Ronnie Nights is set to bring something different to Fremantle’s main strip showcasing independent brews and wines in a setting with a distinctly local vibe.
Perth’s bar scene is changing, according to hospitality operator Darcy Travers, who is hoping to ride the wave of the increasing interest in niche products and experiences at his latest venue, Ronnie Nights.
The bar, which opened on Fremantle’s Market Street earlier this month, is the second venture from the collective of local residents cum business partners behind the port city’s west end bar, Strange Company.
Ronnie Nights is named after a friend’s ‘loud, cheeky and playful’ alter ego, Mr Travers said, with the bar’s 120-patron capacity reached on opening night.
“Bars on this strip sell the same sorts of products – big brands, international companies,” Mr Travers told Business News.
“There’s a changing landscape for hospitality for interesting products, products you don’t see everywhere.
“A lot of tourists come down this drag. When I travel to another place I want to drop into a bar and talk to the staff and get the local insider knowledge of what’s good.
“And being a local in Freo, I feel like I know what the local market is after, too.
“We want people to leave here having had a good time, trying something they haven’t before and maybe learning something new.”
Mr Travers said part of this offering included making sure staff members were backed by adequate product knowledge, which is why the venue had a focus on supplier relationships, sourcing direct from Western Australian wineries.
The beer brief, he said, was curated to promote young and independent breweries, featuring craft brews from across Australia as well as internationally, including Eagle Bay Brewing Company’s lager, Victoria-based Moon Dog’s pale ale, and stout from American brewing company Founders.
“We’re using the main street location and our reputation with Strange Company to give small businesses a limelight to stand in,” Mr Travers said.
Co-owner Greg Leaver said the group of five business partners had always wanted to launch more venues in Fremantle since opening Strange Company in 2015, with plans for a third, to be housed in a basement, already under way.
He said work on Ronnie Nights began about nine months ago, with the building’s existing bar licence helping to speed-up the process.
Local architect Spaceagency was engaged to design the fit-out, which spans two tenancies owned by separate landlords and involved significant gutting works.
“We all grew up going to house parties in Freo and I think Ronnie Nights has that kind of feel,” Mr Leaver said.
“There are different rooms – a bar, a lounge, upstairs is more relaxing and the green room is for the bands and DJs, we’re about to put a mirror ball in there to give it higher energy.
“When you look at the roof, the windows, greenery, the eclectic furniture and the terrazzo that nods to the Italian heritage here … you feel like you’re in someone’s house in Freo.”
He said the past 10 years had been difficult for businesses in Fremantle, with shops closing and people leaving. However, recent developments, such as Kings Square and a number of new apartment projects, had instilled confidence that there were more opportunities for hospitality on the horizon.
“There’s a lot of positivity in the air,” Mr Leaver said.
“Freo is at the start of a resurgence and we feel it’s a good time to be investing here.”