They’ve been friends and business associates for decades.
Collectively, the “three Johns” – Jon Sainken, John Anderson and John Masel, are some of Perth’s best-known names in the hospitality industry.
And though COVID-19 has posed its share of headaches of late to those in their game, none of the trio appears particularly phased.
John Masel has just taken over a Cottesloe bar; Jon Sainken has just had an enticing new Club Bayview innnovation approved by Claremont Council; and John Anderson had been readying to reopen his iconic Hip-E nightclub in Leederville.
The Starfish caught up with the merry trio in Napoleon St Cottesloe recently, where they were celebrating the opening of John Masel’s latest venture: a bar called Johnny’s.
“I’d had my eye on this bar for months before I finally made an offer,” Masel admits.
“As Elba, it was popular but when it became ‘Twenty9’ it just didn’t work at all. It was atrocious really, they made it look like a roadhouse!”
He redesigned the interior, ripping up the lino and removing a lot of the clutter, to create a simple and clean line look.
“I put this place to feel accessible, an open place where passers-by find themselves taking a seat and enjoying themselves,” says John, as, outside under warm heaters, we tuck into warm truffle-salted chips.
He’s replaced the outside rails with planter boxes “so now people can look over and see a welcoming space, at last. And we’re serving simple, tasty fare: great steak sandwiches, pizzas and pasta, fish and salads. You might want to come back and try our Shark Bay Blue Swimmer Crab Spaghetti with Garlic and Chilli!”
Johnny’s will be open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and dinners from Wednesday to Saturday.
“I’m already getting great feedback from locals,” John waves at a passer-by who stops to peer in. “Many of them were frequenters of the Club Bayview when I managed it!”
Jon Sainken established Club Bayview in 1987, transferring the bar license from nightclub The Silver Slipper. “I wanted to start something local when the America’s Cup was on.” It began as a quiet piano bar: but soon morphed into a popular club for a younger crowd.
“I think back to those days, how it quickly became such a hit.. The creative energy that was put in by that legendary man of style, Murray Kimber, was phenomenal,” he reminisces, lunging at another truffled chip. “These aren’t bad, John..”
Now Jon has hit on a way to entice those who were young and gorgeous back in the 80s back to Club Bayview. “We’re going to be putting on high teas, so the ladies – and gentlemen – of Claremont will have somewhere local to go for refreshments after shopping,” he reveals.
Starting around September 1, “It will be a place where friends can meet up after shopping, enjoy delicious afternoon teas, a la the Ritz in London, and gaze out from the balcony into the heart of Claremont, reliving youthful memories!”
While supportive of his friends’ ventures, John Anderson, aka JA, reveals his focus has been the re-opening of his Leederville club.
“I’m just happy that restrictions are lifted,” he beams.
Normally in winter, John is enjoying the warmth of his villa in Bali; but of course that’s currently not an option.
“This is the first time I’ve in Perth for years,” he nods. “I’m enjoying it. Hadn’t realized how much sun we get in winter! And, with less pollution at the moment, I have to say, the stars have never looked brighter.”
“Really, though nobody wanted this pandemic, here in Perth we’re doing better than most, aren’t we? Wouldn’t want to be a nightclub proprietor in Melbourne right now!”
No wonder this trio are all smiles. There’s much to celebrate, here in the world’s most isolated city. Bring on those high teas, Jon!
Johnnys Bar & Kitchen is at 29 Napoleon St, Cottesloe.
Club Bayview is at 20 St Quentin Avenue, Claremont
Hip-E Club is at 663 Newcastle St, Leederville.
Johnnies images: Peter Rigby