Whether it’s testifying at hearings about the negative effects of the lockout laws or offering almost-half-price drinks for an entire month, Merivale owner Justin Hemmes isn’t just talk when it comes to bringing fun back to Sydney’s CBD. His latest attempt to stop the inner-city from becoming a wowserish Footloose-like wasteland is the This Is Sydney initiative, which launches today and will run all summer. This Is Sydney includes almost everything Sydneysiders like – eating, partying, drinking and live music – in one program, and there are some pretty great (and wallet-friendly) deals too.
It all kicks off on November 21 with a free show by Sydney rock band The Preatures at Ivy’s Palings bar from 6pm – the first in a series of free gigs that includes singer-songwriter Thandi Phoenix (also at Palings), Novocastrian Kira Puru (at the Pool Club) and Brendan Maclean on grand piano (at Establishment).
If you happen to be walking past minute George Street cafe Will & Co from 5pm on Thursday and Friday afternoons, you might notice a bit of a to-do going on. Zesty disco duo The Dollar Bin Darlings will be playing at the “city’s tiniest disco”. It won’t just be flat whites and lattes, though – beer, wine and cocktails will all be on tap.
The Ivy end of town may be known for harnessing the dollar of lawyers and bankers better than Scott Morrison harnesses prayers, but you won’t have to be on your third investment property to participate in the merrymaking. Merivale is giving diners 50 per cent off all late-night bites at its CBD bars between 11pm and midnight from Tuesday to Sunday all summer. That’s half-price bar meals at Palings, Establishment, Slip Inn, Pool Club, Palmer & Co, Bar Topa, Little Felix and Charlie Parker’s.
Soon-to-open diners Totti’s Bar and Jimmy’s Falafel will have 50 per cent off too. Totti’s Bar on Palings Lane will be led by Mike Eggert (Totti’s, Pinbone, 10 William Street), and he’ll be firing up the same puffy-yet-dense bread served at its namesake. At Jimmy’s Falafel over on George Street, Simon Zalloua (ex-Rockpool) will be pumping out a falafel-heavy, mostly vegetarian menu. Expect a vibe that’s half takeaway joint, half bar-diner.
And this weekend, Merivale will launch the Sydney iteration of iconic Melbourne LGBTQI+ party night Poof Doof, flying in DJ Argonaut and DJ duo Jawbreakers (both stalwarts of the Melbourne event) for the night. They’ll be joined locals Sveta, James Alexandr and Charlie Villa. The party will take over the den, terrace and courtyard of the Ivy every Saturday night for the duration of the program.
Poof Doof joins the established Ivy precinct party nights, including salsa at Establishment, Swinging Speakeasy at Palmer & Co and R’n’B Fridays at Ivy. Marco Polo will return on Sundays for its 12th season at the Pool Club, and Chinese Laundry will ring in 22 years of underground debauchery.
“We want to create a diverse night-time economy that echoes the 24-hour sophistication and fun of the best places around the world,” Hemmes said in a statement. “Warm, inclusive, organic interaction and enjoyment, which is something all world-class cities excel at.”
Merivale’s summer program begins tonight and runs all summer.