New cocktail weekender puts Perth on the map

Mechanics Institute, Perth Cocktail Weekend

A new mixology festival is set to shake up Perth’s cocktail scene with a weekend-long event showcasing the city’s top cocktail bars and bringing in global bartending talent.

As part of Plateful Perth 2024, a month-long celebration of eating and drinking, Perth Cocktail Weekend is set to shine a light on the city’s cocktail culture on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August.

In its debut year, Perth Cocktail Weekend will see three of the World’s 50 Best Bars host takeovers at some of the city’s leading cocktail bars, while also highlighting local talent.

The initiative, which is spearheaded by Marco Barsotti, Beverage & Bars Manager at The Ritz Carlton, will take place at Songbird Bar, Terrarium and Mechanics Institute.

Hoping to put Perth’s dynamic mixology experiences at the forefront of the Plateful Perth programme, at a time when the city’s locals and tourists are seeking new drinking experiences, Marco shared his excitement about the weekender.

“At Songbird, we take care to craft each cocktail into a masterpiece, and across the city there are many bars who are doing incredible things in mixology but it is still an undiscovered scene.

“With Perth Cocktail Weekend we set out to showcase a scale of mixology that has never before been seen in Perth and in doing so make waves in the community and build the city’s reputation as serious contenders on the mixology scene,” he stated.

Visitors to the festival will be able to sample cocktails from Dubai’s Galaxy Bar at Songbird Bar on Friday, while Saturday will see Madrid’s Salmon Guru takeover Terrarium and Sydney’s Maybe Sammy and El Primo Sanchez pop up at Mechanics Institute.

While Perth Cocktail Weekend gives locals the chance to sample cocktails from internationally renowned bars, and gives exposure to the three participating bars, Marco hopes the collaborative element will give Perth bars and bartenders more visibility on a national and international scale.   

“For the first edition of the event, we chose just three iconic bars of Perth to start to develop this culture. The idea is to help Perth be recognised around the world, and that’s why we invited people from outside of Australia and Sydney, because it’s going to give us a lot of visibility,” says Marco.

“We wanted to let Perth shine a bit more, and it was important to find the right bars. We selected Terrarium because the bar manager, Alexander, is very focused on developing new bartenders. He has his own cocktail competitions which focus on young bartenders, helping them to grow and learn from competitions.

“We chose Mechanics Institute because it is really focused on Australian products. They try to stay away from big brands and focus as much as possible on local and Australian products.”

While he hopes Perth Cocktail Weekend will assist Perth in attracting more of the recognition that it deserves in the world of mixology, Marco encourages local bars and bartenders to take a collaborative approach to uplifting the industry.

“It’s important to participate in competitions, to go to seminars and be present in the sense of bartending in Perth. Perth is still a small city, but it has a lot to offer, you just need to discover it. The only way for Perth to be discovered is either by bringing people to Perth, or letting people from Perth go and participate and showcase what we do,” he added.  

With the three guest bars flying in from various parts of the world to participate, Perth Cocktail Weekend will also include exclusive events, masterclasses and networking opportunities for industry professionals, with a full programme soon to be revealed.

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