Drawing on diverse influences such as The Hamptons, Montauk, the Mediterranean, and even a classic English garden, historic Sydney hotel The Newport has had a Merivale makeover and we like it a lot. Formerly known as The Newport Arms, the northern beaches venue boasts over 900 seats and combines several food offerings from a juice bar to a burger shack, coffee kiosk and pizza stall with fire pits, a live music stage and games area too.
“With such a vast venue we had to come up with a concept that would logistically work for so many people, so we took inspiration from festivals and created different food offerings,” says Merivale stylist Amanda Talbot, who says the team tried hard to balance practical concerns with respect for the history of the site. “We wanted to create a space in which locals and visitors would have fun and that people of all ages, from all walks of life, would feel comfortable in.”
The Deck live music area
The Terrace takes inspiration from the outdoor parks in Europe while The Deck is where live music is performed. “We took cues from Montauk in the US for the live music area and over at The Burger Shack we looked at Moroccan cactus gardens to drive our design,” says Amanda. Possibly our favourite area, for its good looks and bonus interactivity, the games area tucked behind The Kiosk is inspired by vintage gymnasiums.
“The concept of the games area came from when we designed the Coogee Pavilion. I really wanted to create a space that was not a crèche but would engage people of all ages to use it. I’m not sure why I came up with a giant magnetic scrabble board but I just thought it would be a fun game to play when you have a drink with your friends and would add extra theatre to the space,” says Amanda.
Ping Pong tables
“Regarding the ping pong tables, we all thought it was a more social game than pool and is a fun game. It’s really nice to see how different age groups move through the games area throughout the day. It starts with toddlers in the morning and adults of all ages in the evening after dinner. It’s nice to have a space where parents can go and know their children can have some fun in a venu.”
In operation since the 1880s, the venue’s rich history and local importance was a key consideration throughout the design process. “I have been to the venue and met three generations of family members enjoying the space who have so many wonderful stories to share. It was really important for us to keep the community feel in the space so we engaged local furniture makers, artists, and even outdoor umbrella makers who all live within the northern beaches. We also designed large tables because it is common for extended family and groups of friends to gather there,” says Amanda.
One aspect that certainly fosters a communal vibe is the outdoor fire pits. “Everyone loves to sit around a fire, especially when it is outside, so we created three seating zones throughout the venue where people could sit around and chat. It’s a really nice spot to meet people and get to know the locals,” says Amanda.
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