In a city where it’s all too easy to lose your faith in good service, who would have thought that a couple of lapsed Catholics would restore mine ? Such is the quality of character of the men behind the bar at The Stanley, Wembley’s best and brightest small bar.
The Stanley is the brainchild of Paul Fowler and his partner in crime Gerry Shields, Stanley being the namesake of the bar and the name Paul’s alter ego when he was a rowdy youngster out hitting the turps a little too hard at Uni. None of that in this establishment however. The Stanley is all about quiet sophisticated charm in relaxed surroundings.
The main room gives a doff of it’s cap towards a British era that I can never actually identify, but likely ends with “ian” (Victorian, Edwardian, Elizabethian… you get the drift), it features an eclectic collection of leather and suede bound furniture that all cry out to be lounged on… and would be the perfect place to smoke a cigar if such things were permitted. Of course they’re not, but you can do so in a little courtyard at the back with tardis like proportions that stretches down and around the building.
The front room features a long wooden bar and sturdy bar stools with a row of lights slung casually above, and quirky touches around the place point to Paul and Gerry’s sacrilegious sense of humour. The thing I like about The Stanley though, is that it’s not complicated. It isn’t staffed by a team of young hipsters mixing the latest trend in cocktails, and it doesn’t necessarily attract the in crowd. It’s a great suburban bar that everyone can feel welcome in without worrying about pomp or pretence.
The wine list is short but done very well. There’s some excellent choices to suit very discerning palates (Cherubino Riesling, Cape Goose GSM, Millbrook Viognier) and Paul has made an effort not to take the piss over bottle prices, with what I’d call some of the lowest markups around on full bottle prices.
There’s also a decent list of international beers and Becks on tap for the diehard pint lovers.
The other great thing about The Stanley is it’s symbiotic relationship with Flipside burgers next door. Order your burger and ask them to deliver it next door, then go in and relax with a drink and wait for the burger to arrive. It’s a partnership that just makes sense and an irresistible option when thinking about a quick weeknight meal. Just wait for McDonalds to cotton onto it…
So the next time you’re wandering the suburbs of Perth thinking about heading out for a quiet drink (or 5), you now have somewhere to go.
294 Cambridge St
Phone: (08) 9387 4481
9 thoughts on “The Stanley”
I like the Stanley a lot! I feared it was going to be a lot more slick than it is…
all power to Paul who truly went through the ringer to get this place up. it should stand as an example of why local councils should not fear, but embrace intelligent small bar operators.
well worth a trip in my humble opinion…
Judging from the photos it seems really cool place, Never been there but anything unique and different is great because its all about experience, Thank for the post
I love the observation on how neighbors affect each other. Neighboring establishments can be competitors, true, but sometimes they each have pieces that the other is missing, and thus form a whole and complete picture.
Great review! So glad to hear of Perth places doing the symbiotic thing that’s been working for many years at some Melbourne venues – ie restaurant next door delivers while you have a bevvy in a bar. I hope this sort of arrangement takes off here. The food side of things is letting down a number of otherwise fabulous small bars in Perth, and being able to get food from a neighbouring restaurant makes so much sense.
Kent St Bar is one of my Melb faves – and even tough they have their own kitchen serving basics – eg Soup of the Day – you can order amazing food at the Japanese Peko Peko next door and have it delivered to you in the bar. Awesomeness.
PS – beautiful pics, as always :)
Nice review, i agree. I believe the sole reason the stanley stands above all other bars in perth is that the service is so good. Paul and Gerry make you feel like you’re having a drink at a mates place. As a subi resident, it’s awesome to have somewhere so welcoming for a drink.
Cheers guys, I think for the small bar scene to work in Perth we need a lot more venues like this. Personally the concept of small bars means they should ultimately all be very different. So I don’t necessarily like to rate one over the other, but think of it more in terms of where I am, and what kind of mood I’m in, as to where I’d like to go.
The Stanley is definitely one place I’ve always felt welcome.
Visited last night and this place is well worth the visit. We were chasing a bar with a good wine list, cool interior and funky couches. We got all that plus a mature crowd and gourmet burgers delivered to your couch from next door’s Flipside Burgers. In the words of Molly Meldrum, “do yourself a favour” and check it out.