Gympie RSL CEO Steve Lancaster
Gympie RSL CEO Steve Lancaster

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Gympie’s new-look RSL

THE coronavirus restrictions have been a "blessing and a curse" for the Gympie RSL, but the $7.2 million renovations have remained on track, and the new-look club could be revealed a few days ahead of plan.

Gympie RSL Club CEO Steve Lancaster is hoping to welcome patrons into the club's new main floor from December 1, and said he was excited to unveil the new look.

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"I'm keeping it a little bit under wraps … I want to build excitement," he said.

Mr Lancaster said the renovations had remained on track despite the coronavirus, and said in some ways the lockdown had been a blessing.

While the doors had to be closed to patrons for a period of time, Mr Lancaster said it gave the tema a chance to rearrange the construction and complete a lot of work without causing disruptions to staff or patrons.

Gympie RSL CEO Steve Lancaster is excited to unveil the new and improved venue in December
Gympie RSL CEO Steve Lancaster is excited to unveil the new and improved venue in December

The ground level reopened to patrons in July as restrictions eased, but Mr Lancaster said the staff were excited to welcome both regulars and new customers to the main level in December.

"Our regulars are dying to get back in to normal," he said.

"Some love the social aspect and for some it's like their second home, it's like family."

Mr Lancaster said the upgraded facility attracted people from all age groups and lifestyles, and was a "place for everybody".

The RSL's top-floor Orchard Room has been extended and will be the club's main floor, and there will be two function rooms, extra dining, and a new sports bar on the ground floor.

Mr Lancaster said the renovated level would feature a bistro-style restaurant, alfresco dining, and a central bar and coffee station with booths.

"Everything on our main floor will be level too, we wanted to cater to everybody," Mr Lancaster said.

"This renovation has been about accessibility and mobility."

An artist’s impression of the new look RSL shows the bistro and kids area at the bottom left, alfresco the right, the bar in the middle and a larger gaming room at the back.
An artist’s impression of the new look RSL shows the bistro and kids area at the bottom left, alfresco the right, the bar in the middle and a larger gaming room at the back.

"The main dining room will be bistro-style, order at the counter but our team will deliver meals to your table."

An elevator has also been installed to connect the two floors, and Mr Lancaster said there would be no more "waiting for staff to use the chairlift" into the gaming room.

The club will be providing 10 extra poker machines in the new gaming area, taking the total up to 90, with room for more in the future.

"Our licence hasn't changed, it's for 98, so we haven't reached that yet," Mr Lancaster said.

As for downstairs, he said the two function rooms would have sound-proof walls for live music and events, and the current gaming room would be turned into a new sports bar with TVs, TAB and pool tables.

"When people go to a sports bar they expect it to be noisy and rowdy, so with it down this way it won't affect the other areas of the club," Mr Lancaster said.

It might be hard to picture, but come December this will be the new main dining room with an alfresco area to the left, dining in the centre and a kids area off the right, all with a view over Mary Street.
It might be hard to picture, but come December this will be the new main dining room with an alfresco area to the left, dining in the centre and a kids area off the right, all with a view over Mary Street.

Another major part of the renovation was the addition of a multi-deck carpark behind the club, and Mr Lancaster said patrons would be entering from Mary Street, and then exiting onto Nash Street.

There will be a second entry to the club from the back, as well as the main foyer on Mary Street, which will also undergo a makeover.

This will the main floor’s central bar and coffee station, and the gaming room will be down the back.
This will the main floor’s central bar and coffee station, and the gaming room will be down the back.

Mr Lancaster said the foyer would have a sandstone wall with a mural dedicated to past conflicts, and poppies would be featured on the carpet.

The renovations are the first of a three-stage plan, with more upgrades to follow, including a possible carpark on the roof of the club.