While many hidden cocktail bars are self-important, Defectors is totally unpretentious. That’s probably why its regulars return.
Chris Vivian, owner of beloved pub The Flying Scotsman, opened Defectors in 2007 when he saw the emergence of Perth small bars, and the culture-hungry (and just plain hungry) local musos in the area.
The result is a slick cocktail bar on the top floor of the Scotto. It’s decked out with rows of top-nick liquor, luxe leather couches, exposed-brick walls and chandeliers that look straight out of late 19th-century Paris. Not bad for a grumpy bloke from the wheat-belt who, according to his staff, could box a kangaroo.
Instead of getting caught up with complicated garnishes, Defectors concocts simple cocktails at decent prices, such as Old Fashioneds and Negronis for $14. For something fancier, there’s always the Kentucky Treacle Pie, made from maple syrup, apple juice and Rittenhouse rye.
And, while you can find modern Australian tapas with local ingredients (such as the moreish sticky-plum duck shanks), Defectors is most proud of its greasy pizzas, with toppings such as chicken and brie.
True to its original purpose, local musos still adore the bar, with newbies hitting open-mic night on Sundays and songwriters trialling raw material at Thursday’s Songwriter Nights.