There are seafront bars and restaurants all along the beach in Çalış. A famous sunset to marvel over as you drink and dine. So, really, when Meri Bar appeared on the scene all those years ago, people would’ve been forgiven for looking aghast and thinking, “Well, that’ll never work!”
Situated on a main road terrace block a couple of minutes’ walk from those beachy scenes, the outdoor views from Meri Bar were not of sunsets but of passing traffic – or standing traffic, depending on the colour of the traffic lights. The sounds from Meri Bar were not of crashing waves but of engines and beeping horns.
Inside, Meri Bar was tiny. Just three or four tables and seating round the bar. The ladies loo was to be reached by a narrow passageway, lined on one side by crates and boxes of soft drinks piled high. If you were on the larger side of small, you had to walk at a slight angle to get by.
In other times and other places, Meri Bar would never have worked. But it did work! It became (in)famous, in fact. And in early 2018, the Meri moved a couple of doors up the road to bigger premises…
Meri Bar, Çalış
It’s not all about ‘location, location, location.’ A very decent landlord and one of the best stocked spirits bars in the Fethiye area means the Meri has had its stalwart regulars from the beginning.
We’re not for one minute going to pretend we were Meri regulars when it was in its old home. Many of those years were our Paspatur nights-out-in-Fethiye years. But if we did venture in the Çalış direction, we’d often sit and have a drink there if we saw friends sat outside.
One For The Road
We’d also bob in for a drink if we were en route back home from Çalış and ‘one for the road’ was decided upon. Ahhh, maybe ‘location, location, location’ does have a part to play, then.
And this is why we’ve described the Meri as (in)famous. Because many is the time you will speak to someone and they’ll say, “Well, we ended up in Meri Bar for one on the way home.” They don’t need to expand on that. If you’re in the know when it comes to Meri Bar, you’ll do a sharp intake of breath and an exhale of, “Ohhhh.”
‘One for the road’ at Meri Bar is always more than one. You just know those people had a late night/early morning.
Meri Bar Features
Since their big move and revamp, we would probably call ourselves regulars of Meri Bar, now. There’s more room for manoeuvre, it’s stylish, there’s comfortable indoor seating, outdoor seating area and a 50-50 area – outdoor space with sliding glass windows for winter.
The bar still has its very decent spirit collection, there’s a coffee bar complete with professional espresso machine. The bar seating still has its regulars occupying the same seats but now they have a bit more room. There’s also pool, a couple of dartboards and a stage. Meri Bar now has live music on Thursday and Sunday nights.
And, perhaps even more surprisingly, there is now also a food menu at Meri Bar. We say ‘surprisingly’ because Meri Bar was always just an out and out bar – a place that served drinks. Drinks primarily of the alcoholic variety. Even the coffee machine was a (nice) surprise. But food? That wasn’t what we were expecting.
Meri Bar Food
And what of this food? When Meri Bar owner, Hasan, told us they were having a kitchen built, we were intrigued. And once the menus were ready, we just had to try out this whole new world of Meri Bar food.
Not Just Bar Snacks
We thought maybe it was just going to be a kitchen rustling up a few chips and perhaps the odd processed burger for hungry customers who didn’t fancy moving on elsewhere for food. But the very reasonably priced menu has got a good few choices on there…and there’s a chef…and the food’s really good!
Now, don’t get us wrong, here. You’re not gonna say, “Oh, let’s go out to Meri Bar for a gourmet lunch / dinner.” We’re talking pub grub, here. Just good quality pub grub. Salads, toasties, burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, omelettes, pasta dishes, chicken and meat dishes…fish and chips.
That was Barry’s order. We’ve eaten at Meri Bar twice, now, and both times he’s ordered fish and chips. Crispy battered goujons served with chips and tartare sauce. Not the ginormous portions you get at Charcoal Palace just across the road but big enough, all the same.
As for me; we’ve eaten there twice and both times, I’ve ordered pasta. The pasta dishes are great – just make sure you’re hungry because the portions are very generous. The first time, I had penne with strips of beef in a creamy cheese sauce. The second time, it was the one above: Penne and spicy prawns. Just really tasty.
We’ve spoken to lots of people now about the new Meri Bar and they all say, “Have you tried any of the food? Actually, it’s really nice.” We all nod, approvingly.
Sometimes, when we write about a place, we’ve been there once or twice and we tell you we’ll definitely be back there one day. We don’t need to do that with the new Meri Bar. Well, we’re always back there, anyway.
Meri Bar, Çalış – Useful Information
- Meri Bar is on Mustafa Kemal Bulvarı in Çalış, just before the main crossroads with the beach road, Barış Manço Bulvarı.
- Meri Bar is open daily (except New Year’s Eve) from early afternoon until late.
- Live music is on Thursday and Sunday nights. This could be subject to change, so if you are going to the bar especially to see a band, check first.
- For more photos and updates, you can like Meri on Facebook and / or follow them on Instagram.
- You’ll find Meri Bar in the Çalış section of our places to eat and drink around Fethiye.