The Brains Behind the Bar: Merrick Horam

Credit: Rafters Bar Facebook

By now we’re all familiar with the Happy Hour events, each Wednesday night, from 5pm at CSU’s own trusty Rafters bar. 

The cocktail jugs, the bucket hats, the clever themes, dedication to those themes, the live entertainment, Rafters Happy Hour is on the fast track to becoming one of the iconic uni nights, (on par with Cheekies? Time will tell) but let’s look at the man behind it. 

Rafters Happy Hour started late 2021, in the aftermath of a mass exodus of on campus students – Chifley halls, JOV huts, Diggings and Cotts were all cleared out in lockdown, with only a handful of us allowed to stay for priority study or work reasons. When the sun rose on freedom, there was, for lack of a better term, shit all to do. Until Merrick Horam, pitched the idea of a chill night on the beers in the fast fading uni bar. 

Merrick is a jack of all trades, CEO of the trendiest clothing brand in all the Central West, DRAFTBRAND, RL of the CD Centaurs, trusty Domino’s Delivery Driver, and now, the Brains Behind the Bar. 

I got the chance to speak to Merrick about the Happy Hour nights, and what’s to come. 

E: Why did you start Happy Hour? 

M: Happy Hour was really only kicked off because of the lack of on campus events at the time, primarily as a result of the COVID pandemic and frequency of changing restrictions.

The Ox nights weren’t really hitting at the time, no dance-floor, no singing, everyone and their cat crowding into the one club trying to make up for lost time – in some cases you’d have to arrive at 9 at the latest, and that makes for a long and expensive night. 

The initial idea behind Happy Hour was to find a day to open Rafters every week and let both students and non-students come to enjoy the amazing on campus bar we have available just sitting there on the library lawn

Rafters has a rich history on the CSU campus, but then the ‘P’ word came along, and it sat empty, much like the rest of campus in 2020. Then, in early 2021, Rafters continued to lay silent as the long and tedious process of acquiring a liquor license. Just as that was cleared, the ‘P’ word reared it’s ugliest head again, and those of us who know campus outside the pandemic were beginning to wonder if Rafters would become an old wives tale on the streets of Bathurst. 

Merrick really only got to enjoy Rafters once, on Dag Night in his first year, 2020, but it was enough to leave a mark. 

I loved the ease of access and the energy there so I wanted to bring that back to the campus experience.

M: Happy Hour is every Wednesday, there is an opportunity for students to have a break on hump day from their studies and unwind. It’s been an absolute blast to organise and plan events on campus for my peers and the reception has been really great so far

E: So, what kind of events can we look forward to? 

Like a politician with media training, Merrick was pretty tight lipped about what’s to come, so I guess we all just wait to find out. 

I can’t spill too much, but we have plenty of dress up themed nights to look forward to which are always a lot of fun to put on.

Get friendly with the Vinnies ladies, I think we’re gonna need a wardrobe dedicated only to costumes. 

M: One of the biggest draw-ins of Happy Hour is that it’s the same time every week, and that students can walk to and from Happy Hour. Also the mid-week uni bar events are popular because it encourages mainly uni students to come meet their peers and have a few drinks in the process.