Geebung RSL in Brisbane’s north has opened the door to The Cove Kitchen and Bar, its new indoor-outdoor dining area.

Geebung RSL worked with Ashely Cooper Construction and BSPN Architecture to replace the club’s underutilised sports bar and bottle shop with a new commercial kitchen and a 170-seater dining area for members and guests. Doors to The Cove officially opened at the end of January.

As part of the revamp, the club applied for new food and liquor licences.

“The reason we had a liquor licence variation was because there was an ever so marginal increase in the floor space,” explained Geebung RSL CEO Greg Hurley.

“The parameters of the new area, which got pushed out by probably 1.5 metres to what it used to be, instigated the need for a review by the Office of Liquor and Gaming.”

The club also applied for a permit to enable for live entertainment in the new alfresco dining area.

“Because we have that garden terrace area, we wanted the provision to provide light entertainment if we wanted to. The noise level limit had to be prescribed; we opted for the standard 75 decibels to allow for acoustic or soloist,” Hurley said.

Designed to be more contemporary than the club’s traditional cafe and restaurant options located upstairs, The Cove has a selection of share plates, salads, and pizza on the menu. Weekend breakfast is also available.

“I think the underlying theme of our strategy has been to grow our demographic,” Hurley said.

“Obviously, we have a very strong base demographic of age 55-plus … [but] the demographic is changing … there are a lot of young families, young couples who work from home who wouldn’t traditionally go to the RSL, so for us [The Cove] is just another more contemporary way of attracting new demographics to the club.”

The Cove also has off-street access so diners can bypass the typical reception sign-in process.

“It attracts people who may or may not have thought about going to an RSL, but when they get into The Cove they may be inclined to come into other areas, listen to entertainment, or go to the sports bar or come to shows,” Hurley said.

Hurley highlighted how important the food and beverage offering is for clubs like Geebung RSL.

“The area where there’s most growth opportunity in terms of increasing membership and increasing revenue is really around food,” he said. “That’s where the controllable is. It’s in our power to create opportunities for ourselves.

“Food is still the number one reason people attend a venue; it’s to eat. Whether they come for a drink or to play is the secondary consideration in most cases.”

Additionally, Geebung RSL also welcomed a new sports lounge known as The Hub as part of the renovation. Hurley described The Hub as a multipurpose sports lounge and function space, which is also home to the TAB service, two pool tables and TV screens for sports viewing.

With the downstairs level of Geebung RSL now modernised, Hurley has his eyes set on refurbishing the upstairs space in the next three to five years.

“The Cove has set the standard from both a design and functionality point of view, and we want to carry that through upstairs,” he said.

“Being an older club, there are multiple service points that aren’t necessarily as efficient as they could be, so obviously, it’s looking at how we can centralise those service areas.”

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