Words by Gail Williams
A Subi resident walks into a bar. Or is it Monet’s garden? Without saying a word the bartender pours a generous glass of La Violetta riesling while the punter sinks back into a comfy banquette set against a floral background worthy of the French impressionist. “Would you like your usual ham hock croquettes with that?” asks the bartender.
Such is the welcome for many customers at Your Local
, the brand new Rokeby Road bar modelled on a London gastropub, and where friendly banter is the side serve with drinks.
How so, when the paint is barely dry on the huge refurbishment of the old Spruce Goose – previously Purl Bar – which was rescued from decay by Richard and Sarah Bellamy after eyeing it off for seven years while running their nearby interior design and commercial fit-out business, Bellfort?
Let’s start with two words. Sean Cassin. He’s Your Local’s manager who hails from Kilkenny in Ireland, but is also a Subiaco hospitality stalwart, having done a long stint at the Irish pub up the road, now known as Fenway. “Subi people are really nice people,” he says. “I have gotten to know a lot of them over the years and am now welcoming old customers – for lunch, business meetings, Friday night drinks. The response has been amazing.” Securing the services of a popular local was a coup for Perth-born Sarah and her English husband, Richard, who relocated to Perth 12 years ago after meeting and marrying in London.
They were itching to get their hands on the run-down, darkened premises to create a light, bright, vibrant meeting place in Subiaco with the emphasis on local – in produce, wines, beers and spirits. They needed a friendly, familiar face front of house and a well-respected chef who knows his local produce and suppliers. Sean was a natural fit for the former and Nigel Samuel, who has worked at The Camfield and The Stables was a no-brainer for the latter. Then followed blood, sweat and tears as the Bellamys rolled up their sleeves to transform the dark and dingy interior with no kitchen or cooking equipment to speak of. They worked many weekends to create the warm, welcoming environment it is today with polished concrete flooring, comfy seating, potted olive trees, photographs of Subiaco icons and walls splashed with florals and scenes from local parks.
Says Richard: “The location looking out on to the street and over the Subi Hotel is ideal.” Sarah adds: “It had good bones. The building dates back to 1899 and we think it was a hardware shop. Originally there was a strip of three small shops here.” The couple recruited interior designer, Jenny Bruce, to perform her magic and staff say that punters react with awe and surprise when looking up at the colourfully painted cornices in the ceiling. As for the food the word “local” pops up again. Nigel is producing simple dishes such as steak tartare, coronation chicken (a British royal dish invented by Constance Spry) and a modern take on korma lamb shoulder. “I have built up a very good relationship with our best WA suppliers,” he says. “We source scallops from Abrolhos Islands, Manjimup smoked chicken and La Delizia latticini hand-crafted cheese.”
The drinks list comprises boutique labels from around the State among interstate and overseas favourites. Craft beers and spirits from local distilleries also feature strongly. The prices here may be a touch higher than at your local bowling club. But the vibe, surroundings and attentive staff – and no QR code mobile ordering platform – make Your Local an ideal local for any demographic.