Perth Clubbing Guide

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Being the farthest-flung city in the world has its advantages. Perth is exalted for its firing music scene, having fostered a long list of successful exports (that band Pendulum is doing alright, don’t you think?) and a fiercely devoted drum & bass following.

The west also excels in the club department, from the world-renowned Ambar to the more intimate haunts pushing the underground strains of dance music. Perth might get missed on some tours, but its unbridled party spirit could teach the East Coast a thing or two.


Ambar

A club so iconic that Lee Coombs made a track dedicated to it, Ambar remains unchallenged, a decade after its doors opened. It’s the only Australian club to have made it on to DJ Mag’s ‘Top 100 Club Polls’ in 2011, which should give some idea of its international renown.

Despite its bookings expanding to fidget and electro in recent years, Ambar will always fly the breakbeat flag highest. Regular fixtures Japan 4 keep pulling in a devoted crowd, while guests like Elite Force, Proxy, Don Rimini, AC Slater, The Aston Shuffle and Meat Katie have ensured 2011 is as strong as ever. You can’t mess with Ambar.

WHERE: 104 Murray St, Perth


Amplifier/Capitol

Amplifier is rightly regarded as a hub of live music in Perth, with a no-nonsense set-up perfect for bands. With its entry down a laneway off Murray Street, this is a venue designed for watching, not being seen. Friendly Fires, Mouse On Mars and Infusion are just some of the dance-y acts to have whipped up the stage in recent years.

Its next door neighbour Capitol is equally adaptable, alternating between club line-ups and band shows with ease. When the gigs are done, the weekends find local DJs at both venues spinning indie, ‘80s classics, retro disco and other floor-filling gear until the wee hours.

WHERE: 383 Murray Street, Perth [AMPLIFIER] 393 Murray Street, Perth [CAPITOL]


The Bakery

If your tastes err towards the arty or alternative, you will find plenty to love about The Bakery. The ‘multi-arts venue’ is run by Artrage, a WA not-for-profit association committed to artists and performers across a range of disciplines.

The Bakery houses galleries, performance studios, a bar, gig spaces and a licensed outdoor courtyard. It’s also where you’ll find some of the most exciting electronic acts to pass through Perth.

To give you some context, 2011 at The Bakery started with the New Years Day line-up of Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Hudson Mohawke. Other recent visitors include Mayer Hawthorne, Peanut Butter Wolf and Mount Kimbie, so you can see why it’s considered a treasure.

WHERE: 233 James Street, Northbridge


Double Lucky

Double Lucky is leading the way for a small bar revolution in Perth. Venture down the graffiti-lined alley and you’ll find yourself in a warm and welcoming room decked out with “furniture stolen from our grandma’s shed”, as the owners put it. Pitched at a crowd of over-25s, Double Lucky is also showing its colours as a venue for the deeper strains of electronic music. Case in point: the intimate show with Germany’s Kollektiv Turmstrasse in May 2011. One to watch (and savour).

WHERE: 11/663 Newcastle Street, Leederville


The East End Bar & Lounge

Bucking the trend of ‘beer barns’ in Freo, The East End prides itself on an opulent fit-out and a strict dress code. Once inside, though, it’s all about getting stuck into cocktails from the 1920s vintage bar and venturing towards the dancefloor. Already in 2011 The East End has hosted Bang Gang, Tame Impala DJs, Owl Eyes and more, so you can see how they roll.

WHERE: 189 High Street, Fremantle


Fly By Night

Now, the Fly is not the place to roll up in search of dance music – however on occasion the heritage-listed building will host an act familiar to the inthemix pages. It’s a not-for-profit community musician’s club and performance space, and each night offers something different, from soul revues to electro-pop. Many of Perth’s most successful exports have started out at the club so it’s a good place to seek out stars in the making.

WHERE: 1 Holdsworth Street, Fremantle


Geisha Bar

Northbridge haunt Geisha Bar calls itself “unashamedly elitist”, which should give you an idea of its door policy. Luckily Geisha also prides itself on its musical identity, with the deeper strains of techno and house particularly favoured.

The guys behind the Democracy parties have thrown some memorable nights there, and notable club guests have included Robert Hood, Gui Boratto, Joris Voorn and Gabriel Ananda. If those are the kind of names that get you hot under the collar, Geisha is a club to keep on your radar.

WHERE: 135a James Street, Northbridge


Metro City

To put it simply, lots happens at Metro City. With a capacity of over 2000, it’s where the big names play, from top-tier DJs to major live acts. The stage looks out to a wide dancefloor and tiered levels above it, giving the room a soaring atmosphere. When it’s packed and going off – like for Andy C in early 2011 – the energy is unbeatable. De La Soul, Cut Copy and Gareth Emery have been some of the year’s diverse guests, and Metro City is the chosen stop for Above & Beyond on their Group Therapy tour.

WHERE: 146 Roe Street, Northbridge


Metropolis Fremantle

Metropolis Fremantle is home to ‘Perth’s biggest club night’ Limelite, which takes up residence every Friday. House and electro rule the dancefloor thanks to guests like Afrojack, Tommie Sunshine, Calvin Harris and The Stafford Brothers, and the crowds flock accordingly. Other nights are more of a mixed bag, with live tours and festival sideshows making use of the main room. From the ‘water’ level you can look down on the madness down below, adding to the superclub feel.

WHERE: 58 South Terrace, Fremantle


Newport Hotel

There’s always something happening at the Newport Hotel, a heritage-listed Freo institution. The Front Bar is regularly vibing to dubstep, breaks and drum & bass, with line-ups that foster homegrown talent. Look out for Amen Brother!, a fortnightly party committed to ‘bringing the funk back to Freo’. Aussie hip hop and up-and-coming live acts are also a recurring fixture, with good-value beers and a relaxed atmosphere making the Newport a favourite with locals.

WHERE: 2 South Terrace, Fremantle


Shape Bar

Shape Bar caters to dance devotees of various persuasions, with trance, drum & bass, dub, techno and drum & bass just some of the variations on its musical menu. The club’s diversity might just be its secret weapon, attracting a cluey crowd ready to get down in unpretentious surrounds.

Now approaching its fourth birthday, Shape has hosted DJ Premier, Nero, Charlie May, Alex Smoke, LTJ Bukem, Theo Parrish and even The Mighty Boosh’s Naboo! That’s something worth bragging about.

WHERE: 237 Hay Street, East Perth


Villa

With Ambar’s dream-team Boomtick behind it, Villa bills itself as ‘arguably the most versatile venue in Perth’. The building was refurbished and opened as Villa in 2009, with special attention paid to sound and design.

Regularly switching between a live venue and a club, there’s no predictable pattern to who’ll be taking the stage. Villa has got just the right size and feel for a live act like Miami Horror, Shapeshifter or Pharoahe Monch, before transforming the next night into a heaving club night headlined by the likes of The Stanton Warriors or Gtronic.

WHERE: 187 Stirling Street, Perth


Have we missed your favourite club? Let us know in the comments field below and we’ll get onto it!