In the 1920s and ’30s, electric trams ran the length of Sydney’s northern beaches, starting at Manly and heading all the way up to Narrabeen. At the end of each day the trams were charged at a battery house in Dee Why.
The line was decommissioned in 1939, but its legacy lives on in Battery House, a new sports bar in the former charging station. It’s housed inside Dee Why RSL (which took over the battery house’s lease in 1944), and was unveiled as one of five new venues in the club’s recent multi-million dollar redevelopment.
“When you walk into the venue there are lots of nods to the tram era, so it’s just a bit of a throwback to what was on the northern beaches many years ago,” venue manager Hayden Elvy tells Broadsheet. There are old signs, benches inspired by tram seats, vintage tram scrolls and glass battery containers throughout the space.
The focus here is on beer, food and watching sports, with 49 plasma televisions and a large main-event screen showing everything from NRL and cricket in Australia, to the NBA and UFC overseas.
The menu leans American, with cheeseburgers, Philly cheesesteak burgers, fish tacos and nachos with all the fixings. A highlight are the chicken wings – choose from mild, hot or barbeque, with either blue cheese or ranch dip.
“We do wings from six all the way up to 100 – and people have ordered 100,” Elvy says.
To drink there’s Modus Operandi, Young Henrys and VB on tap, as well as Espresso Martinis (also on tap). Cocktails are popular on the weekends, especially fruity numbers such as the Mash Passion (vodka and strawberry liqueur with raspberry cordial, fresh passionfruit and orange wedges) and the 43rd Sin (three liqueurs with more passionfruit, and pineapple and cranberry juices).
A retractable glass roof lets the sun and fresh air into the plant-filled room, creating a beer-garden vibe. And while the patterned carpet in the games room and tiles across the space are almost nostalgic, bold elements such as the glass fireplace and deep tones add a contemporary touch.
There are two outdoor areas, too: an intimate terrace with armchairs by a second fireplace, and another facing west that gets the golden late-afternoon sun – perfect for spring, summer and long Sunday sessions.
“We really just want people to come in and think, ‘This is my new local,’” Elvy says.
Level 2/932 Pittwater Road, Dee Why
(02) 9545 4000
Mon to Fri, 10am–late
Sat to Sun, 9am–late