Claims that Perth is the most isolated major city on the planet may not be unfounded. After all, the nearest big city, Adelaide, is 1,672 miles away. With a population of more than two million people and a booming wine industry nearby, however, Perth is no sleepy outback town but a vibrant wine destination.
Here are five not-to-miss watering holes in the Western Australian capital.
Print Hall Bar
This is home to one of Perth’s most impressive wine lists. Now spearheaded by Damien Thomine, the award-winning watering hole is chock-full of some of the world’s most iconic producers and its funkiest young guns. Centrally located on the ground floor of a former newspaper building, Print Hall’s dramatic bar is just one of multiple venues within the multi-story complex. Other fun stops include The Apple Daily Bar & Eating House (dedicated to Southeast Asian street food with a Riesling-heavy wine menu) and Bob’s Bar, which serves cocktails on the building’s roof.
This beloved restaurant serves some of the best Italian comfort food in the city. But venture through the unmarked doors at the back of Lalla Rookh, and you’ll find a pint-sized enoteca stocked with bottles from some of the world’s most exciting artisan producers, with an international wine list that contains a number of rare selections from Australia and Italy. Take a bottle home, or crack one open for a $10 (Australian) corkage fee and order from the restaurant menu. The housemade pasta will make you want to never leave.
Budburst Small Bar
Just north of the city center in Mount Hawthorn, Budburst encompasses everything you could hope from a neighborhood bar. It’s hard to believe this is the first venture of owner/sommelier Rachael Niall. The lovingly renovated 100-year-old cottage has a cozy, Old-World ambiance. It’s easy to linger for hours and savor the charcuterie and French-inspired small plates from Gwenael Lesle, the bar’s Brittany-born chef. When it comes to wine, Budburst has become the go-to spot for obscure, natural-leaning Western Australian labels.
More Perth Wine Bars to Try
Must Wine Bar, Mount Lawley
Young George, Fremantle
Strange Company, Fremantle
Shadow Wine Bar, Northbridge
Petition Wine Bar and Merchant
Petition’s three culinary hotspots are located within Perth’s historic State Buildings that also house the new Como the Treasury hotel (which itself boasts a world class rooftop restaurant, Wildflower). A food and drink lover’s paradise, Petition Beer Corner and Petition Kitchen are both worth visits. For wine geeks, Petition Wine Bar and Merchant is a must. A laid-back vibe is matched by a youthful staff eager to share their passion for Aussie organic and biodynamic labels. All told, Petition is new, hip and not to miss.
Steves Winestore Bistro
Located southwest of the city center in Nedlands, Steves is a Perth institution that boasts a rich history as a 110-year-old hotel and pub. Its verandas were used as makeshift dormitories for U.S. servicemen during World War II. Owned since 1935 by the McHenry family (current owner Murray McHenry co-founded McHenry Hohnen Wines in the Margaret River as well), it’s not surprising that Steves houses one of the best wine collections in Perth. With the venue’s original underground cellar still in use, the 1,000-plus bottle list specializes in wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Australian producers. Head to the cozy shop at the back, pluck a wine off the shelf and snuggle up to a cheese platter.