Top 5 Roof Top Bars Perth

This is an updated post from December 2012 of the best roof top bars in Perth. I have to say, I love a roof top bar. Not only are they a fabulous way to use space, you are up high and often have magnificent views. Roof top bars reminds me of being in New York.  Here’s my list – Perth’s top five roof top bars:

  1. Mechanics’ Institute Bar
  2. Bob’s Bar at the Print Hall
  3. The Aviary
  4. The Green House
  5. The Conservatory

 

Special mention must go to a local of mine, The Cabin in Mt Hawthorn, and the Roof Top Movies – whilst not technically a bar, you can buy beer there and it is a super cool space. Venn Skydeck is also a very cute space available for functions.

1. Mechanics’ Institute Bar

 

Urban, grMechanics Instituteungy, warehouse feel with scaffolding, exposed brick and long plank tables – then inside their bar tenders are renowned for their cocktails. Entrance is via a back alley making this Northbridge roof top bar feel like you could be in Melbourne lane way. Best of all, you can order a Flipside Burger from the bar and it gets delivered to your table.  Beer is reasonably priced as are cocktails that range from $12 to $17.  It’s a busy place and the bar is often two deep on Friday evenings.  Despite the staff shaking and stirring cocktails for eager patrons, the efficient service means you are served quite quickly.  You can buy a Flipside burger from the joint underneath and they’ll deliver it upstairs when it’s ready – awesome and a cheap way to eat. A cool place that attracts a mixed age group. I like it.

Mechanics' Institute Bar on Urbanspoon

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2. The Print Hall – Bob’s Bar

 

Part of tBobs Bar Print Hallhe Brookfield Place complex in the city, the Print Hall comprises of several bars and restaurant in the old West Australian newspaper building. The roof top bar is an ode to Australia’s larrikin former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.  Bob’s Bar is popular with young hip city dressers.  The wine list was average, the service was good, the large ottomans, wooden outdoor furniture and roof top shrubs are nice. Love that part of the roof can close to keep the rain or cold out. Nice bar food. It’s a slick city space that charges Perth city prices.
Print Hall Fine Dining on Urbanspoon

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3. The Aviary – the Nest

This place certainly made a splash when it opened in November 2011. Queues would be the norm most nights of the week.

The Nest at The Aviary

The Nest at The Aviary

Artificial grass, big canvas umbrellas, high wooden tables, massive big screen (awesome on Melbourne Cup day!) and a killer view are the elements that set a über cool ambience at the Aviary.  In the Bird Cage which is downstairs and indoors, you’ll find a restaurant that has had mixed reviews. Expect to pay Perth city prices for a drink here. It’s a great place to go if you’re waiting for a table at Jamie’s Italian downstairs.

The Nest roof top bar is a great place for a drink when the sun is out and it’s not too hot.  On those baking Perth summer’s days, you might go looking like a cool chick, but there’s big chance you’ll leave as a roast chook!

The Aviary – Nest Rooftop Bar on Urbanspoon

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4.  The Greenhouse

 

The Greenhouse Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Greenhouse
Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Greenhouse sometimes gets overlooked as a roof top bar because it is better known as a restaurant.

The outside is alive with stacked planter boxes that make this place unique and, well, green.

Everything that was used to build the Greenhouse was from recycled material – the stools are converted from wooden packing crates to form seats and candle holders are empty jars.

The roof top bar is small and has a lovely feel to it.  Surrounded by planter boxes growing herbs that are used in the kitchen downstairs, the Greenhouse roof top bar sits in the shade of the tall buildings around it.

A great place to have a drink before eating downstairs.

The coffee is good too if you need a caffeine hit during the day.

Greenhouse on Urbanspoon

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5. The Conservatory

 

The Conservatory  Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Conservatory
Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Conservatory was the first cool roof top bar to open in Perth when it opened its doors and its roof in 2011.  That’s right, it has a super cool retractable roof.  Artificial grass gives the indoor space an outdoor feel and when the roof is open, well, I suppose you are outdoors. Kind of.

The stairs leading up require some skill to negotiate particularly if you are wearing high heels.  The wooden tables and outdoor BBQ give it a relaxed vibe.

It’s popular with the city set on a Friday evening. The restaurant has had mixed reviews and expect to pay Perth city prices for drinks.

It’s a pleasant space for a drink and a shared plate of nibbles. If I was really hungry, I’d choose other places to eat a main meal.

The Conservatory Rooftop Bar on Urbanspoon

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So what are Perth city prices?  Expect to pay $8 for a half pint of beer on tap, $10 or more for a Corona beer, $12-15 for a glass of wine, and $18-25 for cocktails.

Are there any other roof top bars in Perth you like?

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How no money led us to a fabulous food experience

Here we are in the historical centre of Olinda, a pretty UNESCO Heritage Site just north of Recife in north east Brazil. We were low on cash and needed a cash machine (ATM). Most of the small bars and eateries in Olinda only take cash and most are no more than someone selling beer from their lounge room window.

We walked up to the top of the hill in Olinda, a steep climb that was strenuous in the heat and high humidity.  Still, it not as hard as the walk to our apartment in Lake Como. The one cash machine there by Itau bank didn’t work with our card. Zorba refused to the use the generic cash machine located inside a small dodgy looking convenience store, so that meant a walk to the commercial area of Olinda.

Heat and humidity – two elements that don’t make a walk pleasant. The crappy broken pavement and the heavy traffic did nothing to improve the situation. We must’ve walked for 45 minutes or more before reaching a cash machine. Another Itau, and another failed attempt. Another 15 minutes walking, dodging potholes in the blaring heat, and we reached a Bank of Brasil, but being Saturday, it was closed and there were no cash machines. Sigh. I was hot and thirsty, and getting grumpy.

Ten more minutes trudging, sweating, and we reached another Itau bank that had six cash machines inside the foyer. The first cash machine displayed the same error message we’d seen before. The second cash machine did the same thing. This was not looking good. My patience was very rapidly running out. It didn’t make sense, Itau sponsor the World Cup and are Brasil’s major bank. Why wasn’t our card working?

In a huff, I snatched the card from Zorba, who up until this point had been the one trying to withdraw cash, I inserted the card in and upon the machine’s instruction I removed the card and did so with downward pressure. Hurrah! No error message. I had the magic touch. We withdrew some cash and left.

The colour of the ocean from a distance was a lovely aqua, however up close it’s evident that it’s polluted. That, and the signs warning of shark attacks quashed any thought of jumping in to cool off. There is no beach to speak of either, just some patches of hard sand in between retaining rock walls.

Shark attack warning signs

Shark attack warning signs

The thought of the long walk back was too much for me to bear, so I declared a beer stop. Zorba didn’t disagree and followed me as I lead us to a parallel main road along the coast. Along this road were several large looking Brazilian restaurants, some with outdoor tables, chairs and umbrellas set up across the road, on the ocean side, along some groins that jut out to sea.

The groin that juts out to sea

The groin that juts out to sea

After walking past the first two restaurants, we stopped at the third, a place called Masiqueira. It was packed full Brazilians enjoying a late lunch, and by the looks of things, lots to drink too. The restaurant setting was fairly basic, but that didn’t seem to hinder it’s popularity.

Marisqueira_2 It was 3.30pm, we’d not had lunch and our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8pm, so we decided to have something small to eat. The large menu was in Portuguese, but helpfully, it had some pictures. It must’ve taken fifteen minutes to try and decipher the menu and decide what to have, and in the end I just pointed at pictures – the waiters didn’t speak English.

I chose a small cup of caldinho feijouda, a blackbean soup (3.50 Real / A$1.50), some maxaceira empanada (9.50 Real / A$5), which were like polenta chips but made with manioc (like a white sweet potato), and four steamed crabs (15 Real / A$7.50). The crabs came with a board and bashing stick to crack the shell. They were very small and for me, too fiddly to be enjoyable. The small serve of bean soup contained a boiled quail egg. It was perfectly seasoned and my favourite thing on the table.

We loved this little find. Dishes were cheap, there was a view of the ocean, it was full of locals and the food was good. If we weren’t looking for a bank, we would have never have stumbled onto that place. An unexpected winner.

Verdict: Where the locals eat and worth seeking out for lunch if you look for an authentic Brazilian food experience 8/10

Have you had an unexpected and fabulous food experience on your travels?

 

FACT FILE

Masiqueira
Av Min Marcos Freire, 521, 53130 Olinda, Brazil
Tel: +55 081 3429-4432
http://www.restaurantemarisqueira.com.br
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marisqueira/111541652264799

 

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The Spotted Pig, New York

The Spotted Pig in New York is so hot right now – it was recommended by chef Gary Mehigan, from Australia’s MasterChef, and by another esteemed food, wine, and beer writer in Australia. A Michelin-starred gastro pub, the couple sitting next to us at Malaparte also said it was on their list of places to go. Reading reviews, many recommended avoiding the long queues by going for lunch instead of dinner, which is what we did.

NYC_Spotted Pig_2

The eclectic interior of The Spotted Pig, New York

Walking in, it felt like I’d entered a little pub in the English countryside. It was small, walls adorned with eclectic artwork, mainy depicting pigs. I felt a little sorry our friendly host who seated us straight away because we weren’t overly warm and friendly ourselves. We were tired and had been bickering about shopping versus eating. Of course, I opted for eating and by eating, I meant eating at The Spotted Pig in Greenwich, which involved a 20-minute walk back to almost where we had started, our hotel. Zorba was not impressed and made it very clear that he preferred to stay in where we were in Soho to shop. It’s got to be the only time ever he would rather shop than eat. So, after our host received our frosty return greeting, we asked him what beer they served. For me given I like lager, he recommended a Samuel Smith organic lager. It was clean, crisp and went down a treat. It reminded of Fat Yak in Australia and I enjoyed it very much. NYC_Spotted Pig_3 For entrée, we (rather, I) decided to share the gnudi with a sage and butter sauce, which is like gnocchi but made with sheep’s milk ricotta instead of potato. The little pillows of gnudi were gorgeously soft, light and fluffy inside. The sage and butter sauce was textbook perfect. It was a delicious dish. I was wishing I didn’t have to share it.

NYC_Spotted Pig_5

The delicious gnudi, much like gnocchi but made with ricotta, not potato, served with a burnt sage butter sauce

Upon our waiter’s recommendation, and because the menu wasn’t that appealing and we were finding it difficult to decide on a main, we choose the Cubano sandwich with a side of shoestring fries.

NYC_Spotted Pig_7

The cuban sandwich. It was fine, if erring on the ‘meh’ side of okay

The serve of fries was ridiculously large, the potato thinly cut, well seasoned and crunchy. I enjoyed them.

NYC_Spotted Pig_6

The shoestring fries were a winner

The Cubano sandwich was okay. I won’t say it blew my socks off. A ciabata with melted cheese tender meat and pickle. I think the Cubano is something New Yorkers love –  just like they love bagels and pastrami – and I don’t get it. It wasn’t unenjoyable, but the flavour combination wasn’t to my palate. However, the use of quality ingredients was evident. NYC_Spotted Pig_4

Zorba on the other hand was quite cross that a sandwich and a beer cost us US$96. That wasn’t the case as such; we had the gnudi, fries, beers and sparkling water.

Verdict: A good meal but didn’t quite live up the hype. Perhaps we ordered badly, perhaps the dinner menu is better, or perhaps our expectations were too high. In any case, 8/10.
The Spotted Pig on Urbanspoon
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FACT FILE

The Spotted Pig
314 W. 11th St, Greenwich Village, New York
Tel: +1 212-620-0393

The menu

The menu

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New York: Soho House, the coolest place to stay

Zorba continues to remind me that he found us the coolest place in New York to stay, Soho House.

When we arrived at Soho House at 9.30pm after a long flight from Milano, we didn’t know much about it.  All we knew was that it was a Mr & Mrs Smith recommended hotel located in the cool Meat Packing District.  Rather than venturing out jet lagged, we just decided to go to the roof top bar for a drink, on the recommendation of the concierge, Jamie.

Stepping out of the lift, I felt completely underdressed in my MacPac trousers and polo shirt – this place was like a scene out of Sex and the City. In fact, we found out later that Sex and the City had filmed an episode here.

Pool roof top bar at Soho House New York

Pool roof top bar at Soho House New York

Let me paint you a picture – beautiful young people dressed on-trend in the latest designer garments, impeccably groomed and perfectly poised. The decor was a cross between Hampton’s beach and French chic with big white and blue cushions everywhere. There were views of Manhattan’s skyline beyond, and a pool with perfectly sculpted bodies swimming in it – mind you, it was almost 10pm, but that didn’t seem to matter.

Right there and then I wished I had made the effort to do more than a swipe of lipstick. Oh whatever. After a quick look around, we sat at the bar and had a beer, not talking to each other at all as we oogled the activity around us.

Screenshot 2014-06-18 17.50.11

Soho House is a members only club and hotel. It first started in London as a result of West End theatre actors and crew not having anywhere open to go for a drink after their shows.  As such, membership is restricted to those in the arts / media / creative industries. There is a longer list of those waiting for membership, than members themselves. The annual fee is US$3,000 and for that, you have access to the coolest roof top bar in town, complete with pool, the club room, restaurant, a cinema, a day spa supplied with gorgeous Cow Shed products, and there’s a gym / fitness centre around the corner.

Our room, whilst classed as ‘small’, was amazing. The bed was huge, soft, and made up with the finest linen. The bathroom was stocked with five different Cow Shed shower gels and a fantastic array of complementary products that I would actually use. The decor was awesome – big red velvet arm chair, stressed / recycled wood panelling, antique phone, and brass bedside lamps.

As an added bonus of booking through Mr & Mrs Smith, we had a butler who made us a cocktail in our room while we got ready to go out. We didn’t know that he only does this between certain hours – and we were out during our first two nights. We did enjoy a cocktail in our room on our last night though, which was pretty cool.

Other things worth mentioning:

  • Awesome mini bar with 375ml bottles of spirits (not mini one-serves)
  • Nespresso machine and free nespresso pods – yay!
  • Chocolate chip cookies each day
  • small bottle of water each day
  • Free New York Times delivered every morning
  • Digital radio / alarm clock
  • Turn down service
  • Use of thongs (flip flops) for pool, and fluffy robes

The Club has rules:

  • No cameras
  • No mobile phones
  • No corporate suits
  • Smart dress at all times

The no mobile rule I really liked – people were actually talking to each other in the club bar. The no camera rule meant that I had to ask permission from Soho House to use their photos, which was granted.

Because the hotel and club rooms were so awesome, we didn’t feel the need to have to go out at night. Why would we when we were staying in the coolest place in NYC?

On our second night, we got dressed up in our new clothes that we had bought after a marathon day shopping, and sat at the club room bar and chatted to a very friendly Irish bar tender who has worked there for years. When quizzed about Soho House, he was very diplomatic, but putting two and two together, what he didn’t say was that they get a lot of wankers in there. As you would expect with an arts industry members only club.

We had a light dinner at the bar – delicious avocado hummus dip with fresh vegetables (craving veggies – have not been eating enough of them), and croquettes.  Simple, delicious, and not expensive.

NYC_SohoHouse_15

The opening match of the World Cup was on during our last day – so we watched it in the roof top bar and saved ourselves the hassle of having to get into one of the packed pubs showing the game. We had table service and free caipirinha cocktails – happy days!

NYC_SohoHouse_31

It was a truly awesome hotel and it was hard to leave.

Perhaps if we’d known the nightmare we would endure after leaving Soho House, perhaps we wouldn’t have left!  Read about our Shattered World Cup Dream here.

 

FACT FILE

Soho House New York
29-35 9th Avenue, NYC (Meat Packing District, between 13th and 14th)

Book through Mr & Mrs Smith for added bonuses such as ‘one while changing’ butler cocktail service

Three nights cost A$1,450 (but everywhere in NYC is expensive. Even the 3-star hotels are expensive)

 

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Postcards from Lyon

Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital and the third largest city, is a pretty and easy place for visitors to navigate. Everything is walking distance.

Lyon_Postcards04

Here are some postcards from Lyon.

Two rivers run through the city – the Rhône and the Saône. Staying somewhere between the two is a good choice because it’s easy to walk everywhere.

Lyon_Postcards03

There are three main shopping streets between the two rivers that are wide and pedestrianised. Walking through Lyon you’ll see large ‘places’ or squares, parks and gardens, statues and public art, and even an old-fashioned carousel.

The old centre is bustling with cafés, bars, and Lyon’s bistros known as bouchons that spill out onto the pavement.

 

Markets

The Halles Gourmet Food Market is a feast for the eyes, as well as for your stomach. Uncover in a mall, you’ll fine a hundred different types of cheeses, patisseries displaying sweet temptations, neat rows of colourful macarons, salamis of different sizes hanging above deli counters, butchers offering cuts of meat from every part of the animal, oysters locked tight in their shells packed into ice baskets, waiting to be prised open, terrines, pates, parfaits, quiches, pies, olives, and stacked fruit and vegetables stalls.

There are also wine bars and cafes within Halles. It’s well laid out, clean and organised – very French. Sunday brunch is a popular time to go to Halles. During our Saturday mid-afternoon visit, we almost had the place to ourselves.

Verdict: Lyon is a worthy stop over for two days or so, particularly so if you are a foodie

FACT FILE

Halles de Lyon
102 Cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon, Francia
+33 4 78 62 39 33

 

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