Perth's nightlife precinct has more than just great bars going for it. Northbridge has plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops to spent time in too.

Northbridge only became a proper suburb in 1982. Before that, it was simply thought of as the part of the CBD north of Horseshoe Bridge – hence the name. Until recently, the bridge was the only major link between the city and this northern precinct, which were formerly separated by train lines.

Yagan Square changed all that in 2018. The project sent the trains underground, brought a swathe of new businesses to the area and made moving between the two precincts quicker and easier.

Before the trains, freshwater swamps covered the area. After convicts drained the swamps in the mid-19th century, Northbridge became a viable spot for the construction of hotels, hostels and boarding houses. That period saw the founding of iconic pubs such as the Brass Monkey (originally the Great Western Hotel), which in turn led to Northbridge – and William Street especially –becoming a renowned spot for drinking and revelry.

That image persists today. Northbridge still has the best and most diverse choices for a drink and a party in Perth – along with a number of strip clubs and sex shops, which have given the area a (somewhat deserved) reputation for sleaze.

The suburb is almost as well known for its multicultural dining. Prior to the First World War, a wave of Greek and Macedonian immigrants established a foothold here. After the Second World War, an influx of Italians – and all the cafes and grocers that entailed – joined in.

So regardless of your purpose or the time of day, you’re never too far away from a good coffee, great meal or a stiff drink here.

Restaurants

  • This spot right next to the Perth Cultural Centre channels New York’s swift pre- and post-show suppers. Snack on Italian cicchetti (“snacks”) or stick around for a full meal.

  • Baan means “home” in Thai, which is how you’ll feel at this street-food haven. Go cutlery-free with betel leaf wraps and pork skewers. Or order a show-stopping whole fish grilled in a banana leaf.

  • Fine, fresh, fast fusion.

  • This heavyweight izakaya is one of Perth’s best. Perch at the seven-seat sushi bar where chefs slice sashimi and sear local Wagyu. The timber-clad dining room is an equally sleek spot for immaculate Japanese mains and sake shots.

  • An ambitious “fast and furious” eatery inside The Rechabite.

  • Indian street food with an Australian edge.

  • Hit up this Southern honkytonk dive bar from the owner of Sneaky Tony’s. Choose from over 130 rye whiskies and bourbons (the knowledgeable bar staff can help with that). And enjoy diner staples from their late-night kitchen, be it a classic cheeseburger or juicy fried chicken.

  • Generous share plates, dessert pizzas and creative cocktails have kept loyal Moon landers coming back since 1991. At this retro diner, you’ll also find a regular schedule of live music, jazz shows and poetry nights.

  • Naples-style wood-fired pizza.

  • Tequila and tacos every night of the week.

  • Greek street food served out of Brika's takeaway window.

  • An ode to one of Northbridge’s original immigrant communities.

  • Take shelter in this understated restaurant and bar, which punches well above its weight.

  • This spacious William Street wine bar with an outdoor spritz garden serves up Italian wine and house-made pasta.

  • An intimate, open-plan restaurant where you can see it all happening.

  • A neighbourhood coffee joint beside Hyde Park that serves brunch in the morning and pizza at night.

  • A permanent home for the burger pop-up that’s a "love letter" to fast-food chains of the ’80s and ’90s.

  • This Cantonese stronghold boasts some of Perth’s best Chinese barbeque.

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  • It’s cheap, cheerful and might just make the city’s best chicken rice.

Cafes

  • A cafe that sells coffee, jaffles and single-speed bikes? It’s a thing.

  • A tiny laneway coffee shop with a big heart. Go for standout single-origin coffee from Twin Peaks and Daylight Coffee Roasters, or try the Viennese “einspanner” coffee. Plus, flaky croissants and Holy Bagel’s perfectly doughy bagels.

  • A heritage building transformed from chemist to cafe, with counter salads, sandwiches and cakes.

  • Edible flowers beautify every dish at this vegetarian cafe.

  • A tiny kiosk slinging the best toasties in town.

  • The little cafe with a big stature.

  • Stunning cakes are the hallmark of this not-for-profit cafe.

  • Anything goes at this breakfast-to-dinner eatery.

Bars

  • A crystal-clear sound system, acoustically treated walls and an extensive record collection. Perth’s first hi-fi bar is a true haven for music lovers.

  • Most weekends there is a swarm of drinkers soaking up rays on the deck or under the giant fig tree. Have a pint and pub meal, or use this spot as a launch pad for a night exploring Northbridge.

  • Burgers downstairs, cocktails upstairs.

  • Keep things traditional with a pie and Guinness on tap, or go off-piste with new-wave Midori Splices, curried Scotch eggs and other new-school, old-school pleasures.

  • Come for the oasis-like courtyard at this lush cocktail and beer garden. Stay for the sharp cocktails, hearty burgers, and cheese and charcuterie boards. All from the veteran publican behind Sneaky Tony’s and Alabama Song.

  • Follow the laneway off William Street to find one of Perth’s favourite small bars. Excellent cocktails, craft beers, bespoke spirits and wine await you inside. If you’re feeling hungry, there are also antipasti plates and generous plates of spaghetti from Francoforte next door.

  • A bar inspired by the bold colours and sounds of 80s Miami. Come for the neon and future-funk soundtrack, stay for equally colourful cocktails and delicious South American bar snacks.

  • This double-act puts of-the-moment wines and strong neighbourhood vibes front and centre. Chef Chris Howard is plating up imaginative remixes of classics such as hasselback celeriac – a riff on the classic baked potato – and pickled mussels and clams shrouded in sheets of thinly shaved octopus terrine.

  • The pop-up bar so good, it lived on.

  • A multi-faceted small bar where you can score oysters, beef brisket and wings to accompany your drink.

  • A cavernous live-music venue and ‘50s-style diner which stay open until 5am.

  • An inner-city bar channelling tropical good times.

  • At breweries, experience counts. And a master brewer came out of retirement to help found this one.

  • An unpretentious live-music spot that pumps most nights.

Shops

  • There are only two things to buy at this little bakery: coffee and picture-perfect Portuguese custard tarts, baked fresh every 15 minutes throughout the day.

  • Serving continental groceries since 1936. Not to mention a contender for Perth's best conti roll.

  • The classic Italian dessert goes new-school.

  • Home the southern hemisphere’s best apple strudel.

  • A sophisticated womenswear store stocking distinctive, wearable pieces.

  • An accessible streetwear store for men and women.

  • An old-school continental store, where you can pick up cheese, curry powder or just stay for a coffee.

  • A quirky store with retro-inspired gear and adorable gifts.

  • The go-to for graffiti lovers.

  • Designer gifts and homewares for men and women.