Central rooftop bar with great views of the city.Our rating:
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of months you would’ve heard about Perth’s latest “roof top bar”. The Aviary opened its doors in late 2011 and is consistently packed out on Friday arvos after work (I was able to see the roof top from a client’s office for about 2 months). By about 4:00pm every Thursday/Friday it was completely rammed and a lengthy line was starting to form. I think in the time it’s been open it’s lost some the novelty of being Perth’s newest bar and the crowds are not as bad as they once were. I have purposely waited a few months before giving it a review so there is less chance of the teething problems new pubs go through affecting the result. A group of about 20 of us headed to The Aviary for a colleague’s leaving lunch.
Due to the heatwave Perth was having at the time, we decided to eat in “The Bird Cage” (restaurant section on level 1) to savour the aircon and escape the 42 degree heat outside. The Decor inside is a lot better than the fit out of the roof top which looks tacky with the overload of fake lawn. From the bookshelf wall paper, aviaries hanging by the entrance to the massive taxidermied peacock perched in the restaurant, the interior decor is great and really adds to the vibe of the place. The wait staff in the restaurant were quite friendly and service was generally quite good, the same cannot be said for the bar staff on the roof, more on that later.
The food took less than 20 minutes to come out and the presentation was really eye-catching, all of it looked great, presented on wooden boards and layed out really well on plates. I ordered the steak sandwich, which is on both the restaurant and bar (roof top) menus. It looked great and I thought it was going to be delicious but all up it was a pretty boring dish, the steak was quite thin and lacked flavour, the turkish bread wasn’t toasted properly and was intensely doughy which made the whole thing really dry. The chips and the beetroot chutney were the only highlight, oh and the singular onion ring wasn’t too bad either, although it looked out of place and as though it had fallen off some other dish onto mine. A friend of mine had the fish and chips, also available on the bar menu, and said it was quite good, the batter wasn't too heavy and the "old school slaw" was fairly decent.
The menu has a range of jazzed up versions of pub classics on it, for example, their steak sandwich is not just a steak sandwich, it’s a Black Angus sandwich with cheddar, beetroot chutney, fries & onion ring (no that’s not a typo, it literally is one onion ring). As jazzed up as it may be, it didn’t deliver. I think there’s a risk in fancying up the food descriptions on a menu, you set a high expectation and when the food is not up to scratch it makes it seem like much more of a failure than if you had just called it a steak sandwich. For such a large bar the drink range is fairly limited and seeing as you have to wait 10 – 15 minutes to get a beer at the bar (during busy periods) I wouldn’t even think of ordering a cocktail.
My major issue with The Aviary is that it is terribly overpriced food and drink wise. First off, paying $24 for a steak sandwich, you’d expect it to be at least slightly above average but this was not the case. It would easily be in the bottom 5 steak sandwiches I’ve had. Then, at first glance beer prices look about standard, which they would be if they were pints. Paying $10 for a schooner of beer is a bit ridiculous. The Nest (roof top bar) is a completely different place to the level below, the view out over the city is really great and you feel like you're in a massive beer garden, until you look down and you're met with a vast sea of Astroturf as far as the eye can see including on the lawn bowls green towards the back. I'm all for a bit of fake lawn here and there but this is just overkill and it looks really tacky. What's wrong with a bit of wooden decking or even some big outdoor tiles. The bar staff on the roof seem really disinterested in their jobs and provide the typical Gen-Y ‘I can’t be fu*ked’ level of service. This really surprised me, being a new bar within a 2 minute walk of 5 or 6 other pubs, you’d think that they’d at least pretend to look interested and could muster up a bit of common courtesy towards their customers. If there is one thing I hate more than anything else at a pub, is getting a look from barstaff like your making them do a chore by ordering a drink. Wake up you peanut, it's your job!
The roof top’s crowd is a real melting pot of the different ends of society’s spectrum, the majority seemed to be suits slaying their thirst with an after-work brew. Dotted in between all the suits were pockets of bogans and even quite a few tourists. Maybe the diversity can be put down to the infancy of the place as it’s yet to find it’s crowd of regulars like so many other pubs in the city already have. There is a possibility that this review was a bit too premature and maybe we should give it some more time to settle, although I think by about the 3 month mark you should have all your ducks in a row. To give them the benefit of the doubt, this will be one of the first pubs we re-review.
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- No Board Shorts
- No Singlets
- No Work Shirts, Alcohol or Insignia Branding
- No Runners or Sneakers
- No Fancy Dress
Night (after 6pm):
- Smart Attire
- No Thongs
- Collared Shirts Preferred
- Plain Non-Branded T-shirts Permitted
- Dress Shoes