MATISSE, SCARBOROUGH BEACH
Vibe | Over-the-top art deco glamour meets pool party debauchery in a venue that wouldn’t be out of place in Las Vegas or Miami. The beachfront location looks onto the Norfolk Pine-dotted Scarborough Beach with its vivid white sand and turquoise waters. Inside, a long, shallow pool runs the length of a striking courtyard dotted with palm trees, cocktail-strewn tables, and lounges topped with monogrammed pillows. The six bright cabanas lining one side of the pool fill with private groups enjoying the rock-star treatment. The massive venue has a capacity of 750, which it easily reaches on Sunday afternoons. Most congregate around the DJ booths that spin deep house, funky house and electro beats.
Clientele | Matisse attracts all types, mostly aged from 25 to 35 years. The majority are sharply dressed, but because the venue is licensed as an aquatic centre, patrons are free to enter barefoot and wearing nothing but bathers (until 8pm). Poolside antics aren’t uncommon, but they’re kept in check under the watchful eyes of the bouncers.
Drink | Moet & Chandon Ice on the rocks with fruit, or one of Matisse’s signature cocktails. We love the Mandalin, a refreshing, citrusy concoction of gin and orange blossom with a mandarin twist.
Food | The Shared Seafood Platter.
Plus | Matisse’s sparkling courtyard pool sets it apart from other beachside venues. Guests are invited to float around in it, and the cabanas are given their own dedicated patch of pool. Perfect for a hot summer’s day. Oh, and did we mention that kids aren’t allowed?
Minus | The flipside of the pool is that no glass is allowed in the venue. Some would argue that the acrylic ware conflicts with the luxe vibe created by the location and fit-out.
TOP TIP | Round up your pals and splurge on a cabana. Not only does it offer the best seat in the house, but also a VIP experience with dedicated wait staff and a private space. There are three cabana session times on the weekends – Rehab (brunch), Sundown (arvo) and Night Owl (evening) – each includes food and drinks and a bar tab which can be used for additional purchases.
THE BEACH CLUB, COTTESLOE
Vibe | The Beach Club is Perth’s best-known Sunday Session venue in summer for good reason: an effortlessly cool beach-chic fit-out that would make the Hamptons proud; extremely well-heeled and well-groomed guests; chilled-out tunes; excellent food; and an exclusive location just off Cottesloe Beach. What’s not to love?
Clientele | More than 2000 people visit The Beach Club every Sunday in summer. They range in age from 25 to 65 years, and are dressed to the nines in glamorous resort wear. There’s definitely a privileged, Western Suburbs feel about the guests who are there to see and be seen.
Drink | Bubbles and beer are the Beach Club drinks of choice.
Eat | Oysters, or the chips with Japanese mayo.
Plus | The Beach Club attracts some of the most beautiful people in Perth. Single? Consider yourself lucky. Attached? Prepare to be tempted.
Minus | The afternoon queues can get really long and really hot on a summer’s day. Plus, despite being across the street from the beach, there aren’t any ocean views from The Beach Club.
TOP TIP | Sunday Sessioners at The Cott definitely dress to impress, so don’t think for a second you can just rock up with sand clinging to your thongs. If the Cott’s door crew don’t knock you back, then the guests’ disapproving looks certainly will.
THE BREAKWATER, HILLARYS
Vibe | The Breakwater’s enviable location on the popular boardwalk of the Hillarys Boat Harbour has made it one of Perth’s most iconic venues for a Sunday Session. The action centres on the Lower Deck. Tables fill early with guests keen to spend the afternoon soaking up the sun – and
a pint or two – while they await a front-row seat to the sunset. To keep the energy up, DJs work the decks from 4pm, playing pop, house and electro.
Clientele | Around 500 guests descend on The Breakwater each Sunday, everyone from families to tourists to hardcore loyals who make Sessions at The Breakwater a weekly tradition. The eclectic crowd has dictated a relaxed dress code – a plus for anyone who baulks at dressing up on a Sunday arvo.
Drink | Beer is the drink of choice at The Breakwater – chalk it up to the briny air – but for our money, we’d go for the venue’s signature cocktail, the Belvedere Breakwater (vodka mixed with lychee liqueur, apple, cranberry and lime).
Eat | One of the Breakwater’s gourmet woodfired pizzas.
Plus | The venue’s location in the marina provides it with some of the best views in town. Its come-one-come-all attitude means you don’t have to stress about what you’re wearing.
Minus | A view as epic as The Breakwater’s doesn’t come without a price. A Sunday Session here isn’t cheap.
TOP TIP | For a quieter Sunday Session experience, but with equally beautiful views, head to Reid’s Lounge on the first floor.
OCEAN BEACH HOTEL, COTTESLOE
Vibe | Sundays in summer bring the Ocean Beach Hotel to life. The Saloon Bar’s large windows, open to the sea breeze, plus Cottesloe Beach views and the setting sun are what attracts the weekly throng. They prop their sand-dusted legs on the windowsills, and knock back pints. Live entertainment kicks off at 6pm in the relaxed, no-frills courtyard filled with long picnic tables under broad umbrellas, and conversation turns to wishing the weekend would never end.
Clientele | Up to 1000 people crowd into the OBH on Sundays. A younger crew of 18-25 year-olds gravitates to the Beer Garden, the older folks stick to the Saloon Bar.
Drink | Matso’s Ginger Beer is on tap and in almost everyone’s hands.
Eat | The steak sandwich.
Plus | The dress code and atmosphere is relaxed enough that you can head straight there from the beach without needing to go home for a shower and change. There’s nothing like watching an Indian Ocean sunset with the feel of sea salt on your skin and a beer on your lips.
Minus | The OBH has a reputation for being a bit rough around the edges. Don’t expect any airs or graces here.
Top Tip | Arrive before 4pm to nab a table by the window.
LITTLE CREATURES, FREMANTLE
Vibe | This iconic Freo powerhouse is an internationally recognised brewery that’s as popular with tourists as with locals. Deciding where to sit is the only problem: the expansive outdoor deck overlooking Freo’s Fishing Boat Harbour, complete with a massive sandbox to keep the kids occupied; the cavernous interior space with its open kitchen, huge metal beer vats, floor-to-ceiling windows and mezzanine level looking over it all; or maybe the garden terrace out front with its lush garden, misters and view of the ferris wheel in Esplanade Park?
Clientele | Anyone and everyone. Little Creatures is great for families (said sandbox is a kid-pleaser), groups of friends and everyone in between.
Drink | Um, beer of course! The Little Creatures Pale Ale is the best seller, but we reckon the Rogers comes a close second.
Eat | Chilli mussels or Little Creatures’ famous frites with the moreish, garlicky aioli.
Plus | Unlike other beachside Sunday Session venues, Little Creatures is easy to reach with public transport. Three cheers for the Perth-Fremantle line!
Minus | Sundays are especially busy at Little Creatures, so long waits for food and beer are common.
Top Tip | Fire engine-red bicycles are free to hire. A perfect Sunday is a cruise around Freo followed by a long, refreshing Sunday Session. Bliss!
Other great Sunday Sessions on the water
BLACK SALT, NORTH FREMANTLE
This beachside venue offers a whole lot more than just stunning views of Port Beach and the Indian Ocean beyond. Sundays see the outdoor deck fill with merrymakers enjoying house-brewed beer and seafood, while the kids go wild in Black Salt’s on-site playground.
BATHERS BEACH HOUSE, FREMANTLE
Located just off the boardwalk of Bathers Beach, Freo’s newest venue is heaving on Sundays. Sun worshippers are drawn to the wind-sheltered al fresco area, families to the free sun loungers on the sand out front, and absolutely everyone to the first floor’s sweeping harbour-to-port views.