On my last visit to Perth back in 2010 the charms of 399 won me over. The relatively new bar had the perfect mix of service, style and character. On my return to Perth it’s Five, from the same team that once again impresses.
Set amongst the sprawl of bars on Beaufort Street our taxi driver isn’t quite sure which bar we are talking about. Luckily I have the Meister, to guide us to Five. It’s a bigger venue than 399 but the service and charm isn’t diluted. Our barman is nothing short of excellent, pouring water as we take a seat at the bar, offering a small sample of the Feral IPA when we show interest and shares his knowledge of the beer being served. This would have scored highly with me alone. Then comes the clincher. We are directed to the bottled list which is more than just a handful of big name European beers and a few Aussies for good measure, which I’ve seen alot elsewhere. It’s a great list whether you are looking to keep it local or want to taste the wares of a who’s who of European brewing (i’m particularly excited to find Mikkeler) – it’s the best of both worlds.
It’s Victoria’s Mountain Goat, Hightail Ale for me and a taste of Scotland for Meister with a Brewdog 5am Saint.
Further visits to Five only go to cement my view that this is a true Perth gem. Our barman Shane, recognises me from the previous visit, talks confidently about the beer and is able to make local recommendations. You may want to ask him to do his “London walk”. It’s pretty accurate.
With Feral’s Hop Hog IPA on tap and Jerry Fraser, Perth’s Oyster King in residence there’s no choice opn our final visit but to settle in for a Sunday Session.
Five, Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley, Perth
I can’t resist the temptation of wheeling out the old Blogger cliche of a roundup of the year. A quick salute to the great and the good of 2011.
I realised when cobbling this roll call together there is so much that i’ve done this year that hasn’t made it to these pages yet. Hopefully something that will be put right soon. These are my highlights, but I’d like to know yours. You know where the comments box is!
Best Pub… All roads lead to Leather Lane. Craft Beer Co., has this one hands down. It’s the place I most eagerly anticipated visiting and to date have not been disappointed with. The ready availability of Mikkeller pushes it out front.
Best Beer (oh hell and Brewery)… Anything by Mikkeller. It was a close one. In another mood it would have been anything by The Kernel Brewery, but the Dane just pips this one.
Best Sunday Lunch… The Cross Keys, in Leeds. I’d had a spate of mediocre London lunches which had left me underwhelmed. It took a trip North to restore my faith. If Craft Beer Co or Mikkeller did a Sunday lunch they’d have possibly bagged this one as well.
Best Bar Snack… The Pearsons Arms in Whitstable. Long strips of deep fried Pigs Ears. What more can I say?
Best Blogger… Boggle About Beer. I’ll admit without shame that this is due to Boggle’s specific recommendations for San Francisco. More from Boggle in coming weeks with the return of the Pub Diaries Q&A.
Best Tweeter… @HERMANOPRIMERO the Mild loving half of Dos Hermanos. Says it as he sees it. If you find pleasure in curmudgeonly outbursts, this is for you.
Best Barfly… well there were too many in 2011, to pin the title on one… more about theses characters in upcoming posts.
So that was my 2011… how about yours?
There was a time when Cider was my drink of choice. When I would happily guzzle pints of Woodpecker and Strongbow until I felt queasy and yes now and again painted the pavement with my nights consumption. I was, I’ll add, a teenager. Back then, if you had placed most “proper” ciders in front of me I’d have laughed at the flat, cloudy pint and demanded my fizzy muck. I’m a little older and hope to say a little wiser but cider is pretty much still a mystery to me. Stood in the Cider Tap in Euston I’m flummoxed. Cue helpful American barmaid, who does a great job of making a recommendation and we are not displeased with the result. Perhaps she’s just glad that we don’t tell her she’s got an accent as seemed to be the standard response.
The sister of the Euston Tap is still a work in progress with banging heard from upstairs and stock piled in the upstairs area but I’m told (via Twitter) that it’s going to do for Cider what the Euston Tap opposite did for Craft Beer. If I was in pedantic mood I’d suggest that this may involve precariously manoeuvring pints of cider up a spiral staircase (the two Taps being opposite each other in identical gate houses). I’d actually say that the Cider Tap will do more than it’s established twin, which by no means was the first on the scene, but this feels like it is. Sure you can get a good range of Ciders else where but this has the craft vibe to it that is doubtless some part of the craft beer surge in recent years.
Although I won’t be diverted from the Euston Tap that often I’ll definitely be back for a little more education.
Cider Tap, Euston Road, NW1 2EF
A visit to Clause served to prove that not even free drinks can save a drinking experience. It was a slow Friday afternoon when Vernon suggested a few after work drinks and a catch up. Knowing little about Clause other than its name and location I soon formed a picture of what to expect: something on a par with a posh Slug and Lettuce. I wasn’t far wrong. Checking a review site the most I could derive apart from slow service, lack of draught and a wealth of “Essex totty” was that it was “a turd floating in the sewer of city bars”. Having always thought of myself as having an open mind I thought how bad could it be?
I arrived at Clause to find Vernon and another friend already settled at the bottom of the stairs with a bottle of cheap white wine. Ready for a quick exit (I hoped). Apparently the wine was free, which explained Vernon’s insistence on the venue. With the alternative overpriced bottled beer I poured a large glass. Immediate thoughts were that it would blend into the image of many bars that I have reluctantly agreed to meet friends in over the years (while dreaming of a decent pub). I’ll however have no trouble remembering it. Within an hour we had witnessed the same person fall from his chair three times, attempt a Haka, grab a female member of staff and finally exchange words with Vernon for repeatedly kicking his chair. At 6:30pm this is never a good sign, nor is the apparent blindness of the staff to his state.
Another bottle of now half priced wine followed as did the obligatory silver plate. Providing a £1 tip for a £7 bottle of wine was enough to turn a forced smile into a scowl. Ending the evening with a free jug of cocktails from the Essex girls on the next table (“we asked for Sex on the Beach but we got Tequila Sunrise”… A joke here would be just too easy) was enough to make me oblivious to the speaker above my head pumping out light RnB at a volume akin to standing next to an air raid siren.
The next morning I awoke with a thumping headache and ringing in my ears; not surprising when you think about mixing cheap white with even cheaper Tequila. There was a time when some free drinks were something to be applauded. In fact there has never be a substitute for good service, choice, music, clientelle… i could go on but I think the point is made. Would I describe it as “a turd floating in the sewer of city bars”? Not at all, I’d describe it as a City bar. I knew exactly what I was going to get. And I got it. If only I’d remember to get the aspirin as well.
Clause, 1 Lovat Lane, Monument, EC3R 8DT