What? A bowlo? Like, your average Aussie bowling club?
Well, no, actually. Petersham Bowling Club might look average from the outside: manicured bowling lawns behind rusty iron fencing, some tables and chairs and the odd umbrella that’s seen better days. Behind all this sits a shack.
It’s more or less one big room. There’s a small rickety door (yes, that is the entrance), which leads up some stairs into a run-of-the-mill clubhouse space. There are ugly patterned carpets, large tables with old chairs and, on the walls, even older paintings and club member tributes.
Where’s this going? Well, once you enter the clubhouse, turn right. Yeah, towards the bar. Pause to admire the pinball machine and video game table, and then take a closer look at the taps. Yep, there’s a surprising lack of VB and Carlton.
Craft beer on tap
You’ll see brews from Sydney stalwarts like Young Henrys, The Grifter and Rocks Brewing, as well as beers from Stone & Wood and Brew Cult. Coopers, Holgate, Shenanigans and a heap of other awesome breweries can be found here too.
They’re taking craft beer seriously. They know it appeals to the Inner West crowd and they know they can support local breweries by stocking their beers. And at the end of the day, it’s great for punters.
There are twelve taps and a hand pump. Beers are a fair price as you’d expect from a community club and the beers do change but they keep the menu up-to-date on their website.
It’s attracting beer lovers to a venue they might not otherwise visit. It’s a fantastic place for an afternoon in the sun. Even for those who don’t play bowls, you can chill inside in the air conditioned room, close to the bar (maybe grab a pizza, there are a heap of options), or sit outside and watch others play.
Back from the brink
There’s a bit of a story behind it too. Property developers were intent on levelling it but through the work of those in the local community it survived.
The community feeling is evident, it’s family friendly (there are no pokies to be seen) and there’s pride in the tradition of the club and the part it plays in the local area.
It’s a venue with a difference, it’s nice as a break to the trendy bars and busy craft beer pubs. Sometimes it’s good to slow down the pace, and a sunny arvo with some top-notch beer, watching some old folks play bowls sounds like a decent way to see out your Sunday.
It’s important to note that if you live within 5km of Petersham Bowling Club, by law you need to be a member if you want to go. The good thing is, membership starts from $2. So, there’s no excuse not to check it out.
Hours: Mon-Tue: Closed, Wed-Thu: 5pm-10pm, Fri: 5pm-11pm, Sat: 12pm-12am, Sun: 12pm-10pm
Now Tapped!: https://nowtapped.com/petershambowlingclub
This is exactly the sort of thing which fits in with the SydneyBeer ethos. It’s a community focused initiative which is driven by great local beer.
If you’ve been to Petersham Bowlo, leave a comment and let me know what you drank. Or subscribe to receive more stories from the Sydney beer community.