When you enter the small, dark space of the Merivale Group’s newest boozy venture, Work in Progress, the first thing you see is the burst of colour that is the work of artist Frank Gohier.

The abstract, colourful, comic-book style artwork plays into this venue’s grungy, haphazard layout. The furniture is mismatched and games such as Connect Four are on the tables alongside cans of beer. The room is broken up by exposed wooden walls, beams and tables across which are strewn coloured pencils – inviting patrons to add their own artworks to the bare wood and feed the overall idea of the venue itself is a constant work in progress.

“When Justin Hemmes [CEO of Merivale Group] asked me to help design the venue, I immediately thought of Frank,” explains Glenn Barkley, former senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art. “We needed an idea that would fill the architecture of the space.”

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The cocktail list is an ever-evolving selection of three concoctions. “Fresh juice cocktails are the trend at the moment, and why wouldn’t we take advantage of the amazing produce we have access to?” says group bar manager Paul Mant. Each evening’s menu will reflect the freshest produce of the day.

Although cocktails are the star of the show, chef Air Jantrakool brings a refreshing take on the standard bar-snack menu. Coming from a long stint at Sailors Thai Canteen, Jantrakool is serving fresh and simple dishes such as smoky trout wrapped in betel leaf with fresh ginger lime and peanut; marinated mince prawns wrapped in egg noodle and plum sauce; and a variety of stir-fried noodles and curries.

Work in Progress

50 King Street, Sydney


Mon to Fri 11am–late

Sat 5pm–late