There are lots of cities around the world with laneways, but few of them like Melbourne. Before every skinny alley in the CBD was filled with bars and fine diners, there was Meyers Place, one of the first late-night bars to open after the government relaxed liquor license laws in the early 1990s.
The 23-year-old bar announced it’s “calling last drinks and closing its roller door in June” in a statement sent to Broadsheet.
“We anticipate our final day of trade will be Saturday June 10,” the bar’s director and co-owner Drew Pettifer said.
The bar’s landlord (the owners of Waiters Restaurant) told Pettifer and co-owner Heather Lakin in the second half of last year they would not be renewing Meyers Place’s lease when it expires on June 22.
“Since this time we have been negotiating with them to try to secure the site, but to no avail,” Pettifer said. “We respect their right to use their space as they see fit, but are nonetheless disappointed to be closing after 23 years of operation.”
Architects Six Degrees designed (and put some of the money up for) the tiny venue off Bourke Street, which has a long concrete bar that extends from the inside to the outside.
It’s sad news for Melbourne, but softening the blow is the fact that Pettifer and Lakin are looking for a site nearby to relocate the bar to.
“If we can secure a new location we intend to bring the iconic Six Degrees fit-out with us, panel by panel,” says Pettifer. “It won’t be exactly the same place, but we would like to capture the spirit of the bar as much as possible.
“I began working at the bar in 2004 and took out a 100 per cent bank loan to buy the place in 2011,” Pettifer says. “I wanted to make sure it didn't fall into the wrong hands that might turn it into a soulless city bar, so put my money where my mouth is.
“For me the greatest sense of loss comes from the loss of community that often coheres around such spaces. Our hope is that by moving only 100 metres away [we] will be able to re-create that community in a new space.”
Pettifer and Lakin hope to announce the new site within a month.
When they call last drinks, Pettifer says he’ll be holding a glass of local Victorian sparkling wine in his hand.