modern culture. As well as Long Chim (the Bangkok street-food restaurant from Thai cuisine authority David Thompson), the art-strewn precinct is also the home of a great wine and beer bar, hand-picked local retailers and Australia’s only COMO Hotel.
Cnr St Georges Terrace and Barrack St, Perth.
The State Buildings, Perth
Perched inside this dark, quietly glam Wine Bar, in the heart of the UNESCO awarded William Street precinct, you can admire the former National Bank’s soaring ceilings and exposed beams, but once the food arrives, your focus shifts quickly to what’s on your plate. Chef Monika Cook’s riffs on European comfort – Scotch fillet with parsnip, say, or crab spaghettini – are as beautiful to eat as they are to look at.
214 William St, Perth.
Shadow Wine Bar and Dining Room, Perth
Originally constructed in 1887, this hotel has long served the Freo community. Current custodian Garry Gosatti – a founder of the Matilda Bay Brewing Company – works hard to provide a contemporary pub experience, from wood-fired pizzas and pub classics in the courtyard to cocktails and whisky galore in the late-night saloon.
47 South Terrace, Fremantle.
Pool hall, hairdressers, black-market potato distribution centre. This Heritage-listed building in historic Bayswater has (allegedly) worn all these hats and more. Today, it’s a charming neighbourhood hangout combining bar, dog-friendly beer garden, bottle shop and pizzeria serving delicious (albeit not-especially-traditional) pizzas and small plates.
13 King William Street, Bayswater.
The star tenant of Perth’s Hibernian Place, Garum is a celebration of Roman food, as told by Melbourne-based chef Guy Grossi. Come to admire the 1902-built former community centre Hibernian Hall; stay for textbook pastas like carbonara and cacio e pepe. Elsewhere in the precinct you’ll find Arthur & Co, a dining room from veteran chef Graham Arthur, and late-night Japanese whisky bar, Goody Two’s.
480 Hay Street, Perth.
Fun fact: between 1925 and 1949, this Federation-style building was home to the Savoy Wine Saloon. It’s a neat, serendipitous titbit to know, but entirely optional when it comes to enjoying the space’s current tenant. Arguably one of the hottest wine bars in Australia, this unfussy bar and bottle shop packs them in with organically farmed natural wines and satisfying Mediterranean cooking.
458 William Street, Perth.
Built in 1898, this Federation-style brick warehouse served as an ideal canvas for Bread in Common, a combined bakery-restaurant from serial restaurateur, Nic Trimboli. As guests make merry on mess-hall-style tables in the sprawling dining room, head chef Chris Eales and the kitchen serve punchy, cosmopolitan creations like lamb ribs with black garlic and sherry, and cuttlefish with raddichio and pine nuts.
43 Pakenham Street, Fremantle.
Bread in Common, Fremantle
What would the original tenants of the Royal Insurance Buildings (built in 1929) make of this contemporary wine bar? Of the ambitious wine list starring 100 wines all available by the glass? Of chef Matthew Carulei’s punchy snacks that run from fried chicken skin and sardine ciabatta toasts to dainty pea and black garlic tartlets? A wining – and dining – experience for the now.
131 St Georges Tce, Perth.
Built in 1901 as The Freemasons’ Hotel, the Sail & Anchor was Australia’s first boutique brewery pub. Its current iteration continues to build on this brewing history with the contents of the hotel’s 40 beer taps and three hand pumps reading like a who’s-who of ales. The Brewers Garden cafe offers additional alfresco dining options.
64 South Terrace, Fremantle.
Published May 2019