RSL clubs reposition to capture new markets

Once humble RSL clubs are getting a makeover, backed by a queue of eager Sydney hospitality operators.

Narrabeen RSL, locally known as the “Razza” is next in line, with CBRE’s Leif Olson and HTL Property’s Sam Handy seeking a leaseholder for the popular Northern Beaches venue.

It will provide a new lease on life for the club, which went into voluntary administration earlier this year after turnover and patronage took a pandemic-related hit.

To allow the facility to reopen, the facility’s landlord – the Narrabeen RSL sub-Branch – is seeking an operator with the right credentials to capitalise on the venue’s prime location. The RSL sub-Branch will work with the operator to continue to facilitate a meeting point for veterans and their families to access services, support and camaraderie, and to commemorate.

Olson said: “Savvy operators are changing tack, particularly post the pandemic, to increase their market appeal. For many RSL clubs, this means repositioning to target a younger demographic, focusing on entertainment to drive a quality F&B offering, and extending operating hours to be morning, noon and night, with additions such as kids play areas and barefoot bowls.”

Adapting to suit a changing local clientele has already paid dividends for the reinvented Dee Why RSL, which recently underwent a two-year, $100 million makeover.

While retaining its essence as a services club, where clientele stop and pay their respects to the fallen at 6pm every day, it’s broadened its offering with a swanky new cocktail bar serving its own gin creation under a five-tier chandelier, the opening of the largest sports bar on the Northern Beaches, a reimagining of its modern dining restaurant and the addition of regular DJs.

In the case of Narrabeen RSL, Olson said the venue offered significant potential given its prominent location behind Warriewood Square Shopping Centre and Narrabeen Lagoon, large residential trading catchment, existing membership base of circa 3500 and recent standing as one of the Northern Beaches most prominent live music venues.

There is also limited surrounding competition across clubs, pubs, restaurants and bars, with long tenure, market rents and flexible terms available for qualified prospective tenants.

HTL’s Handy said: “The Northern Beaches pub market is incredibly strong, which has attracted the likes of leading operators such as Justin Hemmes, Fraser Short and ALH. Narrabeen RSL provides a virtual blank canvas for an incoming operator to activate a more relevant and compelling F&B proposition and a completely differentiated offering across multiple levels, including extensive outdoor areas and use of the bowling greens.”

Sydney-wide, the power of differentiation has been borne out by the success of farm-to-plate operators, the launch of multiple microbreweries at Brookvale and the success of the expanding The Grounds empire combining cafes, bars and restaurants, with coffee roasteries, bakeries, florists and markets.

The Narrabeen Expressions of Interest campaign closes Thursday 7 July 2022 (if not leased prior).

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Categories: Property