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Lifestyle : Pubs and Clubs 2012
1HERSA1 0018 8 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown For bookings, or more information visit www.bankstownsports.com | Ph. 9722 9888 www.atlantisseafood.com.au | 02 8899 8980 58-62 Delhi Road, North Ryde 2113 Lugarno Seafood Restaurant www.lugarnoseafood.com email@example.com 02 9534 5136 or 02 9584 3126 1220 Forest Road, Lugarno NSW 2210 Regals Rendezvous Restaurant www.regalsrendezvous.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org 02 9679 0175 249 Annangrove Road, Annangrove, NSW 2156 MOTHER'S DAY with our Customised Ala Carte Menu Celebrate MOTHER'S DAY with our Sumptuous Seafood Buffet Celebrate MOTHER'S DAY with our 3 Course Menu with a choice of Lobster Mornay Celebrate $65pp Lunch 12-3pm Full a la carte menu also available * no further discounts apply. 18 Tuesday, April 24, 2012 smh.com.au good living pubs & clubs special report Hitting the jackpot With pokie revenues in decline, venues find creative new ways to lure punters, writes Sue Williams. A roast doesn't satisfy members any more.' Anthony Ball, Clubs Australia T he washing hangs limply in the warm night air over the piazza, as families sit in tight little groups, feasting on wood-fired pizza. Couples wander through the street buying gelato. Rome? Florence? Bologna? No, Bankstown. It is Saturday night at the Bankstown Sports Club. In the indoor square, modelled on an Italian village, one group of diners is sampling tapas at the restaurant Stuzzichino, while another has chosen Pizzeria Bellucci. Nearby, in two Victorian-era railway carriages, diners are tucking into slow-roasted Berkshire pork rack with mash, sauteed figs, rhubarb, cider and pork scratchings. There is also crispy-skin barramundi with wilted spinach, saffron confit kipfler potatoes, chestnut puree and lemon. Chris Passanah surveys the scene with satisfaction. ''In the early days, we started off with a bistro when other clubs had a $2 roast and tripe,'' he says. ''Then we went to an Asian restaurant and now . . .'' Now the club, one of the biggest in Australia, offers a choice of six restaurants, bistros and cafes under one roof, as well as a wine bar with a relaxed tapas menu. In the face of growing competition for the entertainment dollar, falling pokie revenues in the wake of smoking bans, an uncertain gaming future and choosier customers, clubs and pubs across NSW are seeking new ways to lure customers. ''A roast and a chicken parmigiano doesn't satisfy the members any more,'' says the executive director of Clubs Australia, Anthony Ball. ''There's now a lot of competition for people's disposable income so clubs have been diversifying and changing their business strategies to include better food, accommodation and other innovative things, particularly to attract families.'' Bankstown Sports Club once collected 100 per cent of its revenue from pokies but that figure has steadily decreased to about 80 per cent. A pioneer of change, the club has created a multimillion-dollar, 4000-square-metre children's playground due to open next month. It also has a growing wedding and conference business. Similarly, Castle Hill RSL has built a state-of-the-art gym, with a gymnastic training centre and Olympic-size pool. The club rebranded itself as a meeting place for mothers and children and is a popular dining venue, particularly for yum cha at its Jin Yan restaurant. ''We identified there was a high volume of new housing estates coming into the Hills district, like in North Kellyville and Rouse Hill, so we focused on making our club relevant to the changing market, while still catering for our traditional customers,'' says the group marketing manager at Castle Hill RSL, Melanie Morson.
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