Pop art meets punchy cocktails at the Merivale Group’s newest pop-up bar, Work in Progress. Located in the CBD on King Street, where the Trumps Tavern used to reside, the space is being boldly revitalised as part art installation/thai restaurant/bar. Though a crazy combination, everything about this place is authentic. Former senior curator of the MCA, Glenn Barkley, and Darwin based artist, Frank Gohier, work together to fill the space with a rotating selection of art, making this an exciting installation space. In the kitchen, chef Air Jantrakool formerly of Sailors Thai fixes up Thai food to accompany the on trend fresh fruit cocktails conjured up by Merivale Group Bars Manager Paul Mant and served up by head bartender Peter Ehemann.
Walk through the doors of Work in Progress and you’re instantly greeted by the colour and chaos of Gohier’s comic-book, pulp fiction style art. Take a look at Gohier’s signature pinball-arcade type pieces. Now turn around and check out the other walls filled with posters and souvenirs of crime fighters, newspapers, gangsters and skulls while you sit on one of the worn in leather couches or the stools surrounding the wooden spool tables.
Feel free to leave your own mark and use any of the coloured pencils left lying around the bar to
graffiti artistically doodle onto the exposed wood. If there’s not enough going on to keep your senses stimulated at this busy and buzzing bar, take a seat and try your hand at some Jenga or Connect Four. On your next trip here, keep an eye out for any changes – the art is constantly changing in this studio.
To eat, there’s tasty Thai bar snacks served as individual pieces, such as the marinated mince prawns wrapped with egg noodle and plum sauce. Or if you’re looking for a full meal, there’s plenty of dishes like Pad Thai or Dry red curry stir fried with crispy pork and snake bean to satisfy that hunger. The food’s as colourful and as visually stunning as the surrounding art, and packs a serious flavour punch.
Of course, no bar is complete without its booze. There’s an assortment of wines by the glass and the bottle to choose from and a simple curated list of 3 cocktails. Never fear though, the drinks menu is also rotating and you can be assured that when you come back another selection of cocktails will be there to entice you. All of the cocktails are $18 and our current love is the Pomelo Fizz; a fizzy, citrusy mix of Avion Blanco Tequila & Aperol with fresh grapefruit, passion fruit, lemon & soda. Or try the more hipster Down The Stairs; Zubrowka and Almond with fresh lemon and pressed apple, served not ironically in a mason jar. The drinks are seasonal and super fresh – there’s crates of produce just sitting on the bar counter waiting to be juiced.
Everything about this bar is a work of progress, and though its drinks and art keep changing, expect the hip, grungy, industrial and yet cozy vibes to stay the same.