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Bogan bars but city on the rise
Maylands buzz: Mrs S cafe's Niamh Mangan and Tammy Dennison. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Perth is being sold to the world as a boom town with expensive accommodation, inferior service and bars full of cashed-up bogans - "young men with plenty of cash to splash on muscle cars, beer and drugs".

The latest Lonely Planet travel guide also says that a spate of fights and glassings, particularly around Northbridge, had forced bars to step up security.

It described Northbridge as "backpacker/boozer central".

The seventh edition of Lonely Planet's Perth and West Coast Australia said Perth was the engine room of the Australian economy, where nature's resources were driving growth and expansion.

"Just a few decades ago, Perth was definitely in the shadow of east-coast Australia's major cities," it said.

"But, fuelled by the energy and economics of the mining boom, it's now a contemporary city on the rise.

"Evidence of the city's impetuous growth includes newly sprawling suburbs, with oversized homes squeezed on to compact plots and front gardens punctuated with shiny boats, flash utes and other blokey indicators of ongoing injections of mining money."

But the guide said the mining boom had led to Perth being an expensive city for accommodation, so "book as early as you can".

"Where many of Australia's other State capital cities might have a handful of top restaurants charging over $40 a main, in Perth those prices are fast becoming the norm for any establishment that considers itself above average," the guide said.

"Unfortunately, the experience doesn't always match the outlay, and inferior and lax service is more prevalent than it should be."

The guide said Fremantle did not have Perth's variety of fine-dining places "or, thankfully, its prices".

It also said Maylands was going to be Perth's "next big thing".

It said there was already a "definite foodie buzz around the neighbourhood", particularly among the eating and drinking spots huddled on Whatley Crescent.

"If the recent expansion of new bars, cafes and restaurants in Mt Lawley makes the suburb the 'new Subiaco', we reckon Maylands just to the east could be the 'new Mt Lawley'," the guide said.

It identified two establishments as an example of the Maylands "buzz" - Mrs S and Swallow.

In other comments, the guide said most of WA's beaches were relatively undeveloped, "which is just how the locals like it".

It also said Rottnest Island was "overrun by kids getting blotto" during leavers' week, Mandurah was "shrugging off its retirement-haven image" and Geraldton was "a work in progress".