Relax, you’re among friends.
Story: Christopher Holder
Jimbo & Rex: Crown Melbourne, Southbank VIC www.crownmelbourne.com.au/jimbo-and-rex
Before I even set foot in Jimbo & Rex, I liked it.
What not to like? I mean, I had no idea who Jimbo or Rex were but I felt sure they were friendly; in all probability human; and I got the feeling they were more than happy to knock the top off a cold one. Approachable, informal, family friendly… I had a good vibe about these guys.
The reality matches the promise. Jimbo & Rex is a new addition to Crown Melbourne’s ‘West End’. It’s replaced most of the real estate formerly occupied by The Pub and combines a casual ‘front bar’ with anytime dining.
Twin Towns Services Club:
Wharf St Tweed Heads NSW
(07) 5536 2277 or www.twintowns.com.au
Since its inception in 1950, Twin Towns Services Club has developed into a multi million-dollar business and the largest Services Club in Australia. The Management/Board of the club have begun a huge three-year/three-stage transformation. JVG Sound Lighting and Visual worked alongside Control Gadgets as the head audiovisual consultants of the newly completed Stage 1 of the proposed project work. Jade Golar, Managing Director of JVG worked closely with the Club, builders and programming specialists to produce a successful modern outcome for the project. JVG is now working on Stage Two of the project, to be completed prior to the end of 2012.
Bondi Icebergs Club:
1 Notts Ave, Bondi NSW
(02) 9130 3120 or www.icebergs.com.au
The iconic Bondi Icebergs Club looks like it’ll remain buoyant moving towards its 100th year with the new refurbishment. Designed and project managed by Sydney-based 2RKS Architecture + Design. Richard Salman, Director of 2RKS Architects says, “Part of the design brief was to create an atmosphere of warmth, invitation and comfort and competing with the best of any Eastern Suburbs venues without the pretence”.
1 Notts Ave, Bondi NSW 2026
(02) 9130 3120 or icebergs.com.au
As an early 100th birthday present, Icebergs has been given a refurbishment from Sydney-based 2RKS Architecture + Design. “Part of the design brief was to create an atmosphere of warmth, invitation and comfort, and competing with the best of any Eastern Suburbs venues without the pretense,” says 2RKS director Richard Salmon.
Having grown up near a beach community in Long Island, NY, Richard used his personal understanding of beach culture to design for people with an ever-increasing desire for appealing venues with good food and atmosphere, to enjoy with friends and family.
Parramatta Leagues Club, 13-15 O’Connell St, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 8833 0777 or http://www.parraleagues.com.au/
Paul Kelly Design’s concept for the Firehouse was based on the atmosphere and taste of Southern Italy, with the focus on the casual nature of sharing food and beverage. It was also based on a small-scale Italian kitchen, focusing on fire with the pizza oven which is in direct view of customers entering the space.
The space is split into 5 areas – Bar, Lounge, Lounge Dining, Main Dining and Outdoor. All of these spaces are designed to be operated independently or as the one venue, with the ability to work together and/or provide a multitude of different experiences.
Henderson Parade, Merewether Beach, Merewether NSW
(02) 4918 0000 or www.surfhouse.com.auMerewether Surfhouse brings three levels of distinctly beachside experiences to locals and tourists alike.
Merewether Surfhouse opened in November 2011 to a fair degree of immediate success, despite a summer plagued with rain and unseasonably cold weather. Starting on the ground floor, where the café and kiosk provide beachgoers with snacks and drinks, the focus moved to opening the top-level restaurant and bar, with its dramatic backdrop of surf, sand and sunsets. Then it was on to the function space in the middle, which, as General Manger Marc Allardice happily recounts, is now booked out through 2012 and beyond. “It’s been ticking along very, very well,” says Marc. “We’re a bit blown away, actually, as to how well the Surfhouse has been embraced.”
The Shellharbour Club:
Cnr Wattle & Shellharbour Rds Shellharbour NSW
(02) 4296 7155 or www.shellys.com.auShellys has the attention of its big city brethren. And for good reason.
For over 50 years the Shellharbour Workers Club had served the local Illawarra region 100-odd kilometres south of Sydney. With its poker machines, meat tray raffles, bingo and a Chinese restaurant providing familiar fare of a Friday night, all were housed within a somewhat boxy ‘post Vegas’ skin. But times had changed. Families and a younger demographic moved in, tastes became more sophisticated and locals expect much more from their club. Although the club moved and was re-built in the 1980s and had a refit in 1999, it looked tired and dated.
Matthew Street, Nambour QLD
(07) 5441 2366 or www.nambourrsl.com.auA new renovation severs all ties with the ’80s, helping Nambour RSL to be the envy of the Sunshine Coast.
It was a big year, 1980. Along with big hair, big bands and some blockbuster classic movie releases such as The Blues Brothers and The Shining, the Nambour RSL Club was born. Earning a steady stream of awards since 2008, its recent renovation has gently removed any hint of the ’80s, culminating this year in the fourth ‘Best Club Sunshine Coast’ award in five years, as well as bagging ‘Best Club Café’ in the annual Club QLD awards. Nambour RSL Club is nestled in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, between the mountains and the sea and the latest multi-million dollar renovations and refit helps the club compete on a level footing with glossy hotels and resorts.
Collegians Rugby League Football Club:
3A Charlotte Street Wollongong NSW
(02) 4229 7711 or www.collegians.com.auA lush garden oasis in Wollongong.
The Collegians Rugby League Football Club has always been one of the most popular clubs south of Sydney. But until recently was showing, what L’Oreal might call, the ‘visible signs of ageing’. As of 2012, after a $2m renovation, it looks super slick. In fact, care of natural finishes and lots of greenery, it looks and feels not unlike a tropical resort, offering the people of Wollongong a touch of the exotic: “The club’s an escape of sorts,” Marc Nicholas from Nicholas Associates Architects says. “People can feel as though they’re in their own little oasis.” The overhaul of the club was initiated in 2011. The project’s scope was twofold — the first phase involved expanding the outdoor gaming terrace from a capacity of 40 machines to 100, and the second involved increasing the size of a social terrace from 260sqm to 380sqm. “The venue just generally needed an upgrade,” Michael Wilkins, Collegian’s CEO, says. “We felt there were markets we needed to expand on; that being our gaming offering and our lounge offering. Everything we did in the design process was to appeal to females in small- to medium-sized groups. Our prime aim was not to build a barn of a club, but to build zones where people could mingle.”
12 Merriman Street, Blakehurst NSW
(02) 9546 4731 or www.clubblakehurst.com.au
(02) 9546 4731 or www.clubblakehurst.com.au
Club Blakehurst in New South Wales succumbed to fire in 2007, but its spirit did not. While the club was being rebuilt by Tony Owen Partners, the bowlers kept bowling and the club adjusted its focus towards families. venue talked to Greg Payne, who had been the chairman for 10 years prior to it burning down, and things are looking up. “An electrical fault took the whole thing down, but now it’s back on its feet. It was very stressful, but it’s been going really well since reopening. There’s been a shift towards families and everyone’s come back.”