Perth’s dining and drinking scene didn’t just wake up after pandemic-related restrictions were lifted — it leapt out of bed, put on its big boy pants and got super busy.
While 2022 saw plenty of huge hospitality openings, ranging from old-school pub refurbishments in Victoria Park and Bassendean to high-end eateries in retail hubs (looking at you, Dandelion in Karrinyup Shopping Centre), this year is set to go into overdrive.
THE CLAREMONT HOTEL
Claremont, opening mid-January
Call it Claremont 2.0. A fresh start. A giant awakens.
The western suburb has been in a deep slumber since the days when hard-drinking university students would kick off at the Claremont Hotel before kicking on at Club Bay View. The Claremont serial killings changed all that.
While the Federation Filigree-style pub built in 1902 on the corner of Bay View Terrace and Gugeri Street managed to limp into a new century, the pandemic was the final nail and the Claremont Hotel closed in April 2020.
The country’s second-biggest pub operator, Australian Venue Company, bought the Claremont in 2022 before embarking on a breathtaking rebuild rumoured to have cost well north of $12 million.
The Claremont Hotel 2.0 is virtually unrecognisable, yet remains at its core, to quote AVC’s WA boss Joe Baily, “a proper, approachable pub for everyone”.
And he means EVERYONE. Taking over the old drive-through bottle shop and adjacent Bellissimo restaurant, the footprint of the pub has more than doubled and now has capacity for 1600 people.
There’s a dining room, courtyard, kids play area, stunning rooftop terrace, function rooms, lounges and a wrap-around veranda upstairs.
The bar upstairs has been demolished and replaced. One of the few remaining aspects is the original staircase, plus some wall tiles believed to be made by the first publican.
A massive stairway under an atrium welcomes punters with an entry statement that simply says: WOW!
Project manager Katie Rakich, who steered the rebuild with Fratelle lead architect Kylee Schoonens, said AVC aimed to “capture the heritage qualities of the building (while) introducing a lot of light, as well as moodiness” via dark timber fittings and furnishings.
There’s also two kitchens, in which executive chef Nick Trezise (whose resume includes the InterContinental Hotel Group and Print Hall) plans to plate up “unpretentious” pub favourites, such as WA seafood platters, schnitzels and parmis.
“Give the people what they want,” he reckons. “We’re a pub at the end of the day.”
But what a pub. Welcome back.
BLASTA BREWING CO. AND BLASTA COLLECTIVE
High Wycombe and Burswood, opening February and June
In arguably the most ambitious beer-related punt since Swan Brewery owner Alan Bond helped win the America’s Cup, Blasta Brewing Co. boss Steve Russell plans to open not one, but two new venues in 2023.
First, Blasta’s state-of-the-art production facility should begin operation in February on Abernethy Road, High Wycombe, only two minutes drive from Perth Airport.
While the brewery’s “future capacity” of 15 million litres per year will make it WA’s second biggest, the headquarters boasts a 200-person capacity taproom called The Blasta Departure Lounge with glass walls to watch not only beer being made but also planes taking off and landing. The venue will offer complimentary transport to the airport.
Then in June, the Blasta Collective should open at 98-106 Goodwood Parade in Burswood, replacing the current brewpub nearby.
More hospitality precinct than pub, the 3400sqm venue across two buildings will feature a beer hall, al fresco area with kids zone and function spaces in one structure, and a bigger gastropub, coffee shop, patisserie, bottle shop, distillery, merch store and florist in the other. Hang on, a florist in a brewery?
Unicorn Alley, named after Blasta’s logo referencing Russell’s Scottish heritage, links the two buildings, which have an impressive overall capacity for 1400 people. Let’s hope Blasta’s dream venues don’t turn out to be mythical beasts.
Dunsborough, opening in March
Eat, drink and sleep at this unique “destination village” coming to Dunsborough in March.
In addition to a “sandy feet and board shorts” friendly brewhouse, beer garden and cafe serving lunch and dinner daily, Southcamp has 18 cosy cabins running along Dugalup Brook and two short-stay apartments with communal bikes and surfboards for guests.
Grab a beer brewed onsite and venture into the expansive beer garden, which will boast a kids play area and stage for regular entertainment.
If all that wasn’t enough, former Mary Street Bakery co-owner Michael Forde will operate a gourmet grocer adjacent to the unique venue located a short stroll from the beach.
City, opening late 2023
Yagan Square gets a second life, with the team behind wildly successful hospitality precincts The Old Synagogue and The Beaufort transforming the city space into Stories.
The market hall makes way for a taphouse and bar with a glass keg room, allowing drinkers to see the inner workings of potentially the CBD’s largest venue.
While Yagan’s food and beverage options were hidden in the market hall, Stories will also boast an outdoor beer and wine garden with a kids playground and TV for major sporting events.
A mezzanine-level, 150-seat restaurant will overlook the garden, while a second sit-down dining option will take over the space previously occupied by Ficus Kitchen and Bar.
If that wasn’t enough, a two-storey tavern with multiple balconies is planned for the top of the existing structure. This venue within the venue will have a retractable roof and bi-fold doors as part of the redevelopment’s clear mission to turn the old building inside out and, hopefully, its fortunes around.
Busselton, opening in spring
After successfully negotiating the pandemic with The Standard, The Royal and Dandelion, John Parker sets sail for the South West, specifically, the Busselton Tavern: a new-age, 600-capacity pub in the heart of a town already going gangbusters with Shelter Brewing, Rocky Ridge and Alberta’s.
Parker reckons the Busso Tav will stand out due to the fact it will be home to “lots of personalities” with a craft beer bar, garden, restaurant and private dining rooms, separate in-house distillery producing gin and vodka, and a wine store and bar with a strong focus on top local drops.
Construction has begun, with the interior fit-out planned for April.
But wait there’s more . . . so much more
Lanterns on the Quay: Chinese food and destination dining rarely go hand in chopstick, but this high-end, 130-seat Cantonese restaurant in One The Esplanade at Elizabeth Quay could change that. Signature dishes will include Peking duck with homemade hoisin sauce and classic Singapore-style chilli crab. Lanterns is courtesy of Canton queens Karen Wong and Surin Dhami, who have jointly owned over 50 venues across Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and now Perth, where master chef Ricky Kwok will start dishing up authentic cuisine in a modern atmosphere in the first half of the year.
Edward and Ida’s: The bar boffins behind award-winning Fremantle wine bar and restaurant Nieuw Ruin and city speakeasy Foxtrot Unicorn plan a two-level venue on William Street, Northbridge, that’s pub-ish upstairs and theatrical cocktail lounge downstairs. The name comes from champagne socialists Edward and Ida Beeby, who ran a theatre company in the building in the late 1930s and 40s.
6HEAD: Following the success of their Sydney waterfront venue in The Rocks, Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group (The Meat & Wine Co., Italian Street Kitchen) plans to open a steakhouse in Chevron Tower, Elizabeth Quay, in the middle of the year.
Fallow Bar: Craft brew lovers rejoice — the Dutch Trading Co. team will open a second venue in the heart of Northbridge in 2023.
Margot’s Wine Bar and Cellar Door: Glamour couple, architect Barry Baltinas and interior designer Rebecca Frost add to the cluster of wine bars at the Paris end of William Street with their locally focused foray into hospitality opening February. Meaning “pearl”, Margot’s will be a wine bar, bottle shop and tasting room with small plates, tasting boards and pizzas fresh from Dough restaurant next door.
Bright Tank Serpentine: Nearly five years after opening their microbrewery in East Perth, husband and wife team Matthew Moore and Gemma Sampson are brewing up bigger plans for a 1000-person capacity and “full-scale sustainable” brewery on a Serpentine farm. Beef cattle, wine and spirits are part of Bright Tank’s overall goal of turning the area into another Swan Valley.
Subiaco Continental: This European-style tavern and bistro on the ground floor of the game-changing ONE Subiaco development comes courtesy of Andrew Chapman and notably Miles Hull, one of the hospitality gurus responsible for two of 2022’s best openings in Jetty Bar and Eats and Ruinbar.
The Clubroom: Award-winning home brewers Phat Brew Club get serious with a 400-capacity City West microbrewery boasting 16 taps, Asian street food, coffee nook, al fresco areas and sandpit for the kids due to open later this month.
Odway: The local hospitality guns behind Nowhereman Brewing and Idle Hands Drinks will add a small neighbourhood bar on Brisbane Street, Northbridge, to their collective roster. Locals can expect a thoughtfully curated drinks list, including delicious cocktails, as well as six to eight different Philly cheesesteaks on the menu at Odway, named after Perth rockers Jebediah’s debut album, Slightly Odway. Due to open in April.
Mane Specialist Bottleshop: A high-end booze emporium from the team behind Mane Liquor and Besk should open in an old spa showroom in Osborne Park this March. More than just excellent beer, wine and spirits, MSB will stock cheese, smallgoods, seafood and bread, host tastings and have a commercial kitchen for pop-up events. Take my money.
3 Ravens Perth: Brilliant Melbourne-based craft brewery spreads its wings with a brewpub rumoured to open on Old Perth Road in burgeoning Bassendean some time this year.
Hops and Props Brewery: The owners of the award-winning King Road Brewing Co. in Oldbury plan to build another brewery, this time with a view of planes taking off and landing at Jandakot Airport. Head brewer Steve Wearing will lead the team making high-quality beer and cider at the family-friendly venue.
FOUND. Lab: Rather than wait for their big East Perth brewery to be built, the experienced FOUND. Goods Co. team will open a “precursor” brewpub in a former lakeside restaurant in Byford. Beer aficionados should flock: Biggie Juice inventor Will Irving is head brewer.
Finch: Named after Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, this 100-capacity small bar will finally open in the space underneath Mechanics that has sat empty since owners Bread & Circuses closed their Flipside outlet years ago. Expect late-night Euro-disco vibes and DJs on weekends, with beverages focusing on female owners, producers and makers. Due to open in the first half of 2023, Finch is the smarter little sister of Mechanics. Enter via the laneway.
Vinyl Café: The popular record store and cafe will take a spin in the main retail space of the new Foundry development on Newcastle Street in Leederville. Hoping to trade seven days and three nights a week from late March, owner Dylan Sainsbury promises WA craft beer on tap, casual mod-Aussie dining and live entertainment, plus those sonic platters that matter.
Exchange Hotel: Owners of The National Hotel and Old Courthouse, both in Fremantle, go regional to operate the historic Pinjarra pub, which is being rebuilt to the tune of $6.5 million. Should reopen in late 2023.
La Condesa laneway bar: While he’s still working out the finer details, bar baron Clint Nolan hopes to open a new laneway bar out the back of modern Mexican cantina La Condesa in Subiaco by March.