Perth’s bartenders know a thing or two about good booze: who better to ask for drinking advice when they’re off the clock? Here’s where you’ll find some of the city’s better bar personalities unwinding.
Sam Winfield – Wines of While
Good things come in threes for Sam Winfield, the owner of wildly popular natural wine stronghold Wines of While. When he’s not playing matchmaker between guests and his bar’s stash of lo-fi wine or on the tools in the kitchen, he likes to take five at Il Lido.
“You can’t beat the maritime trifecta,” he says. “A short glass of Little Dove pale ale (the thirst quencher); a Negroni (the settler), followed up by a glass of vermentino or something similarly saline.”
“It’s one of my favourite wine lists in WA,” he says. “They’ve quietly amassed a beautiful selection of organic, biodynamic and natural wines and it’s the only place I can think of where I can get a chicken parmi with chips and a bottle of Jean Foillard’s Morgon Cote du Py.”
James Connolly – The Peach Pit
After three years as beverage director for David Thompson’s Long Chim group, James Connolly recently joined the ARK Group (operator of, among other venues, Market Grounds) to oversee the group’s expansions, starting with transforming the former Squires Fortune into The Peach Pit.
For a pub, he rates Durty Nelly’s (“The best Guinness in town, sports on TV, tunes, and chicken parmies: what more do you need?”), while CBD pizza bunker Alfred’s Pizzeria is a destination for enjoying tinnies and spirits. For something a little craftier, it’s Caboose at The Flying Scotsman (“It’s a great people-watching spot and there’s always a good selection of beers and food.”). When the occasion calls for cocktails, it’s El Grotto for Margaritas and his old stomping ground for Negronis.
“I need to get out more,” he says.
Emma Farrelly – State Buildings
The wine director for the State Buildings doesn’t have to travel far to feel at home.
“I like to drink at Lalla Rookh Wine Store because it’s a really happy space for me and [sommeliers] Sarah [Atkinson] and Jezza [Jeremy Prus] are mates,” says Farrelly of her neighbour. “I generally only drink Italian white wine when I go there. It’s kind of a personal challenge and I’m never disappointed.”
Like Winfield – and, as it turns, many of the other bartenders we quizzed – she’s another advocate for Settlers in Margaret River.
“There are so many gems on that list and I always bump into someone I know,” she says. “When I’m there I always try to catch a band if I can. I never don’t have fun at Settlers.”
And – look away, law enforcement types – a fan of drinking in parks.
“I understand that doesn’t sound great, but I spend so much time indoors for work,” she says. “I love taking a bottle of something fun to a park, the river or the beach and just being with the elements. The hippie in me is obviously scratching to get out.”
Emma Ferguson – Los Bravos
As it is with her work, wine is equally important to Emma Ferguson’s play.
“On my days off, I’m all about champagne and chablis,” says the co-owner of Los Bravos, No Mafia and Balthazar. “If I’m lucky enough to be down south, I’ll be at Settlers having a glass or two after a surf. I’m also known for a cheeky glass at Shadow Wine Bar between shifts. It’s perfectly located between No Mafia and Los Bravos.”
On Sundays – the universal day off across all of the venues owned by Ferguson and partner Dan Morris – she hits Canteen Pizza for some orange wine to go with the sunset. After work, a rum at Sneaky Tony’s is also part of her knock-off drink rotation.
“It’s dark and loud so I can sneak into the background if I’ve had a crazy day,” she says.
Joel Beresford – Dutch Trading Company
Beer, it would seem, is an important part of Joel Beresford’s life. Not only is he a director at one of Australia’s best beer venues – this year, influential trade publication Beer & Brewer named Dutch Trading Company as Australia’s best beer venue – but he’s a constant presence at local beer-centric bars.
Among his favourites: Baby Mammoth in Northbridge (“A tight and cosy little space where the beer list is eclectic and the food is divine: hit them up on Chef Lab night and it’s double the fun at a very reasonable price.”) and Alfred’s Pizzeria (“Go downstairs and get teleported to a dark little speakeasy with awesome pizza and a fun beer list. A great venue to start or end an evening.”).
When he has the time, Indian Ocean Brewery fits the bill for destination drinking.
“It’s a bit of a trek for me, but always worth the drive,” he says. “Whether it’s a crazy special release of a steadfast pale ale, I can’t fault the beers brewed by Jackson Purser. Throw some great classic pub grub into the mix and it’s a winning combo. Bring a designated driver.”
Andy Freeman – Goody Two’s
Between his myriad venues across the city, serial publican Andy Freeman is a busy man, which probably explains the twin role that Tiny’s has in his life. (The Freeman play: glass of rose for right away, takeaway roast chicken for dinner later).
“Paul [Aron, co-owner of Tiny’s] and co do a great job,” he says.
Otherwise, a crisp riesling at Island Market in Trigg with fried market fish and Manjimup chips is a fortnightly occurrence (“It’s close to home and the perfect location for a table this time of the year.”) while he’s another fan of Settlers.
“A pint at Settlers is something I truly enjoy when I get time to escape down south with the family,” he says. “It’s kind of a must do.”
Clint Nolan – Henry Summer
Considering bar czar Clint Nolan spends much of his day-to-day in Northbridge, it’s unsurprising he prefers to unwind outside of the city centre.
When he’s not checking in on his interests at Alabama Song or La Cholita, you’ll find him at Rodney’s Bait & Tackle (“My local and home to great live music, an ever-changing tap-beer list and cracking fish burgers.”), Billie H (“[Owner] Dan Goodsell has one of the best wine palates in the west and there’s no shortage of interesting drops to explore.”) and Swallow Bar.
“It’s a piece of Parisian charm in Maylands,” he says. “Ella Fitzgerald plays on the record player while you sip on a glass of French red and munch on chicken and Pedro Ximinez pâté with seriously garlicky toasts.”
Gary Beadle – Lot Twenty
A self-proclaimed “simple lad that grew up with real ale”, Beadle has a fondness for beer and British pubs.
While some might be label our man’s tastes as predictable (“Sorry to say it, but a pint of Guinness at Rosie O’Grady’s keeps me happy,” he says.), Beadle’s thinking also has a strong dose of pragmatism.
“Time for these pleasures is few and far between, so normally it’s an Averna on ice at Lot 20 when I knock off,” he says.
Phil Weber – Si Paradiso
Between the recently opened Si Paradiso in Highgate and El Grotto in Scarborough, Phil Weber has a busy summer ahead of him. When he’s not behind the stick making drinks, he likes heading to Northbridge.
“The hospitality and drink offering at Mechanics Institute is on point,” he says. “It’s a must-go for any bartender wanting to drink some fine-ass drinks or relax in the alfresco area with a tinnie and chill out. Shadow Wine Bar has an amazing wine selection that is unparalleled and a food offering that is absolutely crazy. When I want to treat myself, I’ll have the ceviche and a glass of rosé.”
He doesn’t mind spending time at the office on his day off, either.
“I know it may be biased, but I also like drinking at El Grotto,” he says. “It’s close to the beach and when I manage to get a day off the wife enjoys joining me and having a few fish tacos and a Tommy’s [Margarita]. I’ll have one or two plus an Alipus San Andres mezcal.”
Jeremy Prus – Lalla Rookh
Jeremy Prus has long been one of Perth’s most important wine voices, whether it was pouring sherry at Duende to being an early adopter of organic, minimally-handled wines. While Lalla Rookh remains one of the city’s most important wine addresses, he’s thrilled to see so much growth in the wine bar sector.
“I love what Sam [Winfield] and Tom [Van Beem] are doing at Wines of While,” he says. “It’s a super cruisy joint with some really fun wine and very tasty, grub plus they’ve got Dr Tim’s tinnies. I also really like Billie H, too. Really good vino.”
Arcade Palace’s irresistible one-two of good cocktails and classic video games makes the Beaufort Street arcade bar another go-to for Prus.