1920s- ALL THE JAZZ
The jazz was fast and unpredictable, and the parties were all about glamour and excess… Well, don’t worry – the roaring 20s don’t have to be dead.
Inspiration The Great Gatsby, Louis Armstrong, Greta Garbo
Art deco The 1920s aesthetic of luxury and glamour was also expressed through architecture and design. Art deco was the flavour – think rectangles, decorative designs and bold embellishments. Spot art deco buildings peppered around our city, from the vivid colours of the Windsor, Luna, and Cygnet cinemas, to the iconic Raffles Hotel, La Vie and Astor Theatre.
Jazz Joints Alcohol wasn’t the only attraction of speakeasies; late-night jazz performers made flappers dance wildly to The Charleston. Watch musical mayhem at
The Jazz Cellar on a Friday evening – enter via a telephone booth in Mt Hawthorn.
Jazz vocalists also light up the sophisticated dining room at The Laneway Lounge,
while local talent can be discovered at The Ellington any night of the week.
Speakeasies Prohibition gave rise to bars below ground, away from the public eye. Head down a back alley in Chinatown, and whisper a password to get into Sneaky Tony’s. Paying homage to the golden age, Bobèche has staff dressed to impress, plus an ornate bar overlooking the intimate venue, saloon-style.
1950s- ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK
Be like a beatnik and write about your vagabond life in a creative cafe, or settle for the suburban lifestyle, with comfy booths, drive-in movies, and fast food.
Inspiration Grease, On the Road, James Dean
Eat Burger and fries
At the Drive-In | The last of its kind in Perth, Galaxy Drive-In is filled with movie lovers, all tuned into their car radios. Why not put a nostalgic slant on the traditional ‘dinner and a movie’ – you, too, can feel like Sandy in Grease (Danny Zuko-esque date optional). On Tuesdays, it’s only $20 per car, so grab the kids, buy some snacks, and settle down for a blockbuster.
Beat Generation | You don’t have to be writing frantically in a notebook to feel like Jack Kerouac. With live jazz playing outside on Sundays, records on sale, and Jewish-style cuisine, Satchmo Cafe makes you feel like you’re in 50s New York. Need a stiff drink in hand to get your juices going? Sit yourself at The Dominion League’s polished bar and down a whisky.
American-style diners | Plush booths, chrome stools, and shiny, chequered floors – no decor sums up the 50s better than the diner. Late-night cafe The Moon is a mainstay, with its poetry readings, jazz, and fast-food style meals. Jack Rabbit Slim’s follows in the footsteps of its movie namesake (it takes its name from the nightspot in Pulp Fiction) and provides\ a comfortable place to watch a gig, complete with alcoholic milkshakes and french fries.
Social calendar boring you rigid? Be inspired by these old-school pastimes.
Pin-curl girl | Retro hairstyles look fabulous, and The Vintage Valley offers styling for special occasions. It also runs how-to classes for a fun girls’ day or hens’ night; spend a few hours learning tips and tricks to create a vintage look, from how to create the perfect pin curl, to the Gibson tuck.
Burlesque baby | Ever wish you were a vintage pin-up girl? Sugar Blue Burlesque holds burlesque, Broadway and cabaret dance courses, from beginner to intermediate levels. A graduation show gives you the chance to live out your performance dreams.
Swing in, Swing out | Swing Dance Academy, Swing Zing, and Swing It! offer lessons on the 20s classics, such as Lindy Hop and the Balboa. Their classes are spotted around Perth, and you can just drop in (no partner necessary).
1960s- PEACE OUT
Swing into the 60s, with Flower Power, peace and love on the Perth social scene.
Inspiration The Beatles, The Brady Bunch, NASA
Eat Beef bourguignon
Drink Frozen daiquiri
Tropical bars | It’s hard not to feel that ol’ island vibe when you’re surrounded by indoor plants, fluorescent palm trees and colourful cocktails. Leederville’s Blue Flamingo tropical bar is California meets the Caribbean, a perfect match for our west-coast climate. You wouldn’t expect to find kitschy gem Hula Bula Bar amidst the CBD’s monochrome either, but the tiki bar’s been brightening the lives of ‘suits’ for a while.
Scitech’s Astronaut exhibit.
Space Age | The 50s and 60s space race gave rise to space mania, culminating in Neil Armstrong’s lunar mission. More than half a century later, we’re still curious about what is ‘out there’. Visit The Space Place in Toodyay where you can set yourself up with a telescope and gaze at faraway planets; or explore the constellations in front of a 180-degree dome with surround sound at Scitech Planetarium.
BYO Restaurants | There’s something cool, casual and, well, cheap about BYO. What’s better than pasta with your wine? Hidden down Williams Lane in Northbridge, Francoforte Spaghetti Bar does exceptional spaghetti, including kangaroo bolognese and scrumptious veg/vegan options, like kale pesto. Looking for something on the south side? Get your carbonara fix at Tabella or La Sosta.
Channel Mad Men’s Don Draper, or dress like you’re going to Woodstock at these stores full of vintage finds.
Meaningful Furniture | Furniture with a rich history adds character to interior design. North Perth’s importer of antique furniture, Empire, has a little sister in Fremantle, Second Empire, stocking traditional, mid-century and vintage pieces to add depth to your living areas.
Treasure Trove | You know what they say, one person’s trash is another one’s treasure. Go hunt for cute collectables, bric-a-brac, and kitsch accessories at Bluebird Vintage, which is packed full of wacky wins, from glamorous perfume bottles, old-school eskies, and retro Polaroid cameras, to those freaky kewpie dolls.
Old World, New Wave | Finally finding those vintage flares at an op shop takes a lot of trolling. For a quick vintage buy, go somewhere where the work has been done for you. Miss Brown stocks vintage and re-modified pieces from the 50s to the 80s. Lucy in Disguise in Subiaco, and MoMo’s boutique in Inglewood remain vintage favourites
1970s- WHO FLARES WINS
Whether you think the Bee Gees’ hit Stayin’ Alive is cause for cultural cringe or disco dancing, it’s always time to boogie.
Inspiration Saturday Night Fever, Countdown, The Triffids
Eat Cheese fondue
Drink Tequila Sunrise
Vinyl Demand | Hipsters may have pinched vinyl collecting from long-term audiophiles, but they’ve kept record stores alive. Noise Pollution Records’ friendly owner will help you find what you’re looking for, from Led Zeppelin to ABBA. Rhubarb Records is a psychedelic hole in the wall, while 78 Records and Mills Records are great go-tos. Vinyl collecting is a finders keepers’ game, with half the fun to be had in the searching.
All You Can Eat | We sure are happy the Swedish smorgasbord is still around. Miss Maud is a Perth go-to when it comes to all you can eat, providing a huge array of never-ending dishes. Montereys has a seasonal buffet with fresh seafood, live cooking stations, and a roast buffet on Sundays. You just need to decide whether you want breakfast, lunch, or dinner because once you’ve eaten, your belly will be full for hours.
Get Your Skates On | Nights were once spent weaving through hazy smoke, and skating under flashing lights. Why not rock and roll in 2016? Test your skills and get competitive in a roller derby league, or organise a function around skating – Rollerzone, Rolloways and Morley Rollerdome have you sorted. If you fear you’re a little wobbly on wheels, you can still get your fill of glitterballs at disco bowling at Rosemount Bowl.
1980s- BACK TO THE FUTURE
Squeeze into your stonewashed jeans, crank up the synthesised pop, and reimagine Australia in the 80s.
Inspiration Puberty Blues, Crocodile Dundee, INXS
Drink TAB Cola
Console Yourself | Addictive apps like Angry Birds and Candy Crush will be what we think of when we look back on the twenty-tens, but remember when it was all about the cartridge-based game consoles? Hours could be spent sitting on the floor playing Space Invaders on Atari. The Nostalgia Box Museum organises gaming nights featuring all the classics, and will have you gorging yourself on Pac-Man just like in the old days.
Back to School | Ever watch schoolkids and miss the time when it was all fun and games? Why not go back, but this time with a beverage in hand? Complete with a blackboard, library and canteen, The Classroom makes kick-ass cocktails and offers school dinners and themed rooms for retro functions. Looking for a low-key lesson? Quiz Meisters hold weekly quiz nights at various Perth pubs. Get a group together and test your knowledge.
Themed Dance Parties | Bend and stretch in a fluoro leotard, Jane Fonda-style, or sing along to (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life while wearing legwarmers, at an 80s-themed dance party. The Court’s themed nights bring crazy characters to its open dance floor. Mint‘s Club Metro features 80s dance anthems on Friday nights, but Connections is still the place for costume fun.
Jebediah play The Rosemount (photography Rachael Barrett).
1990s- TEEN ANGST
Drinking beer, eating pizza and watching local bands play raucous guitars… 20 years on, Perth smells like teen spirit.
Inspiration Nirvana, A*mazing, Empire Records
Drink Beer (from a can)
Grunge & Guitars | There’s a faint smell of stale beer as you walk down a dark alley and peer at the gig posters plastered on the wall. Once you arrive, four guys walk on stage – they may not have showered in the last week but that’s okay, you’re here for your own debauchery. Mojo’s, The Odd Fellow, The Rosemount, Jack Rabbit Slim’s and The Bird have local bands playing weekly. Big night? Amplifier Bar plays 90s classics until 5am.
Movie Marathons | As if?! Clueless should be your starting point, and after that you’ll be swimming in VHS-nostalgia. Wander through the few ‘video’ stores still standing, and grab enough films to last the night. Starland Video in Fremantle has been open since 1992, and still stocks classics in DVD form. Or take your partner to Luna Outdoor, and sink into a beanbag to watch one of their immersive re-runs.
Extreme Teens | Ever wish you were one of the kids fighting their way through cushioned obstacle courses on 90s game show A*mazing? Now’s your chance. Jump as high as your young heart desires on trampolines at BOUNCEInc and Jump About. Book laser tag at any one of a host of venues for your next team-building exercise, and take out your teenage tantrums by cornering your colleagues… and shooting them.