There’s a lot to like about new Northbridge bar The Standard: its fortuitous position on Roe Street across from the soon-to-be-completed City Link Project; its cosy wine garden looking onto the newly reactivated Nick’s Lane; and its on-the-money playlist (because everyone knows wine goes down best to the raspy tones of Eddie Vedder). But wine’s not the only thing on offer. We’re digging the very shareable, very drinkable carafe cocktails, like the Ghost World – a spicy/sweet combination of rum, hazelnut, lime, blueberry and ginger. And don’t you dare visit without tasting the food. Chef Chase Weber, of No 4 Blake Street fame, has outdone himself with a collection of clever, beautifully presented and affordable share plates. Think Asian-ified beef carpaccio, pigtail-stuffed croquettes and fava chips. 28 Roe Street, Northbridge.
The Dominion League
You’ve got to hand it to a bar that announces its arrival to the Northbridge drinking scene with a brass band-led parade of people holding placards reading ‘Vote YES for Mischief’. The Dominion League is the latest offering from Hamish Fleming and Siobhan Blumann, owners of The Mechanics’ Institute and Mrs Brown, and a duo with a knack for producing low-key, good-drinking venues that have none of the ‘try hard’ air rampant in new bars. Take the basement, for instance. It has all the sexiness of a New York jazz cellar – dim lighting, deep booths, worn-in carpet and pretty incredible honeycomb Old Fashioneds. Mischief makers, report for duty. 84 Beaufort Street, Perth.
Clint Nolan loves his laneway bars. In fact, he opened two of them in November alone. Our favourite is Sneaky Tony’s, a mystery-shrouded speakeasy in Chinatown. “I’m really excited about this venue,” says Clint. “It’s a prohibition rum bar based on Tony the Hat – a rum runner in the States during the prohibition days. He was a bit of a lady’s man and a gambler. The bar is basically his living room.” The venue stocks more than 250 types of rum, and serves American-inspired bar snacks. Its location is something Clint wants to keep a secret as long as possible. “It’s somewhere down a laneway in Chinatown – that’s all I’ll say. I don’t want the address to ever get out, though I know it will eventually. I want it to be a bar that people have to search for, or just stumble upon.” Clint takes the exclusivity up a notch by requiring that people give the password – which they can get on Facebook – to get in on Friday and Saturday nights. How very sneaky. How very cool.