Balgowlah RSL_by_Luisa Brimble_1493_preview

RSL Clubs have come a long way since their beginnings in 1916. Initially known as the RSSILA, Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, the league was founded by WW1 returned servicemen to provide ongoing support and camaraderie to Australian service men and women during war. Clubs subsequently appeared throughout the states and evolved into licensed organisations to provide services to their members, and to protect and promote the ideals and heritage of the ANZACs.

Today’s RSL Clubs bear little resemblance to their origins, and nowhere is the change more striking than at Balgowlah RSL, which has become a chameleon of modern community, everchanging to reflect the changing society and renowned for reinventing itself. This week it will shed yet another skin to reveal its latest exciting iteration.

Originally built by volunteers from the Balgowlah Seaforth Clontarf Sub Branch formed in 1945, the original site was acquired through fund-raising activities such as raffles and dinner dances. The members cleared the land themselves and worked on weekends to slowly build the first Balgowlah RSL Memorial Hall. The club has changed its shape, style, and offerings several times since with major upgrades in 1977, 1990, and 2007. The latest changes follow the opening of the Club’s hugely successful Wine Bar and Restaurant last year, which with open fire, plush leather sofas, and an amazingly intimate ambiance, launched the Club into the stratum of inventiveness, boundary-pushing, and leadership.

This week the club launches its latest dining options, Bayshores Bistro and Bar, and Bayshores Café. The bistro and bar offer an inspirational selection of tempting cuisine from an extensive a la carte menu with regular specials, while Bayshores Café is the ideal choice for people wanting a light and healthy meal, or a homemade muffin with gourmet coffee in comfortable and sophisticated surroundings. These follow the recent opening of the Club’s tasteful and contemporary Gold Bar, which impresses with its levels of quality and service. The gold standard has certainly been achieved with a range of boutique beers, including 20 on tap, and a selection of exotic cocktails and wines.

The launch weekend of the new Balgowlah RSL Club is being held 18th & 19th May and will be celebrated with live bands, complimentary tastings from the menus plus prizes, including a $3,000 Jimmy Choo shoes voucher, golf clubs to the value of $3,000, a $500 Decjuba voucher, and dinner in The Wine Room for 10 valued at $500. On top of this, there will be reduced-priced drinks, $1 oysters, and complimentary drinks for diners in Bayshores Bistro.

The Club has lifted the bar once again, and the latest evolution leaves no doubt as to why it has a reputation of appealing to all ages and constantly keeping step with the community. For more information about what’s on at the Club, including the launch party, visit the Club’s website. Balgowlah RSL is conveniently located at 30- 38 Ethel Street Seaforth, and can be contacted on 9949 5477 or