Varnish: rubs off easily


Venue: Varnish
Date: 21 December 2013
Location: King St, Perth
Price: Expensive, mostly

With my good mate Hayden in town, I thought we’d take the fight to jetlag and hit up one of the sprouting wine bars of Perth, in this case Varnish on King.

King St in Perth city has long been the ‘high end’ retail fleur de merde…or merde de fleur, where parochial ostentation rubs shoulders with satellite (read: dump unsold stock) stores of Louis Vuitton, Gucci and other brands of Italian dishwashing liquid. After circling in a soon-to-be culled sharky manner looking for a park, we ended up just outside “Capitol Nightclub”, a methuselah-run establishment caught in the eddies of bad-noughties’ clubdom. The jelly bean greyhound scene of scantily clad suburberrry girls hadn’t yet lit up the street, so we were compelled to navigate by dim street-lights past even dimmer sprawling pubs.

We sauntered down King St towards Varnish, located in a basement that used to be home to a fashion victimisation centre.


Varnish’s entry is standard club-looking fronted by eye rolling bouncers. The staircase downstairs is very Chanel staircase sans glamour. A frond of eyes surveys your status as you descend: but don’t worry, their Ed Harry apparel dispels any suggestion that their style compass is set to ‘on’.

The venue itself is nicey, probably more suited to an above-ground haunt in Mt Lawley. A stocked bar, tables for restaurant meals and stools/bar tableaux for stopwatch socialising apportion balance to the space.

But…it’s not cool. I spotted a couple of social seaweeds – sceners still lapping at the barren shores of Perthery mode – and the odd leathery petite mogul, the type that has a sauna-themed nightclub below their Tuart Hill McMansion. Otherwise, the place was betfair-ticket full of after work types who would better suit a dry cleaners.


Novelty highlights included a ‘lobster hotdog’, ($9ish) worth it for the novelty of eating WA lobster in WA, as opposed to say the high-roller lounge at Burswood Macau Casino.


Who ordered the seafood extender?


I ordered a glass of middling-sort vino, Paige a cider and Minnie also a cider. The amusement for the evening was Hayden’s financial garrotting by Perth’s CUB inflation: spotting his “favourite Scottish beer” (UK cost: £2.50), he had the barman pour him a glass and parted with a Shylockian $16. Hilarity all around.


Perth bars: usury laws don’t apply


Score: 2.8/5
Quote: “Sixteen bucks!!!”

Perhaps the food is worth it…I don’t know, we didn’t sample it. But I’d try elsewhere first.

Varnish on King on Urbanspoon

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