WHAT IS MERAKI ARTS BAR?
Meraki is a brand new live entertainment venue that offers a wide variety of programmed arts, as well as a refined food and beverage experience – all for an affordable price.
Positioning itself as Sydney’s first true Art Bar, Meraki will offer an entire night out in one venue: Food, drinks and your choice of entertainment, all presented in a carefully crafted way, each element run by industry professionals.
The venue consists of a ground floor cocktail lounge with a visual art gallery, vaudeville-
style bar with performance stage, and a fully equipped independent theatre.
Meraki is designed to fill the gap in the market for a well programmed live arts venue that pays its artists to be accompanied by quality hospitality service. Artists and arts patrons routinely go elsewhere for food and drink when attending a performance, while Meraki offers a whole night out under one roof.
WHAT ARE WE DOING DIFFERENTLY
Meraki exists to not only present, but meaningfully support the next generation of Australian artists, and its model allows it to do this in ways other theatres and venues can’t. Every artist who performs at Meraki is paid, whether it’s an hour-long solo show or a tight five comedy set, at a rate that should always meet or exceed that of similar size venues. The sheer volume of acts moving through the space also means long term relationships with proven performers is possible while still leaving plenty of room for up and comers to be seen and become Meraki staples themselves.
Visual artists receive a full fortnight on our gallery wall, set their own prices, and benefit from the display area being within a fully functioning bar – along with a grand launch event. This makes exclusive use of the space, for which they have as much control over the invite list as they want.
Our theatre season likewise aims to push fairer and more sustainable practice, with the venue making significant investments in the artists. Our seasons are sourced from both open submissions and active scouting, and are programmed on a permanent rolling basis, allowing us to be reactive and proactive to what the sector needs. We review and approve all budgets from producers to ensure responsible management, and aim to provide a majority of shows with their full budget as a loan to be repaid from sales, eliminating the need for independent artists to pay out of pocket for production costs.
Venue-wide, Meraki has a full time Venue Technician on staff, meaning both theatre and gig bar artists never have to pay extra for their services or work around odd casual hours for tech work. Meraki also has extensive and constant social media and publicity activity, meaning that while artists and shows do need to advertise themselves, the publicity that comes with being in the venue is stronger and broader than they would normally receive.
WHAT IS THE MERAKI EXPERIENCE?
Whatever you’d like it to be. We are dedicated to never locking one part of the venue behind another, but instead offering an a la carte model where you decide what your night has in store.
Seeing a theatre show? Buy a ticket online and come up the stairs. There’s a dedicated theatre bar for food and drink before the show and during intermission (which becomes a speakeasy for everyone after the show!) that you’d be crazy not to stick around in, but it’s your choice.
Want to catch a gig? Book ahead, or just be in the downstairs bar at show-time if any last tickets happen to be available. Dinner and a show packages are available, as is a cheeky beer or wine or two during the act, or just sit back and enjoy.Has your gig finished? If it was an early one we might need the seat for someone seeing the next show (unless you’ve booked for both) but that doesn’t mean you can’t pop downstairs and relax.
And speaking of downstairs… for those nights you just want a bar to sit and chat in? That’s our gallery lounge. There is a gallery wall you can buy a piece from through us if you fancy it, but aside from that, the only art here is the cocktail menu, which has new creations every week from some of Sydney’s best bartenders and drink inventors.
WHERE IS MY DONATION GOING
Meraki is a big project, and we want to do it properly from day one. That includes altering some of the performance spaces to best accommodate the artists and audience, building the upstairs theatre bar, and a complete design and decoration process for all three levels. Not to mention technical equipment, soundproofing, insurance, and all the other TLC a new venue needs.
Just as Meraki is designed to operate on a shared common budget between arts and hospitality once open, we are spreading the capital raising between in-house funds, private investment, equity sales, business partnerships, and good old fashioned crowdfunding. While there is a certain amount of the money going where it needs to, the funds raised through this campaign are designed to make sure that the performance spaces are safe, fully outfitted spaces you want to perform in as soon as we open. Also, most importantly, these funds will go towards ensuring that our artist payment budget is properly padded and protected for our first months of trading, allowing us to offer the first wave of featured artists great rates with confidence.