The freshest venues opening in Australia this week 

April 16, 2024
By Cody Profaca

JAM Record Bar

Opening this Friday April 19 in Sydney’s CBD is JAM Record Bar, the latest venue by Merivale. 

Crafted as a passion project by Merivale CEO Justin Hemes and sister Bettina, the George Street venue houses a collection of 15,000 vinyl records curated by Nick van Tiel, Merivale’s Head of Music and Entertainment. The JAM will select their favourite records from the collection to spin on a custom vintage JBL sound system, meaning patrons can expect a unique music experience each and every day. 

The atmosphere imparted by the music is enhanced by a menu of Japanese-inspired snacks by Michael Fox, Head Chef at Merivale’s sushi e, and cocktails envisioned by Merivale’s Creative Cocktail Lead James Irvine. 

The interior decor pays homage to the listening bars of Tokyo but with an embedded ‘surround sound’ experience resulting from a carefully engineered combination of plywood, cork, and ‘Pint Batt’ insulation that attempts to make patrons feel as though they are sitting within a giant speaker. 

Expect an eclectic drinks menu featuring Highballs, Old-Fashioneds, and Margaritas alongside sake and a selection of local and international wines. 

The name itself, JAM, stems from parents of its founding siblings John and Merivale, who launched the JAM Jeans brand and clothing store JAM Shop after founding Merivale in the 1950s. 

Owned and run by the Hemmes family for over 60 years, the Merivale portfolio now expands more than 90 brands and venues. 

More information can be found here.

Mill Place Merchants

Mill Place Merchants, opening in Melbourne this Thursday 18 April, has been designed to satiate the every essence of speak-easy bar design. 

The quaint, 60-seat venue is housed in a heritage-listed 19th century building originally home to the Flemington Meat Preserving Company. While remaining true to its roots, the venue has been refurbished with opulent Victorian wingback chairs, chaise lounges, and leather Chesterfields. 

Standing as the centrepiece is the venue’s copper-topped bar. From here, the Mills Place Merchants team serves the cocktail menu curated by Italian mixologist Giancarlo Mancino and light-bites menu created by Chef Deepak Mishra on lavish silver trays. 

​”I wanted a space that offered genuine hospitality, with table service allowing patrons to relax and fully immerse in the experience,” said Mill Place Merchant’s Director, Paawan Engineer. 

“When guests step through the door, they will be treated like old friends, returning to their favourite venue. It’s not just about the drinks or the ambience, it’s about the people, the relationships, creating lasting memories and fostering a sense of community for everyone who walks through our doors.” 

In true speakeasy fashion, the entry itself is well hidden from casual passers by. Patrons should enter through the monogrammed red door at the end of Mill Place to find themselves in an old dressing room decorated with mannequins, rolls of fabric, and a vintage sewing machine, paying homage to the city’s once-thriving rag trade. From here, guests can push aside the grand gilt-framed mirror that sits at the end of the passageway to reveal the hidden entrance to the bar beyond.

For more information, click here.

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