Some say size doesn't matter: it's what you do with it. In the case of Subiaco bar Double Double, the space is about the size of the average lounge room.
Luckily for owners and mates Gavin Bellinger and Ashley Schofield , that is precisely the feel they're going for. Of course the lounge-room styling is more underground crypt than Downton glamour, but even if the initial blackness of the room is a little shocking, it is more than made up for in the sheer warmth and friendliness of the staff (and the warmth from one of the new rum-based cocktails.)
Double Double is one of those new breeds of bar that has a wonderfully split personality: charming café during the day, edgy bar at night. It's black. Very black, with black wooden floor, black walls and black ceiling. Black bench seating and you guessed it – black cushions. All the noir is broken up by striking graffiti pictures on the walls as well as the Wall of Polaroid. If you're lucky, Gav, might snap your picture to go on the wall.
In truth, while it wouldn't be out of place in Northbridge, it feels out of place amongst Subiaco's bling and plush red velvet bars and restaurants. But that is precisely what it intends to do – shake things up and inject something new into the Subiaco scene. Small bars are what adds life into a suburb, and Subiaco can only benefit from a few more of these.
Double Double's cocktails are primarily based on rum and while the menu is short (seven signature cocktails plus many other slightly altered classics) they are made with lots of love and consideration. Even non-rum drinkers like myself can easily be converted with the Dark and Stormy: rum, ginger beer and lashings of fresh fruit reminiscent of a sangria. Still, if you're not into rum or cocktails, they offer a range of Coopers on tap plus more much.
There are cocktails to please those with a sweet tooth, such as the Neon Zombie ($19) with Matusalum platino rum, Lambs Spiced rum, lime, tiki juice (which as far as I can tell is an eVapour), and falernum (a sweet spicy syrup). It is topped with a layer of coconut foam and beautifully decorated with a wedge of charred pineapple which is a fun and sticky way to finish the drink.
I Want To See Your Peacock Cock Cock ($19) is not only fun to order but to drink. It's one for those who don't like the overly sweet cocktails, and it is made with vodka, pavan (a liquor made with orange blossom), honey, lemon, orange blossom and bubbles. It has a complex flavour and is no nearly as fruity as you might expect.
The Lahey Special ($19) I admit I ordered by mistake, erroneously assuming the 'smoked bacon washed crown royal, salted maple syrup, Jersey bitters and orange zest' was going to going to be a cocktail with bacon in it. I was very willing to give it a go. Turns out though that Smokey Bacon is actually a brand name, not a flavour, and this was a very rum heavy drink, not one for those who like easy, fluffy flavours. That being said, the enormous ice cube that the drink was based around was worth the price of admission alone.
As you can see, these are not your everyday cocktails. The ingredients are unusual (I had to Google more than a few just to write this review) and they are top quality. They will attract an unusual crowd: those who don't want the same old drinks, those who are willing to try something very un-Subiaco. By default, they will also attract those who can afford $19 drinks, not uncommon these days in Perth, but still definitely part of an exclusive club.
But what about food, I hear you ask? Well, there's not really a kitchen here, and even though you can buy food during the day, at night sales will be limited to antipasto. But how's this? You can bring your own dinner from home. Or have a pizza delivered from Crust next door. Or some yakitori. Basically you can bring your own food with you and sit and enjoy your preferred cocktail, beer or other drinks.
While this might seem a drag for those who like everything done for them, for others, it provides a whole new level of variety and flexibility to a night out.