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13 July, 2022

‘Wow’ expansion for club

THERE is an immediate wow factor when you enter the redeveloped Atherton International Club, with the transformation turning the club into a contemporary, expansive entertainment venue with the latest technology and all the comforts patrons who wish for.

By Robyn Holmes

Club president John Wilkinson (left), with manager Bill Coffey and treasurer Frank Gallo in front of the new main bar.

The $3 million project is nearly complete after eight months of construction, with a grand opening pencilled in for August that club president John Wilkinson says will be a great event with some special surprises in store. 

“Just watch this space,” he said. “We have achieved a wow factor and that was what we wanted. 

“From the time they walk through the door to the time they walk out, it’s got to be a great experience for patrons.” 

The club has certainly changed since it was first established in the 1980s when it was just a small shed-like building – now the venue features state-of-the-art technology, nine big TV screens broadcasting races and sporting events, a much larger and comfortable pokies room, a lounge bar area, a new expanded main bar and a much larger dining area. 

“The club also now has different spaces that can be utilised for different sizes of functions – we have created a smaller function room off the dining area that could cater to 30-40 people, another in The Boardroom for a small function of, say, 25-30 or a board meeting, and we still have the hall which can cater to around 200 people,” Mr Wilkinson said. 

The dining area has been expanded to cater for the popular Michael’s Cuisine, new equipment installed in the main kitchen, and the takeaway area has also been upgraded. 

New furniture fills almost the entire club, with the 60 chairs in the pokies room alone costing around $60,000, while ceiling treatments deliver a modern feel and new air-conditioning will keep patrons comfortable. 

Three new toilet facilities now service the venue, as well as a larger manager’s office and a dedicated children’s activity room with computers and games.

Featuring modern colours and textures throughout, the whole venue generates an open plan feel, using natural light to open up the interior. 

The new Sports Bar offers two pool tables and large TV screens which will broadcast racing and other sporting events, while the lounge bar area will have a special 3D lighting feature that can be changed to suit different themes such as State of Origin. 

Yet to be completed is the new deck at the rear of the building which, once finished, will offer patrons a totally enclosed, climate-controlled area surrounded by glass so they can sit, eat and drink while enjoying the stunning views of the mountain range and one of the Seven Sisters. 

“This deck will really add another dimension to the club, with patrons able to sit comfortably and enjoy the view or watch the soccer or touch football games,” Mr Wilkinson said. 

“We see it as another space within the club where a function could be held and we will be building a second kitchen out there which will be able to provide food like pizzas for example that will fill the gap on Sunday and Monday nights when Michael’s Cuisine doesn’t open.” 

Also yet to be installed is new signage that will complement the modern exterior façade of the building which is now been surrounded by landscaped gardens. 

Mr Wilkinson said the committee was always open to suggestions from members that would continue to improve the club experience. 

“We will have a look at different activities and events and we encourage members’ suggestions – it’s always evolving,” he said. 

To become an associate member of the club costs just $7 a year, or $35 to be a full member.

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