Freo's View



Fremantle Council last night approved a 10+10 year lease for the new Civic Centre triangle with Fremantle Doctor Restaurant and Bar Pty Ltd, after more than two hours of discussion and public submissions.

The public gallery was full, mainly with those who opposed the City giving the proponents a $ 500,000 incentive for the fit out and three years of rent free, but an amendment by Mayor Brad Pettitt will now see the operators having to pay 2% of their gross income during the third year and 5% of gross income for the fourth year.

Concerns were raised by public speakers about the impact alcohol has on our society, the possible noise and antisocial behaviour affecting St John’s church business, and if a bar close to the new playground is a good idea, and that a 20-year deal was reckless.

It was suggested the space could be used for an art gallery or indigenous centre or the City’s Visitor Centre.

Some Councillors expressed concerns and said they could not support the lease, but others said that Kings Square is not a noise-free zone but a city square of activities, but that the hospitality operators, the church and the city needed to work together to manage it.

Councillor Su Groome said she was disappointed with the lay-out and lack of family space, while other councillors said they were not impressed with the design of the cafe and bar, and questioned if the proponent had enough track record in the hospitality industry to make it a special destination for all.

Councillor Doug Thompson said that while it appeared to be a reasonable outcome he was not comfortable with it and could not support it, and others questioned if the criteria for the EOI had been right, since there was only a single proponent after over 130 hospitality operators had been approached to take on the lease. ‘Maybe the market shows u that we did not get the criteria right” Councillor Frank Mofflin said and Councillor Adin Lang agreed with that sentiment and wanted to defer the item.

There was fear among some Councillors that the City might not get a better offer, with Councillor Andrew Sullivan warning with doomsday, where the space could be empty for 10 years if Council did not approve the lease to the proponents.

We need a long-term lease and a financial return as it is part of the commercial property portfolio, and the space was always planned to be a cafe from the beginning.

A woman in the public gallery yelled at Council that they were a disgrace and stormed out, but Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge said we needed to understand that the term tavern does not do the proposal justice as it won’t be anything like that and just a bar and restaurant, but the plans were not amazing at all and she was not impressed with them, and Councillor Rachel Pemberton agreed.

Councillor Marija Vujcic read from a long prepared speech, and that was the first time I have seen that since I have been observing council business for the last 13 years. She said it was not Council’s role to undermine businesses by giving high financial incentives to lease the triangle. “This is a high risk project.”

Councillor Andrew Sullivan said that everyone had a vision for something amazing there, but the ideas what that would be are different, and it was never going to be a hipster and funky place, but a mainstream one for everyone. “It needs to be attractive to families, office workers, cruiseship tourists and the general community.” He said the worst risk was not to do something right now and leave the space vacant for years.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was a hard discussion, but he was pleased to get an outcome in a tough commercial environment.

If I counted right the decision was 7 for and 4 against the proposal, with Councillor Bryn Jones being absent on the night.

Now all we can hope for it that during the planning application process Council can force a more creative layout and fit out for the three spaces, and that the proponents will offer a great space that sits comfortably with the new planned port-themed playground just metres away.

It will be up to the liquor licensing department to approve a tavern license for the space, or not, and it will need to be seen if the proponents might want to include the street level, so that they can open that up as an alfresco bar at night as well.

Roel Loopers







The proposed hospitality venue on three levels of the eastern triangle of the new Civic Centre at Kings Square will be debated at the Ordinary Council meeting this evening, which starts at 6pm in the North Fremantle Community Centre.

The contract would be that the operator does not have to pay rent for the first three years, and only a rent of 5% of gross income for the fourth year, plus a $ 500,000 incentive from the City of Fremantle toward the fit out.

The biggest problem here is that it appears to be a take it, or leave the triangle vacant situation, as from the over 130 hospitality operators approached by the City only the current operator of Bar Orient in High Street has offered to lease the triangle. Fremantle Council is very much between a rock and a hard place, because it would not be a good look to have the triangle vacant and hoarded up when the Civic Centre and the new port themed playground open late this year, and Council is committed to having a cafe near the new children’s playground.

Roel Loopers



Fremantle’s Bermuda Triangle?


The hospitality triangle lease of the new Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square was the most debated item on the FPOL Committee agenda, and the public gallery was only allowed to hear part of it, since there were commercially confidential issues as well, so we were booted out.

I just want to make some general remarks about what has become a bit controversial in the community, because of the high financial incentives the City is required to give to the proponents of the three level hospitality venue.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan was very passionate in his support and pointed out the new building is part of the City’s commercial property portfolio and hence it should create income. I have no issue with that argument.

Sullivan continued to say it was an essential part of the Kings Square plan to have night time activity, and I agree with that as well, but that would have happened in a far better way if Fremantle Council had insisted on a residential and/or hotel component as part of their deal with Sirona Capital.

We should also consider realistically if the proposed hospitality business would last 20 years. Just look at what is happening right now: A new tavern will open in the Manning building, a new tavern in the Warders boutique hotel, an entertainment venue in the new Police and Justice complex in Henderson street, and no doubt there will be bars in the planned hotels at the Woolstores and Point Street.

All that in addition to the Federal Hotel, National Hotel, Newport Hotel, Sail&Anchor, the Monk, the Old Synagogue, the Norfolk Hotel, Freo.Social, and several small bars. All in a walking distance of five minutes or less from the proposed Kings Square venue! And there will probably be a bar or two in the FOMO centre as well.

Does Fremantle really want and need another alcohol venue, and at what cost to the ratepayers?

Yes, the $ 500,000 will be invested in the building, so it will be the property of the city, but if the proposed hospitality venue does not succeed what would an office do with a dumb waiter goods lift? And we heard that the third floor won’t be activated for at least another 18 months until the proponents have found their feet in the new venue.

I know that Councillors want the best for our city, but this is again a proponent driven venue and not the cafe and small bar that was initially on the cards. It smells a bit like the Sunset Events J Shed venue where Council have stars in their eyes and see something really big happening that they had not even considered in their wildest dreams.

The Fremantle community though might well believe this is more a case of Freo’s own Bermuda Triangle where ratepayers money disappears that we could have used to make a start on the urgently needed repairs of Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse, as Councillor Marija Vujcic pointed out.

We all want Kings Square and the inner city to be activated and the redevelopment project to be a success, but we expect our elected members to be realistic and pragmatic, and I am not at all sure that this is the right way to do it.

Roel Loopers

and some friendly advise for our elected members. Please do not make this item a confidential item at the Full Council meeting, because the community would question Council’s transparency and ask what they have to hide!


Posted in bar, city of fremantle, development, heritage, hospitality, tavern, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on November 20, 2019




I got a sneak preview of the Old Synagogue tavern development today, and I already know this is going to be my local and favourite watering hole in Fremantle.

It is a fantastic development that has got so many gorgeous features. I specifically like all the greenery; trees, planter boxes, lawn.

The Old Synagogue is next to Fremantle Oval and opposite the Norfolk Hotel. It has three levels and will have two rooftop bars, one of them looking straight down the Cappuccino Strip.

There will be a cosy whiskey bar, a great restaurant, many, many craft beers, a changing wine list featuring WA wines and the favourite wines of the moment.

And the good news is that it will open at the end of this month, so in time for all the office Christmas parties and functions. Book now!

Roel Loopers


Posted in bar, city of fremantle, food, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on October 10, 2019





More exciting news for Fremantle! Benny’s bar and cafe on the Cappuccino Strip is extending out into Paddy Troy Lane with an alfresco area that will be served by a bar in a seacontainer. Art by Row is working on a large mural.

Owner Ivan Dzeba told me they hope to open the new area before Christmas, so stay tuned.

Paddy Troy Lane could well become a great new hospitality offering for Fremantle with the development of the Manning building, the opportunity for the Newport Hotel to also open up the back, and the Federal Hotel already having extended its alfresco there.

There is also the Kebab cafe and Grumpy Sailor cafe, so Fremantle Council might like to consider developing the lane into a real asset with better lighting, planter boxes, seats and trees, and only allowing service vehicles in the lane before 11am and no private cars.

Roel Loopers


Posted in bar, beer, city of fremantle, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on September 6, 2019


The BEERPOURIUM bar above the Dome cafe on the Fremantle Cappuccino Strip opened today, so here some photos to wet your appetite.

There are craft beers on tap that will regularly change and there are select your own toppings pizza and also bar snacks available in the nice ambience, and of course one can sit on the veranda and watch the hustle and bustle of the strip below.

And there is a Bocce lane for those who hate to sit still while having a drink

There is lift access for all abilities and a nice new staircase entrace from Collie Street.

The bar is open Wednesday-Thursday 4-10pm, Friday and Saturday 11 till midnight, and Sundays 11am till 10pm.

Roel Loopers

This is a community service, not an advertorial. I do not get paid to publish this nor do I  accept free meals or drinks.


Posted in bar, city of fremantle, city planning, hospitality, local government, parking, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on September 5, 2019


The application for a small bar/cafe and fashion outlet in North Fremantle took 50 minutes of time at the Fremantle Planning Committee,  with residents and traders arguing that there was a shortage of parking in the area and hence a new bar would not be sustainable.

The application is not for a new development but for a change of use of the old church building that has been an antique shop, a surf shop and a cafe. The place would open 15 hours a day and seven days a week, so would attract more daytime visitors

Some Councillors agreed that parking was an issue for the new business but other elected members said parking was not provided by other traders in the street, such as Mojo and Propellor and that parking was not a planning issue but a strategic planning issue for the council.

The idea that parking could be provided at the bowling club was supported by some but not by others, and I for one don’t like the idea of asking inebriated people to cross very busy Stirling Highway to get there.

At the end the Planning Committee voted on a motion by Councillor Bryn Jones to defer the item to full council in three weeks. I doubt that the parking issues will be resolved by then.

Roel Loopers



Posted in bar, city of fremantle, development, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on September 2, 2019


Hos 1

Hos 4


Fremantle has been in a development boom for a few years now with the major Kings Square Redevelopment Project looking at the finishing line, while the LIV and Heirloom residential apartments have been completed.

The recent opening of Freo.Social in Parry Street was the start of more to come, with down the road The Old Synagogue tavern, whisky and rooftop bar starting to look good, and the Fremantle Republic gin distillery and micro brewery in Pakenham Street looks great and should also open soon, and the massive Manning building project that will bring us a tavern, whisky distillery and micro brewery is also looking impressive.

On Friday the Beerpourium above the Dome cafe on the Cappuccino Strip will open its doors to the public from 11am on, so go and check it out.

Roel Loopers


Posted in bar, city of fremantle, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2019


Strange Company


Strange Company is a gorgeous very Freo bar and one of my favourites, because it just has the right cosy feeling for me.  On Sunday August 25 it will be celebrating it’s fourth birthday and that will be a lot of fun from noon to midnight.

Festivities are happening all day long, with the much loved pop-up wood-fired pizza oven and alfresco bar kicking things off early from 12 midday

Live music will be flowing from 2.30pm all-the-way through till midnight including Justin Walshe Folk Machine, the Dave Brewer Band Deluxe Combo and a series of resident Strange DJ’s

There will also be plenty of free fun and games fit for the whole family, as the team behind the bar bring you a Sunday session in true ‘Carnie-Style’ including a photo booth, vintage circus staff and a popcorn machine for young and old to enjoy.

Strange Company is at 5 Nairn Street, Fremantle.

Roel Loopers


Posted in bar, cafe, city of fremantle, food, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2019



Fremantle has a lovely new restaurant, bar, cafe and bakery in Little Market Street behind Gino’s and the Dome. SOMA Kitchen has opened its doors and it looks very welcoming and cosy.

International beers and a great wine list enhance the Southern European food on offer, that is merged with North African and Middle Eastern influences.

It is nice and relaxing to sit in the alfresco area without buses and cars in your face, so wander over soon and give it a try. I will for sure!

It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Roel Loopers

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