I'm a freelance writer who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula. I enjoy finding new things to see and do in the beautiful area that I live in.
Published April 26th 2016
In the minds of most young people, bowls clubs are usually synonymous with one thing: the elderly. Sure, at one point, there was a trend for barefoot bowling, where younger people were encouraged to give the game a go (with a drink in one hand and a ball in the other), all while walking barefoot on the beloved turf of the local club. But this was a relatively short-lived sensation, especially with the onset of darkening winter nights and with other more exciting events and activities on offer.
City Memorial Bowls Club
The sport of bowls has therefore continued to bring to mind images of a large expanse of closely clipped green grass (usually artificial), dotted with numerous grey or white-haired figures. Unfortunately for their image, the club rooms of many of these establishments don't usually do much to dispel the stereotype, tending to look small and boxy, rarely renovated or changed since their construction decades earlier. Of course, that isn't to say that all clubs look like this. There are plenty that have embraced change by updating their look (inside and out) and catering to a wider audience than just the bowling community.
One such club is City Memorial Bowls Club in Warrnambool, a large town on the South-Western coast of Victoria. This club not only boasts a successful social competition, but it also hosts an impressive function room, live entertainment, poker nights, bingo, gaming (including Keno and poker machines), and is affiliated with the North Warrnambool Football Netball Club (among other local clubs and associations). In addition, the club also run a successful and trendy-looking café and a large, popular bistro.
The ordering area, kitchen and cake display
The bistro, which overlooks the bowling green, is impressive in size. Brightly lit (from both natural light and a pretty array of down-lights), it could easily seat over one hundred patrons comfortably. The menus for both lunch and dinner feature a range of dishes, and all within an extremely friendly budget. Vegetarians and coeliacs are catered for, and not only is there a children's menu, there is also a seniors' menu (for those elderly folks who are on more of a budget). There is a long and fully-stocked bar running along one side of the room, where diners can order beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks.
Salt & Pepper Squid Salad from the lunch menu
For those more interested in coffee and cake, there is a little barista station next to the food ordering counter, and an enticing cake display stand situated just in front of the kitchens. In keeping with the sports bistro theme, there are several televisions dotted around the room, each showing various sports (horse racing and AFL football seem to be the main ones on show), with occasional interruptions to announce the numbers drawn for the current Keno game on. There is also a pool table at the far end of the room (towards the end of the bar), for those who fancy a game.
Lamb Cutlets with Potato Mash, Vegetable Bake and Pan Gravy from the lunch menu
While the adults are enjoying a drink or meal, children are able to play in the Kids Room. While they must be under supervision at all times (there is a screen showing into the room for parents who are sitting in the bistro), there is plenty to keep them entertained. Activities include age-appropriate Playstation and Xbox games, and a DVD viewing section. There is also a selection of toys to play with for those who are younger or not technologically-minded.
Trio of Burger Sliders with Sweet Potato Chips from the lunch menu
Pulled Pork Burger with Steak Fries from the lunch menu
City Memorial Bowls Club impressively beats the stereotype for your average bowls club. There is a strong family-friendly atmosphere, the décor is modern and fresh, and the menu is both enticing and affordable. If you happen to be in Warrnambool, pay this place a visit and you are sure to be pleasantly surprised.