There is something about live music and inner city basements that seems to be a natural fit. Away from the distractions of life on the surface, the music can be the hero.
And that’s exactly what happens when you descend into Perth’s new live music venue, The Sewing Room – the first full cabaret licence to be issued in Perth since Ellington’s opened in 2009. This means it can stay open until 5am, seven days a week. For now, the doors are open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6pm and for specific touring acts, functions and events on other nights.
Most importantly, it is a venue to showcase young local artists and independent touring bands across all genres.
There are not many venues in Perth where you can stop for a drink and live music on your way home from work. The 6 – 8pm Live Music Sessions are a great way to unwind.
The owners, Martin Black and Patrick Coward, also own the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, which has a shop above. They purchased the elegant 1912 Victorian building from Roberto Pierucci, whose father, Tulio, set up a clothing business here in 1956. Back then, the basement was filled with pattern makers, cutters, seamstresses and the buzz of sewing machines.
Now, it has been reincarnated with a state-of-the-art sound system, acoustics and lighting.
With a name like The Sewing Room and its back story, you could expect some nod to sewing and stitching.
Sewing machines, like the Singer my grandmother had before she swapped it for an electric model, hang above the entrance. Timber sewing machine cases sit on the steps down to the basement and the front desk is an old treadle sewing machine table.
From Wolf Lane, you enter through a pair of tall Victorian style cricket bat doors (so named because the insert panel profile looks like the back of a cricket bat!) similar to the original doors at the building’s Murray Street entrance.
For architect, Joe Chindarsi, the brief was to treat the basement as a found space, make minimal changes and give it a breath of fresh air, rather than overtly modernise it.
“It was an arduous job to make the space compliant with today’s building codes and introduce fire escapes, sound proofing and toilet facilities.
“It’s a raw space, not highly detailed, almost anti-architecture,” Joe explains. “The pipework and ducting have been left exposed, fortunately they were in a fairly neat condition. The ceilings are low, the steel columns and beams which hold up the floors above are visible. The timber floorboards are original and we haven’t touched the rough painted brick walls. Anything that we added is also raw and undecorated.”
It’s exactly as you would want a basement to be with the addition of a Krug champagne vault, a bar well stocked with wine and spirits waiting to be mixed into delicious cocktails and, of course, talented musicians performing for you.
The Sewing Room
317 Murray Street, Perth
Entrance off Wolf Lane
Open 6pm – 8pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Architect: Chindarsi Architects,