One of Sydney’s oldest sports clubs was forced to shut due to lease issues and possible liquidation, and fell into disrepair. Now, thanks to club members and Bird and Bear, the hospitality group behind The Sandy Bear at Clontarf and The Flying Bear Cafe and Foys at Kirribilli, it will continue to be beautiful spot for a couple drinks smack-bang on the water.

The new iteration of Mosman Rowers is schmick and split across three levels. At the bottom is Archie Bear, for all-day dining, afternoon drinks and 270-degree views from inside as well as on the deck. The Rower’s Bar, in the middle, also has a balcony and serves all-day drinks and food; while up top is the Member’s Gallery, a function space and meeting room.

“Our ethos is all about community-based venues that have a fun and vibey feel,” Matt Murray, one of Bird and Bear’s partners, told Broadsheet. “We’ve all worked in pubs and places on the beach, and we feel at home operating in this space – though it needed a lot of love and a reno.”

The interiors have been redone by Etic design studio (Barangaroo House, Lexus Design Pavilion 2016 and 2017). The focus for the redesign was on maintaining the heritage but lightening things up by introducing a palette of blue and green. New timber floors have been introduced and, during winter, a fireplace will nip chilly harbour breezes in the bud. The Rower’s Bar, which seats 102 people, has a deep, rich colour scheme honouring the building’s nautical past and harbour location.

They’ve kept the menus at Mosman Rowers fairly simple. “Archie Bear has all the typical suspects for lunch. Traditional cheeseburgers, burgers with the lot, pizzas, fish and chips, salads, all that fun stuff. We want it to be a great little community eatery. We don’t want to have a bistro-type room.”

Executive chef Anthony O’Shea (who also oversees the menus at the group’s other venues) is keeping the breakfast menu light. Expect acai bowls, Bircher muesli and green breakfast bowls of quinoa patties, avocado, pea puree and poached eggs.

Get spritzes, sangria and a Pimm’s-and-ginger-ale concoction in jugs, and classic sit-on-a-waterfront-balcony drinks such as Aperol spritzes and Mojitos are also on the menu. Riot rosé is on tap, and most wines come by the glass. From Monday to Friday, from 4pm to 6pm, there’s a happy hour involving $6 house beer and wine, and $12 spritzes on Saturday afternoons. On Sundays hit up $20 beer buckets and cocktail jugs.

Nobody has actually rowed here in years; an increase in boat traffic made it difficult and unsafe. But Murray says they still want to make the most of the harbour. Stand-up paddleboarding will be offered in the protected channel. And don’t worry – the club welcomes sandy feet and wet bums.


Published on 13 March 2019

by Che-Marie Trigg