The West

Casella bids for sophisticated city bar
Casella’s owner Jason Casella, chef Jay-Marc Prieto and manager Adam Bromley

Restaurateur Jason Casella hopes to inject a bit of Perth’s booming small bar scene into Bunbury’s CBD.

The owner of the Marlston waterfront eatery Casella’s has applied to open a small bar at the northern end of Victoria Street in the old Hog’s Breath Café building.

The proposal received Bunbury City Council approval on Tuesday night and will now go to the Department of Racing and Gaming for a liquor licence.

Mr Casella said plans to open a small bar in the CBD had been in the pipeline for four years and he hoped to be trading by April.

He said the venue would be an extension of the tapas and drinks already on offer at Casella’s.

“It would be our take on the modern and rustic tapas with a strong focus on the small bar atmosphere and a sophisticated environment,’’ he said.

Mr Casella said the bar would be for an “older crowd’’, opening for after work drinks with less focus on being a late night venue.

The owners of The Reef Hotel have also mooted plans to open a tapas bar — where the pub’s former sports bar was located — as part of the venue’s redevelopment.

The hotel, a stone’s throw from the proposed small bar, has council approval to open a bottleshop, betting agency and kitchen.

Victoria Street’s Indian Ocean restaurant has a small bar licence and serves tapas alongside wine and cocktails.

Mr Casella said he welcomed competition from other bars and restaurants with open arms.

“When there are multiple venues people can move from one place to the next and experience something different — it makes the area more vibrant,’’ he said.

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