Despite Meraqi Cafe Bar being an established location on Nicosia night life since 2013 it has managed to stay below the radar. The attributes that have allowed it to do so are exactly what makes this place great – it has soul, authenticity and an interesting selection of cocktails.
Like many a bar in Cyprus, it lives on a street corner but this corner is in a quiet little backstreet tucked away on the fringes of old town centre near the Oxi roundabout. It offers privacy and a space to be as you wish without prying eyes. Part of its charm is its hidden location, perfect if you want to escape from the maddening crowd and go find your peace.
It’s a small and cosy bar, seating 23 inside including seven bar stools in front of a gorgeous stretch of natural wood for a bar. On busy nights, it can overflow and during the warmer months they put a couple of tables out on the side street.
The bar’s décor is homely with wood, natural red brick and large roof to floor windows (to stare out of and enjoy the talented street art.) The tables are simple metal and black and a few comfy couch chairs exist to sink in to. Then there is the cute little wooden coat hanger to release the burden of carrying your excess clothing; a nice personal touch, which is basically what they are about.
They like to play blues, jazz and old school rock loud enough to hear but quiet enough to have a chat over. If a customer wants to have a go at Dj-ing, they are invited to do so.
Meraqi offers a good range of cocktails, 10 of which are classics and eight signatures created by the owner. Rambo’s Passion is the one of the more popular and is Meraqi’s own take on the classic Cypriot Brandy Sour. It includes the traditional ingredients with twists of passion fruit purée, home grown basil and a secret ingredient which ‘blends all the flavours together.’
If your cocktail is not to your liking, then staff are happy to mix their potions again to discover a taste that will leave you satisfied. They offer only one type of red and white wine. This however comes from the award winning Vouni Panayia Winery in Paphos. There are five bottled beers, Keo draft and two types of cider. No food, just old school nuts and crisps.
Meraqi supports local talent and often offer live events and open mic nights. They post their events on Facebook and are usually held on the weekends.
The bar is very busy during the weekends (especially with younger people) and throughout summer when the rest of Nicosia takes a long siesta. It’s also an unsung gift to folks over 20 who wish to chill during the week, knock back a tipple and enjoy one’s chosen company in a peaceful and approachable environment. They don’t take reservations.
Where: Aristidou 11C, Downtown, Nicosia
When: Monday-Saturday 7pm – 2am (might close a little earlier during weekdays)
Price: Bottled wines €15, Glass of Wine €5, Cocktails €6-9, Beer €2- 5
Contact: www.facebook.com/cafemeraqi/ Tel: 99 062391