If you really want to get to know Perth, spend some time exploring its ‘villages.’ These inner-city enclaves each have a distinct vibe and feel, with plenty of food and drink offerings to round out the precinct experience.
Leederville has the lot: cafes, restaurants and breezy pubs, plus an independent cinema, record stores, quirky gift shops, and edgy fashion. Its feel is more gritty than some of Perth’s more genteel suburbs, and with lots of laid-back al fresco dining it offers good people-watching, along with some of Perth’s best coffee. Breakfast is big here. At any time of the day, food spans tapas, seafood, burgers and Asian to quality pub food. Oxford Street is the main strip; come for a bustling vibe. It’s roughly a five minute journey by car north west from Perth city, or one train stop from Perth on the Joondalup Line.
- Grab a takeaway from the Swedish-inspired FOAM Coffee Bar on Oxford Street and fortify yourself for some shopping. Chasing an interesting outfit? You’ll find something at independent clothing stores like Elroy, Varga Girl and Atlas Divine. Check out Remedy if you’re looking for unusual and gorgeous gifts.
- Peckish? Detour down Newcastle Street for tapas and great wine at Duende, or the more casual fare at Pinchos Tapas. Tsuke-Ba’s Japanese takeaway is great if you’re on the fly, but for a lingering lunch, head to The Garden. By night try Ria Malay Kitchen or Kitsch Bar further up Oxford Street.
- To satisfy a sweet craving, visit Gusto Gelato, or sample the famous cakes and coffee at Greens and Co .
- Head to Luna Cinema for the latest independent film releases. In summer, hit the outdoor screen.
- Want guidance? The Leederville Food Safari operates on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s an urban dining adventure powered by rickshaw, during which you’ll eat well and explore hidden Leederville, including the local street art.
One of Perth’s oldest suburbs, Subiaco has a grand old dame feel to its leafy streets. Its main strip, Rokeby Road, has a high end feel with premier shopping, restaurants, cafes and hotels. The ‘Paris end’, south of Bagot Road, is also home to some quirky wine bars and cafes. Subiaco has theatres, galleries, parks and gardens, and is known for its fashion, homewares and jewellery, including several boutiques specialising in Australian pearls. Subiaco is located five kilometres west from the Perth CBD, and is only three train stops from Perth on the Fremantle line.
- On a Saturday, you’ll find fresh local produce and vendors serving coffee and breakfast at The Subiaco Farmers Market from 8am until noon.
- The quaint bar Juanita’s is a quirky local haunt, where interesting wines are paired with generous antipasto platters and home-baked goods. Nearby, the popular family-run business Meeka does modern Australian food with a middle eastern twist.
- Visit a cultural gem, the 79-year old Regal Theatre, where Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire once graced the stage. Check out what’s on here and enjoy a pre-show dinner at the nearby Indian restaurant Chutney Mary’s, or the iconic Subiaco Hotel.
The leafy suburb to Perth’s north east is one of the original villages of Perth, packed with café’s, restaurants and independent stores. The Beaufort Street strip – all six kilometres of it – has a selection of restaurants, beer gardens, cafes, nightclubs, book stores, shops and bakeries – even a deco theatre. Mt Lawley is five minutes by car north east of Perth – Beaufort Street runs from the city to Mt Lawley. There is a Mt Lawley train station which runs on the Midland line, but it’s a ten to fifteen minute walk (1.4km) to the Beaufort Street strip.
- You’re in the land of character pubs: indulge. Laid back cheer is on tap at old favourites like The Queens and The Brisbane Hotel. The precinct’s most famous pub The Flying Scotsman is the place to get local brews and live music. Upstairs is Defectors Bar, a moodily lit speakeasy style venue with 500 spirits behind the bar. Live music is on Thursdays. There’s also monthly swing and salsa dance events.
- Get great bar bites – including ice cream sandwiches – at neighbourhood favourite, Clarences. It’s more than a wine bar, much like Must Winebar, still one of Perth’s favourite restaurants.
- Don’t leave without a visit to Mary St Bakery, legendary for its baked fare. Other eateries worth checking out are Veggie Mama, down the tail end of Beaufort St, and Cantina 663.
- The Astor Theatre, a gorgeous art deco building, is also one of Perth’s most versatile venues, with everything from live music and comedy to burlesque and theatre. Across the road you’ll find Planet Books, where you can lose hours browsing books and giftware.
This is Perth’s premier nightlife district, brimming with bars, restaurants, pubs and night clubs. It’s also Perth’s cultural heart, home to the Art Gallery of WA, the State Theatre and the State Library. In summer, the Fringeworld festival brings added layers of colour and movement. By day, there’s funky shopping along William Street. And if you’re hankering for roast duck, noodles or yum cha, this is where to come. Northbridge is just over the railway line from Perth’s CBD – an easy walk from the train station.
- Eating out is easy; just follow your appetite. La Cholita for modern Mexican, or Sauma for great Indian street food. Aisura Sushi for Japanese, or Panama Social for something hip and now. Try Bivouac for great share plates. There’s gelato at Chi Cho, and a range of Asian along William and Francis Streets. Hong Kong BBQ is a crowd favourite; so is Lucky Chan’s Ramen Bar, with its three stories of Chinese laundry-themed interiors to explore.
- Drinks can be any style, too, from the longstanding Brass Monkey hotel to niche offerings like Wines of While. Get your gin fix at Frisk Small Bar, and some cultural vibe at PICA bar.
- Perth’s biggest free outdoor screen is at the Northbridge Piazza, on the corner of James and Lake Streets. Catch a free movie, or join the free Tai Chi or yoga classes.
- There’s nothing quite like book browsing in the middle of nightlife central. Ground yourself at the independent New Edition, where you’re welcome to bring gelato from next door.
- Catch a famous resident painting at the Art Gallery of WA, or possibly a visiting blockbuster show. At PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts), there’s bound to be something conversation-starting. The Urban Orchard and other public spaces are great just for a breather.
One of Perth’s fastest-growing precincts, Vic Park (as the locals know it) has blossomed into a lively centre for food, coffee and wine. Crown Perth is nearby, but the main strip on Albany Highway is more about small neighbourhood haunts doing great things and getting plenty of repeat custom. It’s ten minutes south of the CBD by car.
- Try breakfast. Harvest Espresso does one of Perth’s best. There’s also Sage or The Imp.
- For Malaysian cuisine, visit Satay on Charcoal and for Korean and American fusion, check out Chimek who offer an indulgent menu of black charcoal beef burgers and fried chicken. Neho Asian tapas delights their customers with their collection of funny translated Chinese signs on the walls and an inspired menu, including tea smoked duck and ‘pandacotta’ infused with pandan. For steaks, char-grilled meats and torched marshmallow desserts, visit Hey Griller on Albany Highway.
- For those in town on a Sunday, The Victoria Markets is worth the early wake-up call. Open from 8am ‘til noon, you can stock up on all your organic local produce and fresh baked goods.
- For some daytime respite, visit Revive Day Spa for a treatment, or The Crown Perth for a relaxing High Tea on a Sunday afternoon. Gift stores like White Lily Home and Gift, In Retrospect, and The Good Store offer plenty of daytime shopping options.