It is disappointing to hear that the Mussel Bar in the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour has gone into liquidation with the owners claiming they made substantial losses over the last two years.
There is no doubt it is hard to survive in Freo’s hospitality industry that essentially survives on weekend trade, so during the winter months and when Notre Dame students are not on campus it is survival of the fittest.
I noticed the XWray Cafe is no longer open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays and only opens at 3 pm, a sure sign that Freo has too many cafes and that is not sustainable.
But there is also no doubt in my mind that Fremantle is on the road to recovery and progress with a lot of development going on in the CBD and other building projects to start soon. This will be like a triple bypass for Freo, so I hope all those traders who are struggling can hang in there until more people live and work in Freo and many more tourists will be staying overnight in the new hotels. I am confident it is only a matter of time till Freo will be back in all its glory!
The MSC building on the corner of Cliff Street is nearing completion and the very classy Strange Company small bar in Nairn Street will open on the 14th.
It is great to see a double spread on the Fremantle music scene in the West Australian newspaper today. The article written by Simon Collins is a huge promotion for our local musicians, the music venues and the upcoming NORFOLK LANES FESTIVAL.
We here in Freo of course have always loved Mojos, Clancys, the Norfolk, the Fly by Night, Swan Basement, Kulcha, Newport, XWray, Fremantle Arts Centre, and even the Workers Club as music venues willing to give new up and coming musos a go. John Butler, San Cisco, Eskimo Joe, Tame Impala, Mama Kin, Dom Mariani, Lucky Oceans, Waifs, Mink Mussel Creek, are just a few names that come to mind, and I am sure many more could be added who made a name first in Freo.
Kav Temperley of Eskimo Joe is quoted in the West ” Fremantle has always been a very melodic town’ and that “you feel really grounded and there is room to create and dream here”. That is pretty true I believe, and what I also like is that musicians here in Fremantle don’t necessarily see each other as competition, but are happy to share, work together, network and jam whenever the occasion arises.
The article by Simon Collins is very good PR for Fremantle again. We have been doing very well in the media in the last couple of months, no doubt as a result of an active City of Fremantle marketing and festival department.
Colour, art, flowers, furniture and little details make such a difference to the ambiance of a cafe as this photo of the XWray Cafe in Fremantle shows. Wild Poppy in Wray Avenue has colourful throw-overs over the seats, Chalkys in High Street great murals.
It’s not just good coffee and food that attracts people to venues but also the atmosphere. Chalkys is a fine example of that, with previous operators sticking with a rather boring fit-out and not surviving there long, while the present owners spent a lot of money on good art, great furniture and the business has been thriving since they moved in. It’s all about making a little effort and to offer something different.
The best recent example without a doubt is Bread in Common in Pakenham Street. What a stunning destination for lunch or dinner or just a glass of wine.
Coming back from house search this morning I was delighted the XWray Cafe was open on Easter Monday, as my regular Fremantle caffeine dealers were all closed. I was short before caffeine withdrawal and becoming an even grumpier old man than I already am, but relaxed on one of the couches and saw this lovely still life of sugar waiting for coffee. It’s painterly and I like it when straight none-photoshopped photography reaches that point. For photography lovers, it was taken at 3200 ISO with available light only.
Here’s a challenge for all the other Fremantle baristas and cafe owners. This ‘Dockercino’ was created at the XWray Cafe to celebrate the great finals win of the Fremantle Dockers against Geelong.
Wandering around Fremantle on this sticky day I noticed the improvements made at the old Synagogue. I am not an expert on heritage conservation, but it looks a whole lot better than it has for years. The ROA numbat mural in the Henderson street mall compliments the little market in the lane way, while the XWray cafe is always a cute sight.
I am less impressed with the rather massive boardwalk near the heritage listed former Kerosene Store, and now Kidogo Art House, at Bathers Beach. It is way out of proportion with the small local beach and the art gallery.
It’s those sometimes a bit hidden, special cafes, the little corners, that make Fremantle the special place it is. I like the XWray Cafe in Essex Street. It has a homely feel about it, the coffee is good and so is the food, and having a glass of wine there in the evening gives one a sense of belonging to the community.
I have been shocked twice this week about what cafes charge for a tiny cup of Espresso. In Mount Hawthorn on Tuesday I had to pay $ 3.90 for an espresso at the Bodhi Tree Book cafe and this morning at Cafe Lumos in White Gum Valley I paid $ 3.70.
At my regular hangouts I pay $ 3.30 at the Moore&Moore, $ 3.40 at Tasty@B Shed and only $ 2.50 for an excellent espresso in a lovely slim shot glass at the XWray Cafe. To pay more than that in a cafe in the burbs is too much in my opinion.