A beachfront location and casual vibe are the standout out features of the newest Clancy’s venture at City Beach. Natalie Gerritsen reports.
WHEN they say beachfront, they’re not kidding.
Clancy’s Fish Bar at City Beach occupies prime real estate of the type that has made Indiana, formerly the Indiana Tea House, down the coast at Cottesloe so well known. Despite miles of sea views north and south of the city, there are very few sites like this along the Perth coastline.
A kiosk opens directly onto the sand, nestled underneath a restaurant decked out with fabric chandeliers and boasting unrestricted ocean views,
The team at Clancy’s have managed to create three businesses housed in the one building – the kiosk, the restaurant, and a yet-to-be-completed takeaway cafe, also on the restaurant level.
They expect to open the cafe, which will serve up-market fish and chips, by this winter (subject to local council approval).
The City Beach restaurant, the third in the Clancy’s empire following Fremantle and Canning Bridge, occupies the site of the old Oceanus Restaurant – a development by Michael Cutler and Tom Galopoulos that opened for business in 2001.
Clancy’s City Beach outlet general manager Paul Runciman says the location immediately caught the eyes of the group’s directors, Joe and John Fisher.
“They stumbled across it and thought it was a great opportunity,” Mr Runciman told Gusto.
“It was too good to pass up.”
Clancy’s took possession of the site last November, and immediately embarked on a refurbishment to modernise the interior.
“We haven’t really done anything structural, we’ve just changed it and made it a venue that caters to a wider demographic” Mr Runciman says.
“It was a little bit old-fashioned, very stuffy and a bit traditional.
“It didn’t really flow with the whole beach theme; it was very separate and we’ve tried to create more of a beach feel, a friendly, family atmosphere.”
That atmosphere has been created through the installation of dozens of fabric chandeliers from the ceiling, long wooden communal dining tables and brightly coloured metal chairs.
Mr Runciman says the City Beach property is probably the most relaxed and colourful of the three Clancy’s restaurants.
The most expensive part of the fit-out was installing a state-of-the-art sound system, which Mr Runciman says is testament to the important role music plays in the Clancy’s brand.
Live concerts are a frequent feature at the other Clancy’s premises and will be a part of the City Beach scene in the future.
In terms of food, Clancy’s serves general beach fare and coffee from early morning until afternoon in the kiosk, and lunch and dinner seven days a week in the restaurant above.
Mr Runciman says the focus is on simple, fresh and well-priced food made with local produce, accompanied by local beer and wine.
“We cater for a wide range of tastes, we’re not primarily a seafood restaurant; it’s more a mixture, almost like a pub menu,” he says.
“A big focus for us is local beers and ciders; we have a range of Little Creatures beers, Matso’s melon beer from Broome, Last Drop pilsner and wheat beer.”
The whole management team at City Beach is new to Clancy’s. Mr Runciman has spent 10 years managing venues for Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, while head chef Shane Watson was previously at the Vic Hotel in Subiaco.
Executive chef Alan Spagnolo spent the past year establishing a restaurant in Egypt, and is described by Mr Runciman as somewhat of an “opening guru”, specialising in getting new venues off and running.
Mr Runciman says the response so far has been pleasing.
“We’ve been going gangbusters since the moment we opened the doors,” he says.
“We don’t take bookings, it’s purely a first in, stake-your-claim-at-your-table-type scenario, and we have had a waiting list most nights.”
At beach level, he says people are happy the long-disused kiosk facilities have been reopened.
“The busiest part of our day in the kiosk is catering for a lot of the morning walkers, and there’s a lot of people who do boot camp-style training on the beach, and a lot of those people are quite pleased the kiosk is open and available to them,” Mr Runciman says.
Clancy’s has been part of the WA restaurant scene for 21 years, and Mr Runciman thinks his new venue will add something fresh to the brand.
“Always expect something a little bit different here, whether it be different beer or different staff,” he says.
“I mean, we’ve got Twister painted on the floor. Not many restaurants in Perth have Twister painted on the floor.”