Today's picks

    The rebirth of Perth: Welcome to Australia’s new capital of cool

    It was the unlikely setting of a dark basement rock bar named Alfred’s Pizzeria that confirmed our suspicions about Perth.
    Under a tongue-in-cheek sign proclaiming “No Stairway to Heaven,” brilliant cocktails, the perfect playlist and impeccable handmade pizzas came together in one of the coolest bars in what’s definitely one of the coolest cities in the Southern Hemisphere.
    Even if, this being Australia, they’d never admit as much.
    The capital of the vast state of Western Australia may be a long way from most destinations, but Perth’s remote location makes its appeal even stronger.
    There’s the feeling that Perthites have long known that their city was a hidden travel gem, but it’s come into its own more than ever in the past couple of years.
    That’s set to increase still further in March next year as Qantas makes it the hub for their long-range nonstop Dreamliner flights from Europe, meaning thousands more visitors will arrive each month.
    Here are nine ways to enjoy Perth, which has earned itself a place with the more well-known state capitals of Melbourne and Sydney as must-visit cities when in Australia.
    Perth’s bar and nightlife scene has exploded in recent years, with scores of independent watering holes springing up around the city.
    One man who has visited most of them is Canadian Ryan Mossny, Perth resident and co-founder of Two Feet and a Heartbeat, a popular walking tour highlighting some of the city’s best bars.
    “Everyone talks about our amazing weather, blue skies and perfect beaches,” says Mossny.
    “I love that we have a thriving art, culture and festival scene, but most importantly the incredible bars and restaurants that feature local produce.”
    There are upwards of 30 small bars in the heart of the city center including Helvetica, which specializes in whisky cocktails and carries more than 400 varieties of the brown stuff.
    Bar Sequel pays homage to movie sequels while Fromage Artisans offers an optional cheese-tasting experience with their array of fine wines and drinks, served up in a former bank vault.
    The manager of the subterranean rock bar Alfred’s Pizzeria, Gillian Kady explains: “Everybody works very well together and there’s a lot of skill and talent in this town. Perth is now on par with Melbourne and staff are coming back from the east coast with their knowledge. They also try to use seasonal and native herbs and vegetables, while there are great local whiskies and gins too.”