Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work – Aristotle
Bob’s Bar – Introduction
I had no idea before I sat down with Seb Levy from Bob’s Bar that the venue was so heavily centered around craft beer, and having never met Seb before, I was equally oblivious to the guy’s passion for the amber nectar. I guess the first clue as to the focus of the business is in the name. Conceived as a tribute to Australia’s third longest serving prime minster, and famously the holder of a world record for drinking beer, Bob Hawke, Bob’s Bar sits atop the Print Hall and Apple Daily venues. As one of only a handful of rooftop bars in Perth, one could be forgiven for thinking that its physical location would be its primary selling point. Not so.
Seb loves his beer, but not any old sort. As a connoisseur of the stuff, this venue manager is on a mission to keep the mass produced brews well away from his bar. Focusing instead on unpasturised niche brands with names like Stone Brewing from San Diego and also Renaissance Brewing from Marlborough New Zealand. Seb seeks to provide a relaxed environment, where those looking for that something different can come in the knowledge that they’ve got a beer nut like Seb in their corner. With more than 20 craft beers always on offer, there’s bound to be something here for even the most discerning of aficionados, and in addition to the regular action, there are also recurring events such as the recently held American Craft Beer Week to further satisfy your hunger for the crafty hops. These mini festivals also involve temporary, themed food items to complement the liquid enticements on offer, so make sure you take advantage of those as well.
Bob’s Bar – drinks, tunes and food
To reach Bob’s Bar you first have to get yourself to the top of the building, and for the aerobically-challenged amongst you, you’ll be glad to hear that there is a mechanical solution to this situation, which is handy ‘cause those stairs can be a mission. So as you exit the lift you arrive into this rooftop oasis surrounded by the mix of old and new that is Brookfield Place. On those warmer Perth days you’ll be thankful for the mist sprays that envelope the venue and work in combination with the icy cool drink in your hand to keep your core temperature at a pleasant level.
If beer isn’t your thing or you’re feeling a little adventurous, you could opt for the cocktail of the house, affectionately termed The Bob-zie. With five different types of rum and a splash of juice thrown in for good measure, you can be sure that things are about to get interesting after a couple of these babies. Now that the party is in full swing, you’ll find the crowd on Saturdays tends to be younger than the more corporate crowd that frequent the venue during the week. Looking after the party tunes on the weekends is the DJ trifecta of DJ Riki, DJ Vicktor and stalwart of the Perth house music scene, Saul Bliss. The decks kick off at 6pm on those evenings with a blend of pop and house, usually starting with the former and morphing into the latter. If you’re looking for a bit of a cruisier vibe, you might want to head down here on a Thursday night instead, and catch DJ Franjah and some of the reggae beats he has on offer.
But it’s not all beer, cocktails and party tunes at Bob’s Bar, something that becomes apparent when you catch sight of the awesome culinary delights that are on offer. The theme here is Mexican street food and the portions are just perfect for that kickback vibe that is so prevalent up here on the roof. While the crispy fried fish, Achiote pulled pork, and Adobo Duck soft tacos are perfect for sharing, you can’t go past the venue’s take on the kebab, the cheekily named Kebob.
Bob’s Bar – history
With the craft beer and the Mexican flavouring, the venue is markedly different than how it was in its infancy. Back when it launched in late 2012 Bob’s Bar was really just an extension of Print Hall. Following the arrival of Seb in late 2013 however, and with guidance in the form of local beer judge, home brewer and venue manager of another craft beer institution, the Sail and Anchor in Fremantle, Matt Marinich, it was decided that a new identity needed to be forged. The staff shed the more conservative attire that is de-rigueur among their Print Hall colleagues on the ground level, and replaced it with a more casual appearance, and an attitude to match.
Bob’s Bar – specials
This new direction has also bore witness to an upsurge in lunchtime trade, as a mixture of suits and others increasingly began to take advantage of the unique locale and more laid back atmosphere. The increase in lunchtime patronage may also be attributed to the food specials that take place at this point in the day, such as Bob’s take on a Japanese classic, the Mexican Bento Box. For $20 you get a bit of everything plus a drink to wash it all down with. Mmm…perfect! Continuing with the specials theme, if you get down to the venue early on a Saturday, (they start at midday and often run out by late arvo), you can have a crack at the lucky dip growlers. The idea is that instead of sticking with your tried and trusted brew of choice, you expand your horizons and open your palate to a whole new world of unheard of craft beers, and at just $20 per growler, which works out at about $5 a pint, it’s bonza value too!
Bob’s Bar – conclusion
Obviously due to its location and design, an open air rooftop venue such as Bob’s Bar does what it does best during the nine months of summer that we have here in Perth. However, just because the weather isn’t as consistently fantastic from June to August, that’s no reason not to pay the guys a visit. With awnings and heating covering most of the venue, as well as a new lighting system, it’ll be just like summer never left.
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