Gary Beadle is a veteran of the Perth bar scene, having been responsible for the design of Lot Twenty, Five Bar and 399 (he’s still a part-owner of the first two). His latest venture, Tiki as FK, replaces Matches on James Street, and is next-door neighbour to Connections. Don’t expect to find a room full of uncomfortable rattan chairs, though. A sole puffer fish is the only homage to traditional tiki decoration and the bar has a distinctly ’60s feel.
“I’m really proud of how the room has come out,” says Beadle. “I do all my own design for the venues. I like drawing and painting and I’m quite creative. I’ve been working in bars around the world for 30-odd years and I lay out the room in a functional as well as a pretty way.”
Having grown up in London, Beadle’s take on hospitality remains fixed on the concept of the English garden pub where punters stand around and chat over a pint of beer. “The rooms we create are made for people to be happy in,” he says. “It’s nice to be contributing to the opposite of what social media is doing to our society.”
The bar promises a changing cocktail list with no drink above $18. The menu includes a few tongue-in-cheek tributes including the Broadfield Swizzle and Coughlin’s Law, a modern twist on the tiki-classic Scorpion in honour of Bryan Brown’s character in Cocktail. (Beadle cites the film as an essential part of any young bartender’s education). A fairy floss machine ups the fun level, and the bar’s exotic glassware is proving to be popular. (Beadle: “It seems to be disappearing, I’m sure everyone’s having nice parties with it right now. Such is life.”).
Under the constraints of small bar licensing, Tiki as FK closes at midnight, which both Beadle and his customers are finding frustrating.
“People seem to have got it in their heads that we’re a late-night bar, and they get upset like we’re doing it on purpose,” he says. “We could apply for an extended trading permit but that’s a year of your life. I’ve written my fair share of liquor licensing applications, and it’s demoralising the way you get treated by the police and licensing. That’s the sort of thing that holds Perth back.”
Tiki as FK’s balcony area faces directly into the city, and specially made grills have been installed to keep guests fed. Food is served on skewers, in an aim to complete Beadle’s vision for the bar and replicate a feeling familiar to many WA travellers.
“It’s like when you get to Bali: you get your chicken satays and your Pina Colada, and you feel like you’re on holiday,” says Beadle. “It’s a space where you can have a moment to yourself and feel like everything is alright with the world."
And yes, you do pronounce it Tiki as Fuck.
Tiki as FK
91a James Street, Northbridge