Last drinks called for Lismore Workers Heights bowlo
THE Lismore Workers Heights Bowling Club bar featured a full house last night, as members of the local watering hole paid their last respects to a favourite social venue.
The men who usually claim a bar stool at the "table of knowledge" drowned their sorrows over a schooner and mourned the loss of the club "with the best view".
"It just sucks," said David Byrne, who has frequented the premises, perched atop a red soil ridge at Lismore Heights, for the past 30 years.
The struggling club, which is facing an estimated $290,000 loss this financial year on top of nearly $587,000 over the previous five years, served its final shout last night and then locked the doors to its gaming facilities.
Bowlers will still be able to use the greens for the next three months while administrators explore options that could see the club split from its parent body - the Lismore Workers Club.
"When the Workers first took over this club in 1994 it was a good change," Mr Byrne recalled.
"But in the last six to seven years they have killed the place."
The loss of catering facilities and an increase in green fees for twilight bowls events had helped to drive away uni- versity students and young families, he said.
"We just hope the council can help us out with rate cuts, pleaded Mr Byrne.
Geoff Cahill, who has been drinking at the club for the past 25 years, said fellow patrons were "shattered".
"I live only 400m down the road," he explained.
"It's a long walk to the next place that serves alcohol."
He described the very social "table of knowledge" as being a place of pure delight on a Thursday night, when footy tips and punters' preferences were pondered over a glass of ale and a cloud of laughter.
"A lot of elderly people drink here," he said. "They'll suffer."
Grant Evans moved to Lismore Heights from Sydney nine years ago and lives just two minutes walk from the club.
"This is my drinking hole," he said.
"I love the club. I love the people. And it's got the best views of any establishment. Just look at them!"
Jay Higham has only been coming to the table of knowledge for the past two-and-a-half years but he will miss the easy access to friendship.
"A lot of people live locally and you don't have to drive when you come here," he said.
According to Lismore Workers Club president Richard Mackney, if members took the reins they would need to "reduce the footprint", cutting back its betting facilities including TAB and pokies as well as liquor licensing, taking it back to purely a bowling club.