A late night lounge in a most unlikely location
It's Friday night and as the sun dips below the horizon, Fremantle's main drag is only just waking up. The lattes and cappuccinos sipped earlier that same morning by bleary eyed commuters have now been substituted by liquor and cocktails. Between mouthfuls of bruschetta, restaurant goers on the promenade eye the prowling clublife warily. Loud music pumps from clubs, bars and hotels above the general din of pedestrians and road traffic.
This scene this conjures is always vibrant, glorious and one hundred percent Fremantle cafe strip. But as the night wears on, the mascara begins to smudge and the footpath fisticuffs, initially playful, dissolve into beer soaked brawls one can't help but dream of a refuge far, far removed from the hysteria of South Terrace.
Entering here, stage left, is The Loft. If you're a discerning bar-hopper jaded by overpriced alcopops, sternum shattering bass beats and door policies that necessitate fingerprint scanning - welcome home.
Nestled in the hub of Fishing Boat Harbour, The Loft is part wine bar lounge, part performance venue. Demarcated by little more than a pink hued arch (and this was a recent addition) it can be harder to spot than a needle in a haystack. Queues here are unheard of just look for a doorway sandwiched between Little Creature's Brewery and The Mussel Bar.
The offbeat furnishings evoke an atmosphere that's part Great Gatsby (an abundance of green leather armchairs) and part dimly lit library with a longbar thrown in for good measure. The whole setting could easily have seemed stuffy and contrived, like so many establishments that have tried and failed with "eclectic" interiors. Here, it suits the chilled, easygoing clientele to a tee. The real eye opener though, is the breathtaking view out onto Fremantle harbour.
Spirits are off-limits at the Loft, but won't be missed with a well stocked selection of beers, ciders and wines to serve all palettes. Hopheads rejoice most of the beers come directly from the adjacent Little Creature's brewery. There's also some fairly exotic international brands on hand. Come on the right night and you might get the chance to sample the $10 sangria. Admittedly I've always visited the Loft for post dinner drinks and to soak up the ambience. The bar menu seems perfectly acceptable though, with a range of antipasto and tapas style bites intended to compliment the brews.
Also known as Creature's Loft, this innocuous little den is surely destined to become an enduring Freo legend - if it hasn't already.