The Six Degrees Architects-initiated Meyers Place bar in Melbourne will close its doors in June 2017.
Meyers Place, designed and self-built by Six Degrees Architects, is widely credited as the first laneway bar in Melbourne. Opened in 1994, the bar has received a number of awards including a Merit Award for Interior Architecture at the 1995 Victorian Architecture Awards and the inaugural Melbourne Prize at the 1997 Victorian Architecture Awards, which is awarded for “a significant improvement of Melbourne.”
In 2014 the venue was inducted into the Eat Drink Design Awards Hall of Fame. “Meyers Place stands tall as a design template for Melbourne’s – and arguably Australia’s – small bar and laneway culture,” said the jury. “It’s the kind of bar that all the other bars want to be.”
In 2016 Meyers Place was a Bronze recipient of the City of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor’s Commendations, an accolade that recognizes the long-term commitment of independent small businesses.
Reflecting on Meyers Place, Six Degrees Architects’ first hospitality project, director James Legge told ArchitectureAU:
It was 1994, the liquor licensing laws had recently changed but there was nowhere good to drink in town that wasn’t a pub or a night club.
With a bunch of friends, a budget of $30,000 and the contents of various building site dumpsters, Six Degrees Architects set about changing this.
We were six recent architectural graduates, with a small practice in Richmond. On the boards were various small renovations of terrace houses, but no experience in hospitality.
We knew we wanted something that Melbourne didn’t have. A small laneway bar with no name, something that you had to be in the know to find. Believe it or not, nothing happened in the laneways of Melbourne in the early 1990’s. It seems others felt the same way and Meyers Place, as it came to be known, helped spawn the laneway [culture] of Melbourne with the plethora of small laneway ventures that currently activate our city.
It provided Six Degrees with a launching pad into hospitality work and an understanding and interest in how people occupy space and how architecture can help activate the public realm.
Six Degrees is saddened by the decision to close Meyers Place, but remain proud of its place in the cultural history of Melbourne and in its role in initiating the revitalization of Melbourne’s laneways.
Meyers Place is dead, long live Meyers Place!
The co-owner of Meyers Place, Drew Pettifer, said, “The owners of the Waiters Restaurant are our landlords and they gave notice that they do not intend to offer us another lease when the current lease expires on 22 June. We respect their right to use their space as they see fit, but are nonetheless disappointed to be closing after 23 years of operation.”
The owners of Meyers Place are currently seeking a new site for the bar. “If we can secure a new location we intend to bring the iconic Six Degrees fit out with us, panel by panel. It won’t be exactly the same place, but we would like to capture the spirit of the bar as much as possible,” Pettifer said.