Meraki Arts Bar On Sydney’s Oxford Street Announces It Will Close

Meraki Arts Bar On Sydney’s Oxford Street Announces It Will Close
Image: Meraki Arts Bar Instagram

Meraki Arts Bar, on Sydney’s Oxford Street, is set to close and reportedly be replaced by a nightclub.

Opened in October 2022, Meraki Arts Bar is a multi-storey arts venue featuring performance spaces, an art gallery, and two bars.

‘They Wish To Replace Us With A Nightclub’

In a statement posted to social media, co-founders Bertie Boekemann, Luke Holmes, Margaret Thanos, and Kieran Took cited the “current real estate landscape of Oxford Street” as the reason for the closure. 

They wrote, “It is with great sadness and heartache that we announce the closure of Meraki Arts Bar.

“The current real estate landscape of Oxford Street and pressure from our Landlord have combined to make continuing too great a risk for ourselves and all upcoming artists.

“Our landlord has made it known to us that they wish to replace us with a nightclub. The recent rejuvenation of the area makes this a much greater possibility than it was when we moved in, and the real estate landscape on Oxford Street does not allow us to financially compete with that business model,” the statement continued.

“We have had to make the devastating decision to close our doors – as continuing with this much uncertainty would only risk further financial harm for both ourselves and all upcoming and currently unpaid artists.”


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A post shared by Meraki Arts Bar (@merakisyd)

They added, “While closing at this point is the most responsible course, it does leave many artists without a home for their upcoming show, and some who performed with us recently are still awaiting payment.”

According to the post, in order to reconcile this, Meraki Arts Bar will be “gathering as much capital through liquidation as we can” in order to settle outstanding debts and payments. 

Those who had tickets to upcoming shows will be contacted by the venue for a refund or you can donate your ticket “to ensure that as many artists as possible are paid as much as possible.”

Meraki Arts Bar Patrons React

Patrons of the venue reacted to the news in the comments. 

Sydney Drag performer Ruby Royale wrote, “Thank you for all of your kindness and support to the community, wishing the team all the best on your next adventure.”

Sydney-based performer Happy Feraren commented, “This is really sad. Meraki was such a great and welcoming space for artists who dont usually have a place to express and try new things out. This is absolutel heartbreaking. We don’t need another night club!”

That Theatre Company wrote, “Devastated guys. Sending you so much love. Our company exists because of you, and we couldn’t have found a more perfect venue for our first show, nor a lovelier team of humans to look after us. Thank you for everything. We’ll help you on your next adventure however we can.”

Sydney-based artist Billy White wrote, “Huge loss for the community. Everyone who stepped foot in Meraki had a profound experience. The hospitality was top notch and your team were so extraordinary to work with. Your diverse programming was one of a kind. The love and support you gave to artists was unparalleled.”

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One response to “Meraki Arts Bar On Sydney’s Oxford Street Announces It Will Close”

  1. Very Sad
    You guys gave it your best shot, and created a pulse in a block that was deemed dead. That’s the problem. One does the hard work, and then the lazy landlord jumps on your entrepreneurialism
    However, in reality I didn’t think if it was sustainable for artists to make some good capital return on the site, due to the size and the existent rents, insurance and electrical -maintenance costs.
    Hence when we reached out to Bertie and crew, and we discussed numbers, and found it wasnt feasible for us, and having experience internationally as both room booker / promoter / and artist, I wondered how the heck the Meraki were able to keep up and actually make money yourselves!
    The Fact that they were open for 12 months, with an incredible array of artists is fantastic. They Gave people a chance. God Bless em

    I found the Meraki crew, wonderful to deal with nonetheless. They were open to ideas, and conversation,. I hope they continue to promote in other spaces, and stay in the industry. This is the youth we need in the business. But Sydney is a problem. Its culture is cocaine and gambling not entertainment, and those 2 aforementioned things is what drives Sydneys delusional real estate prices to extreme levels. The only real art that is practiced in Sydney is the art of greed and self indulgence.

    Jimmy Vargas