The Concord – that’s the new name of the old Concord RSL and Community Club which is currently being gutted by new owners The Croatian Club Ltd and will make way for an exciting multi-million dollar refit.
The Concord will feature a totally new design by Altis Architecture, new livery with hints of Croatian colours and food inspired by the Dalmatian Coast with fresh and grilled seafood, plus a rotisserie for whole pigs or lamb and two wood-fired pizza ovens.
A guided tour of the site by The Concord directors Michael Rimac and David Matesic shows how the design elements of the 2100sqm inner western Sydney site have been inspired by Merivale concepts including Justin Hemmes’ The Newport and the upstairs function space by operators such as Paul Signorelli’s Doltone House.
The Croatian Club Ltd sold its own site in Punchbowl to pay its way out of a $5m debt and had enough left to purchase Concord RSL and Bowling Club from RSL NSW for $8.55m last year. Plans were leaked on the club’s Facebook site, as revealed by Club Management last week.
While the modern fit-out will be created to lure in new members, The Concord also intends to reinstate the original war memorial feature, and hand over Anzac Day responsibilities to the local RSL sub-branch. Gaming will remain, likely starting with 20 EGMs, from of a permissible 40 but it’s not a focus.
“Gaming is not big in our culture,” said Michael, a builder and developer himself, during the site visit this week. “When Punchbowl closed pokies revenue was less than 10 per cent of takings.”
But food is big and the outdoor dining area will be the major focus. From the front, the main entry will feature a drive-through porte-cochere to a stairway that will lead guests to the foyer area, a massive two-storey lightwell. To the right will be a separate entry to the 340-person function space.
On the left, once into the club, there will be a cafe, lounge and, in the distance a two-storey bar, behind which is the alfresco area with raised terrace and booths set among olive trees, bocce pitches, big screen and kids play area.
“A quarter of a million Australians used to visit Croatia every year,” says David. “We want to bring a taste of that culture back here.”
While the old RSL club failed financially, The Concord has reached out to the remaining RSL club directors for their input.
“We are in contact with the community, we asked for their feedback and while we will be bringing in our people and the pride we have in our culture through food, fitout and hints in the design, this is a club for everyone,” said Michael.
The Concord plans will be submitted to the City of Canada Bay council in the middle of the year and, if approved, will go to an independent planning panel. The Concord is looking to open on the October long weekend of 2023.
Read all about the new plans for The Concord in the inaugural issue of Club Management Magazine which you can subscribe to here.