Veteran Perth bartender James Connolly, it would appear, is allergic to free time. Just in case overseeing the cocktail program across all of David Thompson’s Long Chim restaurants wasn’t responsibility enough, he’s also been heavily involved in rebooting the lounge bar at COMO The Treasury. His motive for getting on board the project? Giving the world-class Perth hotel – and, most importantly, its guests – a similarly world-class place to drink.
“If you’ve got one of the best hotels in Australia – if not the world – then why not aim to have one of the best hotel bars in the world?” says Connolly.
It’s a lofty statement, absolutely, but the Treasury Lounge & Bar 2.0 suggests that our protagonist isn’t just talking the talk.
Aesthetically, the lounge looks similar to what it did when COMO The Treasury welcomed its first guests in late 2015. Westraliana and objects d’art dot a series of three connecting rooms. Pangs of interior-design envy are a real and present danger. It’s all business as usual – and then you spy the bigger, boozier collection of bottles behind the bar. Featuring highly covetable whiskies, gins and vodkas, it’s the first sign the Treasury Lounge has lifted its sights.
Then there’s the new cocktail menu. On one side of the carte are signatures named after key Western Australian destinations. Broome, for instance, lends its name and sunny good vibes to a pepper-enriched gin and tonic. The Manjimup takes the flavour profile of Black Forest cake and reinterprets it using, among other things, whisky and truffle. The rest of the menu is all about “classics perfected” and features polished riffs on the Bloody Mary, Mimosa and other hotel bar classics. A Martini trolley lets guests enjoy some tableside theatre and polished patter from bartender Hadyn Carter and his team. A bottlekeep service is available for those who want to savour a bottle of something special slowly.
State Buildings’ head sommelier Emma Farrelly has chimed in with a largely Western Australian wine list that celebrates regional strengths: Margaret River chardonnay, say, or Great Southern riesling. Like the bar’s Australian-influenced high tea, the cellar is yet another way the precinct is throwing its support behind the home team.