Perth’s Kerbside Cool: Eats, drinks and shopping
Once named ‘hipster heaven’ by a New York Times writer back in 2014, Perth’s trendiest streets have since expanded.
Steadily adding to the already established scene, each of Perth’s leafy urban precincts offers varying proportions of contemporary restaurants, gastropubs, cafes, cool bars in heritage buildings and old theatres. Some even have dedicated festivals and pop-up farmers’ markets.
Each road calls for a certain pastime. Whether it’s a cappuccino on the sunny strip of South Terrace in Fremantle, or dinner and the theatre on Beaufort Street in Mt Lawley. From the quaint café culture at North Perth’s Angove Street, to the industrial vibe of Albany Highway in Victoria Park, each thoroughfare has a distinct character of its own. Navigating Perth by street name also means dining and shopping without the need for a car and the chance to discover tucked away treasures on rooftops, or basement floors.
William Street is well known for its many, high-quality Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants on the northern tip. In the centre, there’s charming contrasts, like the sophisticated Shadow Wine Bar, opposite the bustling Universal Bar. Find salvaged vintage denim at one of the many thrift stores, or shop local designer at a nearby boutique. William Street shines the most at night, with Chi Cho gelato serving shock-value flavours like salt ‘n’ pepper and Northside Bookstore, welcoming guests with their ice-creams late into the evening. No Mafia serve sophisticated Italian wine and food, just a few doors down from bar and music venue collaborative; Young Love Mess Hall and The Bird. Both are home to popular live bands, DJ’s and a cool atmosphere for a stress-free night on the town.
Most alike Melbourne when compared to the other urban villages, Oxford Street is sardined with trendy restaurants, café’s, and clothing stores that are busy in the day or night. Kitsch Bar and The Low Key Chow House broadly celebrate Asian street food with a modern Australian twist, while Tsuke-Ba hone in on experimental Japanese. By day, NOOD and the Market Juicery serve vibrant health foods and raw desserts, while specialty coffee abounds at café’s like Pixel and Foam Coffee Bar. Trendy boutique clothing stores are another staple on Oxford Street, including Elroy and high-end designer at Varga Girl.
All six kilometres of Beaufort Street is nearly full to the brim, and home to some of Perth’s most Instagram worthy restaurants and cafes. From The Mary Street Bakery with fried chicken buttermilk pancakes and The Ramen Lab with a Japanese twist on tacos. El Publico add to the playful food trends distinctive to Beaufort St, with fried crickets for bar snacks. Known as a superior music hub, Beaufort Street is home to The Ellington, Perth’s most respected jazz club. The old art deco style Astor Theatre also attracts high profile international musicians and theatre performances, with ticket-holders often stopping by, for an outdoor drink at the busy The Flying Scotsman pub.
A stone’s throw from the harbour and South Beach, the breezy South Terrace strip begins at the Train Station and extends to South Fremantle. Most vibrant in the day, part of it has been nicknamed the ‘Cappucino Strip’ after the large number of alfresco cafes, like 30-year-old Gino’s. Nowadays, it’s home to newer icons; Ootong & Lincoln and Il Cibo café, that flurry with cyclists, families and their dogs on weekends. Of an evening, the famous Norfolk pub has long stood as the place for a Sunday session. It was named after the towering Norfolk Pines that are characteristic to this sunny maritime precinct.
Despite being less than a kilometre in length, the entire strip of Angove Street is occupied with patisseries, café’s, and homeware stores. It’s even got its own ‘Angove Street’ Festival. All week, its quaint alfresco cafes see a regular breakfast crowd. On weekends, shoppers take to the Angove Street Collective, or Future Shelter to find stylish homewares. Towards Charles Street, local artist Di Taylor showcases her paintings inspired by the Australian landscape. In the evening, Angove Street appeals to visitors looking for a night cap at the gently lit Old Laundry Bar and Kitchen. Opposite is the popular Rosemount beer garden that steadily hums with live music late into the evening.
With a sunshine coast feel, all the action at the Esplanade neatly surrounds a large, beach-facing roundabout. Sandy and barefoot beach goers are welcome at relaxed café’s like The Local Shack and Health Freak Café and when the sun starts to set, golden ale is the drink of choice at specialist pubs like The Squires Fortune, or hip live music venues like El Grotto. The Esplanade is busiest in summer of course and the Scarborough Sandpit blares with Latin music on a Sunday as salsa dancers move to the music.
The lengthy Albany Highway first earned its notoriety for offering every style of Asian cuisine available, including Balinese, Japanese, Malaysian and Chinese. Nowadays, it’s enticed owners of specialty coffee and brunch spots and stylish bars, to make use of the foot traffic. Amidst the caryards, there’s pleasantly surprising gems like Sixteen Ounces café and Harvest Espresso. Nearly every year, new additions activate the area, like the recent opening of Daddy Long Legs, which enhances the existing contemporary bar scene including The Precinct and Dutch Trading Co craft beer gastro pub.
Aside from being a popular shopping district, Rokeby Road is home to some of Perth’s most celebrated eateries. Marked by the unique prowess that can only be produced by independent owners, like local artist, Murray Gill who showcases his paintings at his popular small wine bar Juanita’s. Rokeby Road also features lots of Mediterranean and middle-eastern inspired cuisine, like Boucla cafe, Meeka restaurant, and Lady of Ro’s Greek home-style cooking. Containing some of the oldest buildings in Perth, it houses the revamped Subiaco Hotel and The Regal Theatre that continue to attract crowds of people throughout the week.
This neighbourhood street has accrued both a nightlife and a separate alter ago by day. During breakfast hours, eclectic café’s like Chapels on Whatley provide and unexpected fusion of Eurasian food. Add to that a specialty for fine teas and trading Eastern antiques, Chapels also becomes a live music venue on Friday’s and Saturday’s. The Vintage Emporium sells a handpicked selection of fine homewares and clothing. Mrs. S and Sherbet Café & Bake Shop carry on the vintage feel of the suburb with their spaces vending luxurious breakfast, lunch items and baked treats. The clothing comes vintage too, with Look Feel Be selling new clothes inspired by the old world, along with offering vintage hair styling and workshops.