Bars and Nightclubs
Oxford Street, Sydney

Name This Bar

197 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, NSW
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Located smack bang in the hustle and bustle of Oxford St, Name This Bar has a grungy boho chic feel. It boasts mismatched furniture take for example the red velvet sofa my friends and I decided to sit on and the leopard skin armchair. Mercier tells me the furniture is all second hand - purchased from garage sales. He even said one of the tables in the middle was a table in his old house and instead of putting it out for council pickup, he took it to the bar.

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Name This Bar Review


Review By Nastasia Campanella

When you start a business, generally you know the basic way it will run. I mean, you don't take a risk without a plan right? Simon Mercier didn't really have a plan when he opened his new bar, but that seems to now be what's made his venture successful. He bought a building and knew he wanted to open a bar. What kind of bar, the name and the decor weren't something he'd thought about. Mercier's bar opened in December 2009 and four months later, it still doesn't officially have a name. Simply, the venue is called Name This Bar and while Mercier is calling for us to name the place for him, many argue the title is perfect and should stay.

Located smack bang in the hustle and bustle of Oxford St, Name This Bar has a grungy boho chic feel. It boasts mismatched furniture take for example the red velvet sofa my friends and I decided to sit on and the leopard skin armchair. Mercier tells me the furniture is all second hand - purchased from garage sales. He even said one of the tables in the middle was a table in his old house and instead of putting it out for council pickup, he took it to the bar.

Mercier, who ran White Horse in Surry Hills, said he really didn't have a plan for this place - not even an idea of what to do on the walls. "An English guy walked into the bar one night and told me he had an idea for some art which had been successful in the UK," said Mercier. "He'd been trying to find a bar in Sydney where he could set up his art and I needed someone to decorate for me - it just worked out for us both."

Secret Wars is a concept where art is drawn using textas. Each month Name This Bar holds competitions where patrons take the piss out of each others work – drawing cartoons all over the walls. At the end of each month the pictures are wiped away – ready for the next round of local, unknown artists to walk in the door. Our favourite on the night we went was an image of a monkey wearing a nappy.

The bars quirky identity is obvious from the second you walk in. There is a question mark sign on the front door – symbolic of the nameless face. Inside however, there is a wall dedicated to potential names suggested by visitors. If you have a name suggestion, grab a pen and write it up there. My favourite suggestion so far is Sham Wow! For me though, the title is perfect the way it is!

My friends and I were out for Birthday celebrations so it was a good thing the drinks list provided a couple of nice ones. We tried the Midori margarita [$12], served martini style, lime, Midori and Tequila was shaken together. I found there was a bit to much lime for my taste buds. The Jagerette [$12], was a strong mix of Jagermeister which was set off nicely with a sweet shot of Peach Schnapps. The Citrus Sling [$15], was just the right balance of fruit and alcohol – there was even a huge piece of apple served in the tall glass.

The choice of food on the other hand was a little disappointing. There really wasn't much variety and nothing jumped out at me. We decided to go elsewhere for dinner, but they did have some tasty looking Dumplings and a great value Mezza plate [$15], with dips, bread, olives and eggplant.

It was nice to be out on a Saturday night, in a place where jeans and t-shirts weren't frowned upon. The mostly late 20’s crowd was very relaxed and friendly. Name This Bar sounds like a great place to head to during the week as well. Enjoy the daily happy hour from four to seven, where tap beers are $4 and Mojito's are $6. Art buffs will enjoy the weekly exhibitions every Wednesday where wines are $7.

Despite being known as a small bar, Mercier hasn't taken one of the new small bar licenses recently introduced by Mayor, Clover Moore. He tells me the property where Name This Bar is housed came with an existing license when he purchased it and he's sticking with that for now. "I feel like I'm doing everything Clover wanted - providing a personal drinking experience, with great food in a more cultural atmosphere without having the license she fought so hard to get in place."

Name This Bar looks set to be an ever-changing project with not much set in stone. Mercier seems to like this factor, telling me this has been the most rewarding work he's done. I get the feeling he loves letting the people have a choice in what they drink, what they eat and how they want their bar to look. I feel there is lots of promise in his concept, charm in his idea and I’ve got my fingers crossed the bar with no real name stays that way. Why name the bar when everyone loves the idea behind the lack of one?

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