Old Faithful Bar & BBQ has consistently served some of Perth’s best barbeque since opening on King Street in 2014. Current owner Rob Paolucci took over the venue (originally co-owned by his parents) in 2017 and has now launched a second venue in Fremantle’s resurgent west end. It’s an appropriate addition to Pakenham Street, also home to Bread in Common and recently opened distillery Republic of Fremantle.
The new basement bar and restaurant is in a 130-year-old heritage building (originally a liquor merchant and more recently a clothing store and then a wedding venue). Its handsome fit-out was largely completed by Paolucci and his father and complements the historic site – and its original exposed-brick walls and pillars – with leather chairs, barrels and a striking wooden bar.
Despite its size, the 200-capacity space is still warm and inviting. Customers can choose to sit in the comfortable warren-like bar or the outside laneway, which has an open beer-hall feel similar to the King Street venue.
“I wanted something bigger with more of a speakeasy vibe,” says Paolucci. “It’s meant to be an inclusive place. If you’ve got a family, want to hang out with a couple of mates or have a nice cocktail night you can come here. We’ve laid it out so that everyone can have their own little section.”
The bar has 32 taps, double that of King Street, with a strong emphasis on WA beer including Nail, Feral, Beerfarm and Boston Brewing. Whatever your preferred style of brew, expect to find at least two to choose from. Pints start at just $8 for Feral Draught.
“We have such great beers in this state,” says Paolucci. “My view of this tap list was to include breweries that are local, that are craft and have a [broad] selection of really good beers, so it’s not just one they do well.”
Whiskies range from $6 to $110, including some hard-to-find varieties that were originally part of Paolucci’s private collection. Two taps are reserved for batch cocktails; simply choose a whiskey or gin for as cheap or expensive a Boulevardier or Negroni as you like.
The still in-flux menu includes the familiar selection of smoked meats and sides, from brisket, ribs and chicken to mac‘n’cheese and fried maple potatoes. There’s also an expanded range of burgers and sandwiches, plus new $35 meat platters.
King Street’s head chef Troy Swanson has relocated to Fremantle to run the kitchen. The new menu will eventually be replicated in both venues.
Breakfast is also on the agenda – but not just in the morning. It’ll be served late on Saturday nights, from 11pm to 1am, then resume at 9am. Expect chicken and waffles, and a substantial big breakfast for those with a hearty appetite from the night before, or the night that’s just about to end.
Old Faithful Bar and BBQ
1 Pakenham Street, Fremantle
Wed & Thu 5pm–late
Fri to Sun 11am–late