Swallow Bar review

We went to the much awaited Swallow Bar for a real visit, and here’s what it is like. The front section is quite cute. The booths look pretty good and it’s all nicely done, but the place is just too damn small. It’s not somewhere you could reliably make a date to meet someone, because the chances are high that there won’t be anywhere to sit. And there’s not even anywhere to stand while you do wait for somewhere to sit. You can’t reserve a booth or table either. It is about 50% too small for a small bar.

Maylands is not really big enough that there is anywhere else to go if the place is full, (The gun shop or White Eagle Travel notwithstanding,) so I think some people will be put off making a special journey there because of this. Everyone seemed very friendly, (despite some bloke being in there wearing thongs) and the atmosphere was nice and those who got a seat appeared to be having a good time, but I would probably only go there again if I was walking past and looked in to see that there was somewhere to sit or stand, or if you could make a reservation.

The food was ridiculously expensive, but that’s Perth in general, so I was fine with that, but if you pay the best part of $30 for 4 prawns (or was it 3?) without much else, I do expect not to have to take the shells off myself, especially when it’s in a garlic sauce. I would have valued it at about $15. Also, it doesn’t open for lunch except Sundays or breakfast. It’s more like a cafe where knobheads wearing lycra might park bikes and drink a coffee on a Sunday morning, and I would bet that that is how it will end up.

So, it was a kind of OK experience, and I’m glad it’s there, but it really needs to break into the space of one of the shops next door. I’d rather have a decent Beef Wellington and a pint of Landlord at 5 Bar for not much difference in price, which if there is a queue outside is near to plenty of other places you could go.

About The Lazy Aussie

Commended Haiku writer. A lover of The West's Worst. Perth stand-up comedian, photographer and writer.
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74 Responses to Swallow Bar review

  1. Not a passing grade in the vibrancy department then. What do you expect from a Minister for Planning ? Wait till Bogsmell opens Rurotards ( Emu Export cocktails their speciality ) for visiting Busselton potentates?


  2. pete says:

    If the place is full then they’re not charging enough for those 3 prawns. It’ll up at $20 a prawn next week.


  3. vegan says:

    expensive seems to be the common theme amongst reviews.

    having said that, it’s within walking distance so i really should walk over after dinner for a snifter.


  4. vegan says:

    odds of the former planning minister being seen drinking there?


  5. orbea says:

    Pretty sure its illegal to have a patio heater indoors


  6. skink says:

    only in Perth would anyone bitch about a small bar not being big enough

    we had a few drinks there and it is absolutely lovely, and the people that run it are lovely.
    If you don’t like it, then you are not lovely and would only lower the overall loveliness by standing at the bar trying to swing a cat.

    If you are the sort of person that counts your prawns then perhaps you belong at the Witch’s Cauldron. It leaves more room in there for those of us with beards and stripey shirts.

    I said good day, sir


  7. Martyn says:

    Look forward to trying it, it’s walking distance for me too, but the queues are offputting. Will have to be a fortuitous walk-in some time I guess. Certainly looks nice, bring on more, for gentrification purposes the area’s a target-rich environment. Maylands – not so much a case of ‘if you build it they will come’ as ‘they’re already fucking here, why *haven’t* you built it yet?!’


  8. Matty T says:

    Agreed that the food is rather expensive, but a tidy place to grab a few drinks. The area really could use 1 or 2 more bars to add to the amenity.
    Grab a lunch gourmet hot dog from smoults deli then head in for sunday arvo drinks.


  9. Bartender's Skills with a Manhatten says:

    How many does the place seat? Anything under 50 and it is reservations-only in New York. Looks very appealing from the pictures, although $30 for unshelled prawns–in a sauce, no less–suggests that they don’t have a good handle on what they’re doing in the kitchen.

    Did you test the bartender’s skills with a manhatten?


    • I think they are very experienced kitcheners from Melbourne. I don’t think they do cocktails. I think 60 people.


      • Bartender's Skills with a Manhatten says:

        I don’t understand why they don’t do reservations, then. Makes things actually easier for the clientele and adds a dollop of assholish exclusivity that always goes down well with the punters. Win-win situation, woulda thunk.


        • rottobloggo says:

          You Americans, and your desire to please customers! It’ll never catch on here – this is Teh Pert.


          • Rolly says:

            That desire is NOT motivated by benevolence, but by the need to smarm up to the punters in order to garner enough gratuities to feed oneself and the family.
            Decent wages would soon put a stop to such nauseating obsequiousness.


        • I think their dedcsion not to do breakfast and lunch is a mistake. It feels much more like that kind of place than a late night bar. When you can only fit a few people in, you’d want it open as much of the time as possible.


  10. Papa Fuckeye says:

    Nothing says “Perth” more than1990’s prawn recipes with 2020 pricing.


  11. gonzobiggun says:

    Why is there a luggage rack above the bar?


  12. orbea says:

    On good authority, heard a franchise of ‘Swallow’ is going in at the Bikini Babes knockshop near the Raffles, under the title of ‘Spit’.


  13. Bento says:

    Dear Swallow,

    Stop clogging my Facebook feed with 50 fucken updates a day. I think I liked youse cunts better when you were a 2-year long tantalising promise behind a newspapered window.




  14. Pingback: Outrage Sunday wrong side of the tracks | The Worst of Perth

  15. JS says:

    I rather like the small Swallow bar as it helps to keep the above wankers out .


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