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L'Chaim three cocktails
L'Chaim

Best hidden bars to explore in Perth

These secret bars may be tricky to find, but they're well worth the challenge

Written by
Alexandra Casey
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Hidden to those who don’t know where to look, Perth is home to many groovy hidden bars, well worth a gander and bevvy or two – from mysterious city alleyways and secretive side street saloons to basement bars.

Gone are the days of tradition and convention: Perth’s bar scene boasts plenty of intrigue these days. We’ve put together a list of Perth’s best hidden bars, so you’ll have no shortage of exciting places to perch with a drink in hand.

All this bar hopping got you hungry? Check out the best pizzerias in Perth.

Happy hunting...

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Fremantle

Western Australia’s first synagogue was built in 1902, where services continued until 1910, after which it was permanently closed. Since then, the building has been used as an auction mart, rug shop, clothing outlet, art gallery and café. After many restorations and enhancements, the Old Synagogue now functions as a three-storey, 1,000-capacity dining and bar precinct, home to four unique hospitality venues, one of which is L’Chaim. L’Chaim (pronounced ‘la hime’) is the Hebrew phrase meaning ‘toast to life,’ nods to the rich cultural tapestry of the venue. It's concealed to those unknowing so you’ll have to venture deep below the Synagogue and behind a mysterious bookcase. Only there you’ll uncover a space of moody lighting and plush booths, and the famous grand piano. And if that isn’t cool enough, the quirky collection of décor was actually hand-picked by the team, from local antique and second hand stores. If you’re partial to a cocktail, you’ve come to the right place. Bartender Matt Bodycote is behind the unique and theatrical cocktail menu and knows all the tools of the trade. Located on corner of Fremantle’s South Terrace and Parry Street, L’Chaim is definitely worth a visit.

  • Nightlife
  • Northbridge

Inspiration for Convenients came from the vision of a venue that strayed far from tradition. It is Perth’s only live music venue to be primarily constructed by musicians. Convenients resides in the heart of Northbridge, with the entrance hidden inside a functioning convenience store across from Northbridge Piazza. Owner Matt Hatton says, “I thought it would be cool to walk into a regular-looking Convenience store, but hidden behind a fridge door, was a licensed music venue.” 

The convenience store theme has inspired many of the menu offerings, such as the M&M Mudslide Surprise, the Bubble-gum Martini and Wizz Fizz Fireball Bang. Coupled with cocktails and beers on tap, Convenients offers burgers, with vegan and gluten-free options so no one will miss out.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Perth Central

If you’re partial to the Roaring Twenties, say no more. This traditional speakeasy takes its name from Andrew Volstead, the man responsible for the Prohibition Act of 1919, the law that confiscated beer, wine and liquor from every drinking person in America. The Volstead Lounge is a 1920s themed cocktail and jazz bar, hidden behind a painting. (Think the 'Fat Lady’ portrait that hangs over the Gryffindor common room entrance.) You’ll have to locate the correct book on the bookshelf within Volstead’s study, for the portrait of Volstead to open. The bar is located down an alleyway in the Perth CBD and guests can expect a lavish vintage-inspired space, bursting with live jazz, cabaret and fabulous cocktails.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Northbridge

If you don’t mind a good rum, Sneaky Tony's has your name written all over it. A hop, skip or stumble down an alleyway in Chinatown and you’ll find yourself at the alluring door of Sneaky Tony’s – Perth’s top secret premium rum bar. If you wish to enter, you’ll have to proclaim the daily password, which may or may not be found on Facebook. With shelves boasting an impressive collection of over 300 rums from all four corners of the globe, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Or go hard on the cocktails. For those after hard liquor, the expert mixologists will pinpoint the perfect drink for you.

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Sultry, sexy and a little bit mischievous. If you like our gist, say hello to Perth’s best kept secret disco dance floor. She’s not your typical lady, she’s a '70s icon, sassy and fun as all hell – a secret bar within a secret bar. All we can say is that you’ll find her in Northbridge’s Chinatown. Find the location, strut up to the bar, say the magic word “Is Toots in?” and receive a golden ticket to get you through her doors. Her menu is a selection of retro Italian nibbles, perfectly paired with the lip-smacking good cocktails on her extensive list.

  • Bars
  • Craft beer
  • Northbridge

A five-minute walk from the Perth City will get you to Northbridge, known for its shopping, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues, and of course, Joe’s Juice Joint. Joe’s is an eclectic rock'n'roll den inspired by the classic dives of Montana. You’ll have to trot down a laneway, step into the building, amble down the stairs stumble into this late-night basement dive bar. You’ll walk in to the blasting beat of heavy metal music, and you’ll look around to see walls plastered with band posters and neon signs, as well as a goon bag and bras stuck to the ceiling for good measure. A little birdy told us you should really try the fried chicken wings and a giant Tequila-quarium fishbowl cocktail – a couple of crowd favourites that have the people flocking. 

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  • Bars
  • Pub dining
  • Perth Central

In the basement of a 1921-built heritage building, perched in the heart of Perth’s CBD is Varnish on King. The interior is a homage to the nouveau dive bars of the United States, while nodding to Perth’s own culture and history with sepia-toned images of the neighbourhood’s yesteryear lining the walls. In true dive bar spirit, Kentucky bourbons and American whiskeys line the shelves behind the bar. It’s a venue that “doesn’t play by the rules” and offers weird and wonderful perks for their customers, such as the ‘Bacon & Whiskey flight’ where four different styles of whiskey are paired up to four different styles of bacon. The food offerings give American classics an Australian twist and will have you licking your lips for more. Their mantra is simple: “We source the best food the best wine and the best whiskey to be able to share it with our guests, who quickly become friends.”

  • Nightlife
  • Perth Central

Vamos de fiesta! Let’s go party! Hold on to your sombreros because you’re in for a treat. Caballitos is a late-night tequila bar, nightclub and Mexican Cantina, in the soul of Perth. DJs, mariachi bands, pole dancing and pinata parties, what more could you want? There’s even the resident live tattoo artist inking free, custom flash tatts! Spanish for “Little Horse,” Caballitos has over 200 tequilas and mezcals, loads of loco cocktails, beers, vino and twists on authentic Mexican tipples.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Perth Central

Located on the lower ground floor of the beautifully restored, heritage-listed 1910 Perth Technical School, Bar Lafayette is a moody and intimate cocktail and whisky bar. The thoughtfully curated drinks list offers cocktail favourites of the Blood Peach Bellini and Margarita Noir, alongside sparkling, beer, white, red and rosé. Food offerings feature marinated olives, triple cream brie with sour cherry jam, smoked cheddar with fig and mustard compote, chicken karaage bites, mushroom and truffle arancini and smoked eggplant and harissa.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Perth Central

Bobeche is the basement cocktail bar behind some of Perth’s best brews. Whether you visit as a bar hopping pit stop, mosey on in after a long day in the office, or head in to make a night of it, you’re going to have a good time. The team ready and raring to shake, mix or stir a stunning concoction. They also appreciate the classics, whether you’re partial to an Old Fashioned, Negroni or a little more Martini inclined. Their teapot punches are perfect to share with friends and the alcohol-free drink list is constantly evolving. Bar food is delivered straight from the kitchen of their upstairs sister venue, Heritage Wine Bar. Think fish crudo, beef croquettes, divine cured meat and cheese platters, chicken wings with hot sauce and baby cheese burgers.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Perth Central

Located underground in an old 1887-built bank vault – is this, or is this not giving you Gringotts Bank vibes? – is Foxtrot, a venue that once housed the Western Australian Club. It’s a jarrah-clad sanctuary for lovers of the drink, packed with up-cycled materials and salvaged furniture, art and curio from iconic WA pubs that were knocked down many moons ago. The original bank safes are still part of the architectural features. Wander in for a cocktails – we recommend the Honeycomb Old Fashioned (Starward Two-Fold Whisky, local honey, agave, wattle seed and walnut bitters) or the Finger Lime Breakfast Martini (Old Young's Gin, finger lime, lime and orange curaçao). Or sit at the bar for a crisp lager and a chin wag. You can expect fine Australian spirits, classic and creative cocktails, a locally sourced wine list and some very deluxe jaffles – mushroom mac and cheese, barbecue chicken, or salami and feta. Foxtrot Unicorn also offers a small selection of bar snacks, including local cheeses, Black Pig Deli parfait and quality tinned seafood.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • East Perth

Dive into this exotic wonderland and treat yourself to a tropical cocktail that’s bound to tickle your tastebuds. Born in 2005, the Hula Bula Bar continues the culture of the Tiki lounge from the golden '50s and '60s. The venue is Perth’s original rum bar, boasting an impressive and diverse collection of fine rums from around the globe, so it’s no surprise that the star of the show is their rum-based tiki cocktails. It’s a kooky little paradise, offering a selection of rum, cocktails, beer, cider, spirits and wine, as well as non-alcoholic beverages for those who work harder than they play. Swing in at six on a Saturday for $12 cocktails until 8pm.

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  • Clubs
  • Glendalough

Within the four red walls of an old phone box lies the entrance of a toe-tapping, finger-snapping underground speakeasy. It’s a vintage treasure chest of all things wild and wacky, and will transport you to the 1920s and 30s. Rock up for three hours of  live vintage jazz every Friday evening. Doors open at 5.45pm and the band starts at 7.30pm. So, bring your lover, your brother or your lover’s mother to eat, drink and dance the night away. Tickets for the Jazz Cellar are $30, and there is a BYO food and alcohol licence, as the venue doesn’t serve food or drink.

  • Bars
  • Northbridge

Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar... Throw on your favourite boots and hold on to your cowboy hat, because this is your one-way ticket to the deep south of the USA. Get ready for some tooting, scooting fun at Alabama Song, a Northbridge-based bar, specialising in whiskey, bourbon and all things country. Upon entering through the bat swing doors, you’ll be charmed with the tantalising scent of delicious fried chicken and American cheeseburgers (served nice and hot for just $10 on Thursdays). Every Wednesday from 6pm and Sunday from 8pm, cheap chicken wings are dished up for 50c a pop – you’d be crazy not to jump on that band wagon. There’s also knee-slapping good live country music every Friday and Saturday night. Expect to see peanut shells flying around the place, because Alabama is as messy as she is fun.

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