Perth's DTC Crew Launch Fallow – Complete With 100-Beer Cellar

May 30, 2024, by Guy Southern

Perth's DTC Crew Launch Fallow – Complete With 100-Beer Cellar

“Fallow is a place of rest and recovery.”

So says Joel Beresford, co-owner of the new Northbridge venue opening tomorrow (May 31). Admittedly, he's saying this amid the hum and clang that comes as a venue launch approaches, yet the sentiment somehow still feels real. 

The 248-capacity, multi-level bar is the latest in a run of good news emanating from the Western Australian beer scene, its opening the result of more than two years work from Joel, his Dutch Trading Co business partner Dan Sterpini, and Brown Street Grill executive chef Stuart Laws, whose wood-fired kitchen resides inside Bright Tank Brewing. 

If there’s a theme to be found at Fallow, it’s one of considered hospitality, one which Dan suggests is “warm, inviting and unpretentious.”

Along the way, the team undertook an early research trip to the US, gaining valuable insights – even if they weren't always the ones they were expecting.

“We were looking at a classic Lousisana vibe, but it was very specific," Joel says. "Very low light, heavier dude-food offerings. The great thing about that trip was all of the things that we didn’t want. 

“But what we did want was the big sandwiches, that are freshly baked, and are now part of the café menu."

He described New Orleans as "interesting, and with some really great places that are almost someone’s backyard," adding: "Those kinds of things really resonated. That’s why the upstairs alfresco component came in.

 

Taking the concept of "piano bar" in a whole new direction...

 

Designed and built by the three partners and their builder Rob Cooper, Fallow is impressive in its consideration, detail and welcoming aura. At its heart is a pub: part classic Parisian brasserie; part Perth 90s cult café 44 King Street; and the now of top end, William Street, Northbridge. 

The vaulted entry quietly divides the bar and café space, while floor to ceiling, century-old general store advertising allows the building’s history to be part of today’s stories. Fallow’s stave woven bar showcases a tight tap range focused on drinkability, all pouring from a gilded, 100-year-old piano – a sight that would likely satisfy Tom Waits. 

The other side of the entry allows for seating – both high and low – wrapped with opposed brick, with a clear view to both the action on William Street and the kitchen’s dry-ageing "meat vault". 

Beyond that, two chef’s tables offer an intimate experience without the being on the pass, alleviating the uncomfortable: "Am I in the way?" for both sides, and offering a petit function space too.

Upstairs, the tempo slows. Fallow’s plush parlour features low booth seating, chandeliers, cocktails and one of the few open-air balconies in Northbridge. Behind, an outdoor patio with communal tables and fire pit conjures a backyard vibe among the second-storey redbrick surrounds. 

There’s also plenty of verdant accents throughout; “I’m just here to water the plants,” Joel says with a laugh. 

Stuart's passion for cooking with wood fire is evident throughout the menu. The kitchen’s oven and hearth were constructed from 120-year-old bricks from the old Corrigin meatworks; a pastry chef, café treats and house made bread only add to the charm. 

“Every dish is a testament to the artistry of open-flame cooking," Stuart says.

“It’s exciting to have such a special kitchen setup that allows our culinary team to pack a real flavour punch with everything we plate up. It blends the very best of modern and old-school cooking, and I hope diners find both comfort and intrigue in their meals here.”

 

Left to right: Dan, Stuart and Joel taking an alfresco break from creating Fallow ahead of its opening.

 

Bestowing "Fallow" onto the venue was more than a quippy endeavour for Joel, one that came with a “deliberate pause”.

“For me, it’s almost like the slow food movement," he says, "but with a venue. Stu with his dry-ageing – that’s a process, and the beer cellar – that takes time, it’s a process. I don’t want this to be hustle and bustle. I want people to be aware of their surroundings.

“Each section has its own thing to look at, or appreciate. You become more aware and in tune with your surroundings, and slow down."

Fallow’s 100-beer cellar is one of intent also.

“There’s some beers up there that haven’t been available in Australia for years, and some that have never been available here,” Joel explains.

“There are a few people that will be really excited about it, but hopefully this cellar list and this new venue will bring some new blood that will help develop into tragic, die-hard beer fans. 

“It’s a good cellar mix, but it’s also fun to be able to see these beers being enjoyed."

 

Joel with Fallow's wall of beer.

 

Beyond the beers, punters can expect a smartly-curated local wine and spirit list, plus bespoke cocktails from a crew that have been invested in the WA mixology scene for well over a decade.  

The venue's opening continues a theme of cautious growth in Western Australia, something about which hospitality veteran Dan is sage-like, yet optimistic.

“There is still positivity and there’s still passion for it," he says, "but you’ve gotta produce quality and something left of centre. Complacency will bite you in the bum.

“People still want to go out, you’ve just gotta create something that they want to go out for. And they still like to have a good beer when they’re doing it.

“There’s been so many bumps, twists and turns in the past five years, and the current downturn is one of those, but you have to pivot, and I’m positive about the future.

“We were looking at having 18 craft beers on tap but it doesn’t make sense in this market. Instead, we’ll maintain 100 cellar beers available at all times. We’re going to reward the craft beer drinkers and still reward everyday drinkers, and both are going to love our space and the kitchen.”


Fallow opens on May 31, 2024, at 314 William Street, Northbridge.

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