On the shores of Scarborough sits Indi Bar, Perth's best-kept secret.
Holding a middle-ground somewhere between concert touring venue and local watering hole, Indi Bar is a rare vestige of the classic Australian pub. “It's not shiny and fancy, but it certainly has a certain vibe and appeal,” booking agent and sound engineer for Indi Bar, Rene de Vries says.
“And in this modern day world of marble-and-chrome bars, too many of the old bars have disappeared but Indi Bar's family is hanging on to its old stylings.”
The Indian Ocean Hotel was originally built in the 1970s as part of the White Sands Hotel with a design based on the infamous Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. In 1985, the Grove family purchased the hotel and small bar that had been annexed from White Sands, becoming known as Indi Bar.
The venue has been run by Andrew Grove for over 30 years and remains a staple in the greater Perth community, particularly for its curation of quality, live music.
“We're definitely a local bar for a lot of the people to just come down to have a beer or a game of pool, but we're also quite renowned for our music and have been for a long time,” Rene says.
US rockers Radio Moscow play Indi Bar 30 June, 2018
“We have a variety of genres: blues, roots, rock, reggae, garage, psych. We try to mix it up as much as we can to keep it interesting for all our folk who like to come in.”
Over the years, Indi Bar have provided a vital platform for emerging local artists to perform in front of a live audience, often for the first time. “We try and keep our finger on the pulse,” Rene says.
“We're always trying to sniff out the next cool, up-and-coming acts and trying to get them in for shows, many of which do their first headline shows here.
“We've done that for a long time and a lot of these bands have gone on to do quite big things. Back in the day bands like The Waifs and John Butler used to play here regularly and do long residencies, and they've gone on to do amazing things since those early days.”
Indi Bar is even home to some classic rock & roll folklore, with bands like Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin having stayed at the hotel. “The Led Zeppelin one is particularly interesting,” Rene begins.
“There was quite a large riot when they played Perth back in 1972. The police decided then to come and raid the room of Led Zeppelin in the early hours of the morning, much to [the band's] surprise and disgust, and they ended up getting busted for a few various narcotics and whatnot.
“We've still got the newspaper article up in our pool room. Funnily enough just a few weeks ago when Robert Plant was touring through Perth, he just casually walked into the bar and wanted to go check out his old room and have a read of this article, just for a bit of a laugh and the history.”
Indi Bar is located at 23 Hastings St, Scarborough. Upcoming international acts booked include Andrew Tosh (29 June) and Radio Moscow (30 June).