Broome is an isolated town. Situated on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert on the west coast, it’s about half way between Darwin and Perth. By road the nearest towns are Derby about 220km to the east and Port Headland 600km to the south. Between those two neighbouring towns there are a couple of road houses, cattle stations, some Aboriginal communities (including Bidyadanga, the largest Aboriginal community in WA) and more cattle than combined populations of all three towns.
With an estimated resident population of around 17,000 people, Broome is by no means a big town. We have no traffic lights, no cross walks, no parking meters, no big department stores, no Uber, and no buildings over three storeys with most buildings only single or double storey. It comes as a surprise to many people then that we have some seriously cool bars and cafes that would be at home in Perth, Melbourne or Sydney except they have a vibe that’s #SoBroome.
The list is long, so we’re going to tell you about just a couple of our favourites.
The Good Cartel
The Good Cartel started out as a mobile food and coffee van that quickly developed a reputation for good food and coffee. It became so popular they needed to find a more permanent home so in 2014 started a pop up behind the Twin Cinemas and within a few months they had a drive through coffee service. It’s become Broome’s longest running pop-up anything and this week re-launched itself as The Good Cartel Restaurant & Bar serving alcohol for the first time from 12 noon yesterday. It has a very rustic urban vibe with and is surrounded by giant murals. The Sobrane mural that faces the Good Cartel has a screen incorporated in its design so that visual media can be projected on to it at night.
Open from 5.00am most mornings to service Broome’s early morning workforce, exercisers, cyclists and tradies before they start their workday, or anyone heading home from night shift. Its customers are a classless fusion from all parts of Broome’s community and visitors who have stumbled across it or sought it out from the travel advice from friends or family. The Good Cartel is run by the Kain siblings Jack, Kitty and Joe. The latter being a member of Broome’s Cyclone Surfers fraternity.
The Aarli has become a Broome institution, situated on the corner of Hamersley and Frederick Streets it started life in 2003 as a simple BYO café serving great food and coffee in an alfresco environment. In 2008 it became a licensed venue and extended into the space next door to incorporate indoor dining. Owners Nick and Jane originally from Victoria have brought a Melbourne vibe to Broome. Serving contemporary Australian fusion cuisine, The Aarli has become increasingly popular with Broome’s sophisticated travellers who are looking for unique dining experiences to enhance their holiday. The only Uber Broome has is the uber cool vibe at The Aarli. It has achieved many successes including being listed in the top 500 restaurants of Australia two years running, consistently featured in The West Australian newspaper’s Food Guide, and named Best Pizza by Rob Broadfield. (They currently don’t do pizza though as they are like to regularly create fresh new menus).
The Aarli also cater for many of Broome’s local events, including the Cable Beach Polo. Broomies are always happy if it’s The Aarli that are catering at any event they’re attending.
The Lockup Bar & Grill
Because who doesn’t love a good burger... especially smoked! This is an ongoing Friday afternoon special (5.30pm onwards). This new addition to Broome’s eateries is located at Broome’s historic jail, colloquially known as Broome’s old lockup. This bar and grill is totally unique and new to Broome and running with the ‘lockup’ theme. Its family friendly with $40 burger and fries for 4! Seriously good value. Reservations for dine-in and online orders are encouraged though their easy to use website.
Your Friday afternoon destination is set! Hot buffalo wings finished off with an icy cold beer... perfection! At beer-o’clock you can get a bucket of 6 beers or ciders for only $30. It’s a bargain, its #SoBroome.