It’s Sunday afternoon and Skol is buzzing. The bi-fold doors and windows are open, and people are spilling out onto the sunny front porch of the heritage-style house on the corner of Calais Road and Ewen Street. Inside, music is playing and the mixed crowd is either perched on high bar stools, seated at the booth or scattered outside in the courtyard, where children are playing and a pet dachshund enjoys the sunshine. Only two weeks in, Mani Vogt and Ben Noble’s new Scarborough bar and eatery is a hit with the locals.
“I’ve had to sit people in the al fresco area over at Drift [the cafe in front],” says Vogt, who’s running between diners as she speaks. “We haven’t stopped since opening and couldn’t be happier with the response we’ve had from the local community.
“Ben made 480 cocktails in two days, that’s how busy we’ve been.”
The Scandinavian-inspired cocktails (Skol is a Scandi word for “cheers” or “good health”) have proven a strong drawcard. One of them, the Kópakonan (named after a Danish folktale that translates as “the Seal Woman”) is made with peach bitters, yuzu juice, grapefruit juice, pineapple juice, aquavit and falernum, garnished with dill and served in a shell.
“We wanted to bring the ocean into the venue, so some of our cocktail names have ocean connotations or are named after towns along the coast,” says Vogt. “Ben found these shells from a local supplier and we’ve had to order more because it’s so popular.”
They’re also serving up Scandi twists on the Cosmopolitan (made with lemon-balm-infused vodka and lingonberry syrup) and the Aperol Spritz (served with aquavit).
The wider drinks list strays from northern Europe to focus on local beers and wines from Margaret River, the Great Southern and Swan Valley, plus a handful of names from South Australia and Victoria.
Pair them with a selection of bites including a cheese or charcuterie board, triple-cooked chips with Sriracha mayo, and anchovy with smoked olive ice-cream.
From 4.30pm, chef James Park (who recently returned to Perth from Seoul, where he worked at a Michelin-starred fine diner) amps up the snacks with a mushroom sando, heirloom carrots with puffed grains and native thyme, unagi (eel) cigars, a generous serve of baked cauliflower, Korean fried-chicken sliders, and swordfish katsu.
The decor is minimal, with a white, green and natural wood palette to match the coastal suburb. For Vogt and Noble, Skol is all about catering to the neighbourhood. Next month they’re hosting a summer block party in the adjacent car park, and a tasting series is in the works for January.
16a Calais Road, Scarborough
Wed to Sun 12pm–10.30pm
Closed Mon & Tues