The West Australian
Northbridge’s changing face
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.