Ah Wolf Lane, we love this space. As former Melbournites, any cityscape that reminds us of our hometown always makes us feel good inside. So this laneway with its bars and street art hits the spot for us every time. And tucked away down the cobblestones is the multi-purpose venue Cheeky Sparrow.
This place has more skins than an onion which may have something to do with the fact that it keeps such long opening hours, and as a result it gets such a diverse clientele. The early sparrow catches the worm, as it kicks things off Mon-Fri from 6.30am. This has got to be one of the earliest opening bars in the whole of Perth! On Mondays they’re open until 12pm and the menu is fairly limited. You can have coffee, coffee, or yes, you guessed it, coffee. Tues-Fri you can grab some breakky until 10.30am, lunch from 11.30am, and the kitchen is open all day, usually ‘till about 9pm. The weekends are different again with the venue running from 3pm until 12am on Sat (later license pending), and closed all day Sunday. And if you fancy a boogie, get down on a Friday and hear a selection of retro grooves, interspersed with a sprinkling of random sounds thrown in for good measure.
So is it a café or a wine bar? General Manager Bryce Bateman is keen to avoid pigeonholing the space and instead states that he see the place as neither, although it performs the activities of both very well. It’s a relaxed casual vibe, reminiscent of, as Bryce puts it, “Nana’s living room”. Now I don’t know about Bryce’s granny’s house, but if my nana had a house that was decked out like Cheeky Sparrow perhaps I would have spent more time there! Those that do frequent the venue are about as diverse as you can get for a space such as this. During the week you have your business types and students; at night you have the pre-show crowd popping in for a quick bite and a drink, while hipsters can be found there at almost any time of the week.
Having worked at a number of other Perth venues including the Hilton and The Precinct, Bateman has been a part of the team for the past two years, and has served as the GM for the latter half of this period. As well as making sure everything keeps humming along nicely, Bateman also takes care of the wine list. When asked as to the influences regarding the vino selection, he unashamedly tells me that the list is basically a selection of wines that he likes, so it’s a good thing he likes good wines! There is a strong focus on WA varieties at Cheeky Sparrow, a deliberate move by Bateman to showcase what he regards as the state’s world-class reserves. You’ll also find a large contingent of U.S. varieties, especially the whites, although the reds you’ll find could be from anywhere. If you’re looking for something with a bit more kick to it then make sure you check out the house cocktail; The Cheeky Espresso. The bar team have tried a few versions over the past couple of years, but in its current incarnation you’ll find Patron, Agnostura Butterfly, cinnamon whisky, sugar, and of course coffee. Now if that won’t blow away the cobwebs then nothing will!
The food here is just like the ambience, relaxed. The kitchen team serve up a continuous selection of pizzas, salads, and a bunch of dishes that are just perfect for sharing, such as our favourite, the house made pork & apple sausage rolls. Yummo! The emphasis on the food here is that it can be obtained quickly, which is especially handy when you want to grab a steak sandwich to go on your lunch break. Just call the venue, place your order and pickup with no waiting around … perfect! Make sure you keep in mind the half price pizza deal available from 11.30am every Weds.
Upstairs at Cheeky Sparrow is generally reserved for functions so it sees most of its action on the weekends, while the ground level is where the majority of the hustle and bustle happens. Big comfy booths are complimented by tables and chairs, while the alfresco area is a perfect vantage point to doing some Wolf Lane people watching. If you’re looking for a function space for up to 50 of your friends then this alfresco spot is also definitely worth checking out.
I had to ask about the quirky name and I’m glad I did. Apparently one of the original owners was none other than former Dockers superstar Peter Bell. In the process of looking for suitable names the former dual All Australian and his business partner were using Cheeky Sparrow as a joke until they found something else. So the story goes the name accidently found its way onto some official paperwork and the rest as they say is history.