For a second there, I thought that we weren’t going to make it to Helvetica, again. Regular readers might remember that Helvetica was the scene of our greatest failure. Or it would have been the scene of our greatest failure, if we had actually managed to make the scene, which we couldn’t. After the events of that night we resolved never again to visit a small wine bar in Perth on a Friday.
So, here we were now, months later, and trying our luck again, this time on a Wednesday, and what happens? Bookbuster, HelenKitty, AR and I, arotulon, having driven through the madness of the end of work day traffic, found a place to park and were now walking to Helvetica, found ourselves unable to cross St Georges Tce because of road works. We could see where we wanted to go, but not any way to get there.
In the end we risked our lives and dodged buses and cars and walked through the traffic. After that, we needed a drink and a place to sit down. When we entered Helvetica we managed to get that drink, but not a place to sit down.
Already there, was my partner LP, and our newest member AH. They had managed to find two small poufs to sit on just by the door (it’s remarkable how things work out – that night when we couldn’t get into Helvetica my partner LP had actually ran into AH in Perth, and now she did so again, only this time in Helvetica. But enough serendipity, back to the bar).
Helvetica was packed. There was a function on upstairs, which meant that all the regular punters were crowded downstairs. And as we were the most recent arrivals we were crowded around near the entrance. TF soon joined us and we all took turns at sitting on the two poufs.
Finally being inside Helvetica was a great feeling, even without being able to sit down. The place has a lovely vibe. It helps that the bar is down and around in a little alley. It makes you feel that you have left the offices of Perth behind you.
The bar staff were all friendly as the Barchivists edged up to the serving area in pairs to order drinks. This was a bit difficult as with the lack of space many people were staying at the bar to have their drinks. Also, it would have been handy to have a few more drink menus available. As it was all of us were passing around the one copy to look at and make our selection. Soon enough though, we all had drinks, and we started to unwind, talking of work and weekends.
Bookbuster tried to wrangle some seats at the back of the establishment but the people near the chairs, ended up asserting that they were expecting others to join them. This was after they at first told us, no, we could take the chairs. I guess some people can’t handle drinking…
After this attempt at grabbing a seat, I kept an eye out for another chance, and soon enough it came. The two ladies who had the couch at the corner near the drinks cabinet headed for the door and Bookbuster and I made a dash. We waved everyone over to join us.
We managed to snaffle enough poufs and squeezed up on the couch against the wall to accommodate those of us who were there so far. With DT arriving with a guest, we were soon able, with our superior numbers to intimidate others nearby to leave and thus gained some more poufs and some armchairs. Actually those others left of their own accord, because really, we Barchivists are a friendly bunch.
Situated as we were by the drinks cabinets we were impressed with the stock they had and amazed that some of the doors were not locked. Evil thoughts did cross our mind but we drowned them with the drinks we already had.
Someone ordered some corn chips and salsa and DT went for the big guns and got the Fish House Punch, a $35 concoction of peaches and wine, that comes served in a jar. I was not the only one who pitched in to help with drinking this.
The second contingent of Barchivists soon arrived, consisting of Paisley Red, SJVC, KM and TravelBug. They had had an after work meeting to attend and so were delayed. I had to leave soon after their arrival, so the tail end of this tale will be left with them.
The Barchivists gave a high rating to Helvetica, overall. The staff were friendly, the atmosphere was great, despite the size of the crowd, and we even got free food, but that was after I had to leave.
Later in the evening TravelBug used the opportunity of such a large gathering of Barchivists, perhaps one of our biggest turnouts for some time, to start to organise our December gathering. We had already agreed on Deville’s Pad as the place to go. We were just now working out a date.
Great location and brilliant atmosphere. I got to try the fruit punch that is served in a jar, and it was delicious! Definitely want to go back sometime.
Helvetica’s was so much fun – great to see a big crowd. We had complimentary homemade party pies – they were the best – with proper big chunks of beef inside. They just landed on our table for free – no one owned up to purchasing them. TB thinks she might have got them on the house as she knows the manager, (or they felt sorry for her as she told them she was starving when she was buying a glass of wine). Awesome place, must go again – only downside is parking. Next time we’ll take the bus.
I had a ball! Yet again, the only hard part was getting to the bar. After that, I just sat back, sipped my glass of rose and let the good times roll! I enjoyed the vibe and the surprising lack of pretentiousness – being at Helvetica is like sitting in the lounge room at a dark, loud, funky house party. Highlights of the evening were: punch served in jars, corn chips served with fresh messy salsa, (thanks Barchivists!) and mystery party pies served with dollops of salsa! We also admired the feature wall/liquor cabinet – so much cooler than the usual booze store-room! And best of all, there was a moment of hilarity when a Peter Alexander ‘hot boys and cute puppies’ calendar was mistaken for a Peter Andre calendar……