The Aspire Bar & Lounge took advantage of an underutilised function space.

Club Charlestown has made the most of circumstances, turning an underutilised function space into a gaming room and installing additional machines following the merger with Newcastle Leagues Club, which failed to reopen after Covid shutdowns. 

Club Charlestown was left with an additional 38 poker machine licences from the NCL merger but after it failed to reopen it was decided to reallocate space within the Charlestown club, switching the expansive function space with the crowded gaming room.

“One of the legacies of Covid was that people’s personal space expectations grew,” Club Charlestown and Club Lambton CEO Michael Gray told Club Management. “Clubs had to adapt to social distancing customers and to create more space in their gaming rooms to meet these changed expectations.”

The entry to the new Aspire Bar and Lounge at Club Charlestown.

With the help of Webber Architects, and a new gaming room and floor design by Tony Donnelly of Donnelly Design, the room now offers larger poker machine bases (1m wide and with LED lighting), an increased outdoor area, privacy screens, greater machine spacing, and a dedicated blackjack and roulette machine room along with new carpet and paint. 

“These changes plus the additional poker machine licences acquired from NCL created the need for greater space. Our existing gaming floor had 101 machines, was very crowded with 28 machines outside and 73 inside. With the NCL licences, the club had a total of 136 licences,” Gray said.

Club Charlestown was able to complete the $2m upgrade in 26 weeks without impacting trade and flipped the room overnight, with Collaborative Construction moving the existing gaming floor and adding an additional 25 machines into a new floor of 126 machines with 10 licences to spare. The old gaming room was turned into Aspire Bar and Lounge.

Read all about the swap in the Autumn issue of Club Management. Free to club employees. Subscribe now.

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