The city's small-bar generation is proving to be the unlikely white knight for Sydney's struggling bowling clubs, with the operator of Panama House stepping in at the Bondi Bowling Club.
"There are currently 38 members; in the past 10 years that number was as high as 1000," says Anthony Kaplan, who runs a number of venues in the suburb including Panama House and The Corner House.
"Our idea is to bring a small-bar mentality to a bigger space. There'll be cocktails, craft beer and live music," Kaplan says.
With a planned mid-November launch date, Kaplan says he and his partners came to an agreement to take the lease after hearing the bowling club was looking at avenues to raise money.
"This way they can keep a bowling green for members and we can use the other green to bring in new people with barefoot bowls."
The venue will include a bistro with ceviche on the menu as well as half a dozen steaks.
The Bondi Bowling Club, on Warners Avenue, isn't the only club tapping Sydney's Generation Next. Lilly Fasan, the former executive chef at The Grounds of Alexandria, opened a new eatery and cocktail bar in recent weeks at Norths Bowlo, next to North Sydney Oval. Fasan says Norths Bowlo plans also include "yoga on the green and screen on the green".