The West Australian

North­bridge’s chang­ing face

- Liam Croy Lucky Chan’s as­sisant man­ager Asha Combes dishes up some fresh Asian fare. Pic­tures: Sharon Smith Climbing · Extreme Sports · Sports · Northbridge · Perth · Australia · McDonald's · Vietnam

For en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist Ge­orge Wan, a long day at work calls for a long night of rock climb­ing in North­bridge.

Oth­ers might pre­fer to un­wind by hav­ing a few stiff drinks, try­ing some ex­otic food, read­ing a good book or belt­ing out some tunes.

It’s all avail­able in North­bridge.

Nowhere else in Perth caters for so many dif­fer­ent folks and their dif­fer­ent strokes.

“For me, climb­ing is a bit of a men­tal es­cape and it’s also a pretty good work­out,” Mr Wan said. “It’s a prob­lem-solv­ing thing.

“When you’re en­gaged on a climb­ing wall or up on a moun­tain some­where, it’s med­i­ta­tive.

“I’ve got a lot of friends who come to Rock­face as well.

“We’ll go for a climb and then head out for a meal.

“With Fringe on at the mo­ment we’re go­ing to those shows as well.”

Mr Wan, 42, lives in Mur­doch but he works at WaterCorp in Leed­erville.

He has en­joyed watch­ing North­bridge trans­form into a far friend­lier precinct.

“Es­pe­cially in the last five years or so, North­bridge has re­ally livened up,” he said.

“There are a lot more bars and restau­rants to go to, there are more peo­ple around and it just feels safer.”

“I think the word ‘dodgy’ has been used a lot in the past but not any more.”

North­bridge has long had a rep­u­ta­tion as a trou­bled nightspot that par­ents told their teenagers to avoid.

But the pro­lif­er­a­tion of small bars, trendy restau­rants and other en­ter­tain­ment op­tions has started to turn that tide of neg­a­tiv­ity.

One of the trendi­est restau­rants has to be Lucky Chan’s, a three-storey venue which from the street ap­pears to be lit­tle more than a closed laun­dro­mat.

Lucky Chan’s was be­lieved to be the first crowd­funded restau­rant in Aus­tralia.

Its de­sign pays trib­ute to the area’s Chi­nese her­itage.

Ev­ery­one knows the pubs and clubs in North­bridge stay open late — but Chris­tine Truong’s cafe never shuts.

The 24-hour U & I Cafe, on Fran­cis Street, is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for rev­ellers look­ing to soak up ex­cess al­co­hol.

On week­ends, busi­ness hardly slows at all. It has also be­come pop­u­lar with flight crews ea­ger for some­thing more sub­stan­tial than McDonald’s af­ter they land in Perth.

Ms Truong, who came to Aus­tralia from Viet­nam 25 years ago, said most cus­tomers were very grate­ful when they stum­bled across the cafe.

It might not be as trendy as Lucky Chan’s but it’s an­other busi­ness help­ing to make North­bridge the most eclec­tic place in Perth.

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