Taking over the former Luxe Bar and outdoor cinema, Late Night Valentine is a small bar and club with a fabulous outdoor area serving up fine cocktails and groovy tunes in Highgate.
As the name suggests, this is a destination where you might choose to stay a while: order from the impressive cocktail or bar snacks menu and stay late into the night dancing and listening to music. With multiple areas, downstairs, upstairs and outside, all revamped, there are plenty of spaces to settle in and enjoy the moody 60s vibe complete with velvet booths.
Our group bucked the trend though, by visiting as soon as it opened (6pm) as we were heading next door to No Menu for dinner. Therefore we didn't peruse the menu which offers things like burgers and sticky ribs. We weren't faced with heaving crowds, weren't able to experience the huge lists of DJs and artists who regularly play there, and there was no cover charge. Early Night Valentine, as it were, is a very different beast indeed. We loved it. We were simply in search of a quiet drink – and we weren't disappointed.
Walking straight down the alley into the outdoor courtyard, you are met with a hidden oasis. A bar dominates one corner, while the former cinema amphitheatre has been laid with cushions, and bar tables dot the levels providing an unusual place for groups to sit and watch the outdoor dance floor (also known to host ping pong tournaments). Heavy metal beams and party lights criss-cross the space and a disco ball hangs invitingly centre stage, while greenery in pots and garden beds make the entire area feel like your coolest (and richest) mate just decorated his backyard for the party of the year.
Overlooking the DJ decks, a huge two-storey mural stares morosely down at the punters, as though saddened by the fact he's not been invited to join in. It's a fantastic space and perfect for a quiet drink in the early evening.
The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, and while we caught them on the backfoot by arriving so early, so not everything was quite ready for service, they were happy to answer questions as they made our drinks, even delivering them to the table for us.
The drinks menu consists of numerous beers, ciders and wines, but it's the cocktails that have everyone talking. Prices are very reasonable for Perth, and they're happy to make or change things to suit your tastes. My watermelon Collin ($13) was summer in a tall frosty glass, a mix of Tanqueray gin, fresh watermelon, lemon and soda over ice.
For those who prefer their drinks in the daylight, then Late Night Valentine is the perfect place for a cruisy drink in a very cool space. Make it an early night at Late Night Valentine. You'll fall in love.