Bar of the season – Matisse Beach Club

Written by Tania Giorgetta
Photos by Tania Giorgetta

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There is a new bar recently opened up in Perth and it is unlike anywhere else in our city.  It’s a touch of Miami, a dash of the future and a large slice of Barbie all rolled into one. It is positioned on the beachfront in Scarborough at 148 The Esplanade and is attracting people from all over Perth who are queuing up in their fanciest gear for a night out in pastel paradise. Boys are getting out their best shirts and low riding skinny jeans and girls are donning sky-high heels, fake tans and fake nails as they all head to Matisse Beach Club.  

The colourful poolside lounges and cabanas
The colourful poolside lounges and cabanas

As we enter we are greeted with white plastic couches, a long white bar and large white plastic stylised heads which serve as drinks tables. Amongst the sea of white, a rainbow of pastel coloured accents adorns everything from the booths and cabanas to the glassware or ‘plasticware’ as is more accurate.  When we stepped outside we realised why all the drinks are served in acrylic glasses.

The centrepiece of Matisse Beach Club is a large wading pool which you can swim or ‘wade’ in if you so desire.  They have a license to serve alcohol and a license to be an aquatic venue.  What could possibly go wrong with that combo?  Here’s hoping they have good bouncers, or perhaps good lifeguards…

The second pool is indoors and backs onto another large bar and DJ area.
The second pool is indoors and backs onto another large bar and DJ area.

Three plastic palm trees are nestled beside the pool and several colourful geometric triangle cabanas line the side.  These areas can be hired for groups of up to 14 people or simply used as a way to get away from the masses and crowds closer to the pool and bar.

There is a food menu serving pub grub such as burgers, pizzas and trendy tapas fare. There is also a brunch menu which is available between 10am and 12pm on weekends and public holidays.  The drinks list has received some criticism from punters mainly because the tap beer only comes in pints not middies. The cocktail list includes titles such as a Pink Mojito, Emerald Coast, Ocean Mist and a Beachside Colada: all keeping in line with the beachy, resort like feel.  I noticed a bottle of wine on the menu called “Baby Doll;” a sauv blanc from Margaret River and I was almost compelled to order it purely based on the colourful, doll like nature of my surroundings.

Cocktails at Matisse
Cocktails at Matisse

Owner Sean Reid who also owns the Breakwater stated that he wanted to open a “tropical themed beach bar” and we definitely think he has achieved that.  The main criticism we had was that there wasn’t a balcony or outdoor area so it seems the bar doesn’t take advantage of its oceanfront location or the view of the beach right across the road.  I’m sure in summer this will be one of the bar’s downfalls as people will long for the sea breeze which is so famous in Scarborough.

Having said that, views or no views Matisse Beach Club has the 20 something’s lining up out the door.  The space is plentiful, the bar staff wear hot pink t-shirts and the music is pumping.  It truly feels like if Barbie could add a beach bar to her list of hangouts, then Matisse would be it.  Perhaps she could rename it Mattel.

As far as Perth bars go Matisse is a breath of fresh air on the Scarborough scene.  You may remember the Lookout and Club A which were both popular venues about 10 years ago. Matisse has taken over the space from both of those bars and after many years of being empty it is nice to see something fresh, new and colourful pop up along The Esplanade.  So, next time you’re in Scarborough why not drop in to the fantasy world that is Matisse and have a cute and colourful cocktail or if you’re really feeling in the mood how about a bottle of Baby Doll!

Have you been to Matisse Beach Club?   What did you think of it?

Please check out the gallery below for a better look around.


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