Stop smirking. The Galway Hooker isn’t a member of the world’s oldest profession, nor does it have anything to do with rugby. Instead, it’s the name of a traditional Irish fishing boat and, as of December, an ambitious, new 350-person Irish bar in the Scarborough Beach precinct.

Moving into space that once belonged to the Lookout, the Galway Hooker is the new venue from Ark Group, owners of high-volume Perth bar Market Grounds and neighbouring Scarborough venues the Peach Pit and Scarborough Beach Bar.

Although the Galway Hooker remains faithful to Irish pub traditions – wooden panelling and Gaelic bric-a-brac are being imported from Ireland, and there'll be two snugs: small, private rooms pitched at discrete drinkers – attention to detail, says group bar manager James Connolly, sets it apart from the rest of the field.

While Kilkenny and Guinness, unsurprisingly, will be poured on tap, Connolly is sweating the little things in pursuit of the perfect stout. The bar has a “Guinness-only” cool room – one of three dedicated beer cool rooms – set at an optimal stout temperature and featuring its own gas system. The stout will travel from the cool room to the bar via dedicated beer lines (which use sonic vibrations to keep them clean and clear) before being served in traditional tulip glasses that are cleaned in high-tech, streak-free dishwashers.

“If the lines are perfectly clean and the glassware is perfectly clean then, in theory, you have the purest, best Guinness you can drink,” says Connolly. “Every single aspect of the Guinness pouring process has been taken into account.”

A selection of Irish craft ales and well-known Australian beers round off the selection. Irish whiskey will be the bar’s other primary stock-in-trade. The Galway Hooker will open with 70 Irish whiskies on the menu: according to Connolly, the country’s largest collection of Irish whiskies.

Unlike the better known Scotch, Irish whiskies are typically triple distilled and made using a blend of malted and unmalted barley. Irish whiskey distillers, according to Connolly, were also the first to use sherry casks and other former-use barrels to age the spirt.

“You won’t find as many big, robust Irish whiskies made in that peaty Scottish style,” he says “They generally have softer, mellower flavours that are easier drinking and more approachable. They’ve got great mixability, but there are also some really great tasting drops.”

Ark Group executive chef Matt Powell, formerly of Helm in Fremantle, is following the bar’s lead and offering luxe versions of Irish pub favourites: think braised beef cheek and Guinness pie, and an Irish breakfast with soda bread and both black and white puddings. Fish and chips, naturally, will be available, as will oysters – which are traditionally consumed with Guinness throughout Ireland. Paul Molony, late of Alabama Song and Henry Summer, has signed on as venue manager.


The Galway Hooker opens in December.


thegalwayhooker.com.au