Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club has been patrolling the same stretch of beach for 100 years, its clubhouse a familiar sight at the top of the beach for generations. The latest iteration – it’s been through four rebuilds over the last century – is spectacular. The design, by architects Warren and Mahoney, features three dramatic glass pavilions and a terrace looking out over the quintessentially northern beaches view: golden sand and wild-looking surf beyond; blue ocean as far as the horizon.

“The new building has three venues plus a terrace that wraps around the building to the southern end,” bar manager Jon Dibbs tells Broadsheet. “On the northern end is Basin Dining, opening in spring [to be run by Newport’s Restaurant Lovat]. The centre pavilion is a function space, and the southern end is the bar, Cook Terrace.”

The Cook Terrace Room is a lovely space to spend sunny afternoons. (It’s currently open only on Fridays and Sundays, but will expand its trading hours as the weather warms up.) The vast indoor space has a minimal timber fit-out that doesn’t compete with the view from the enormous windows. On tap are plenty of craft beers, including Stone & Wood’s pacific ale and Jasper red ale, and Voodoo Ranger’s hazy IPA, as well as a few standards: XXXX Gold and Tooheys New. It’s a big change from the former clubhouse bar, which had just one tap. “You’d have 20 dyed-in-the-wool members having a beer on a Friday night,” says Dibbs.

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When The Basin Dining Room opens, the kitchen will service the terrace. The menu hasn’t been finalised yet, but it will include “typical bar food like fish’n’chips and burgers, done beautifully”.

Navigating the wants and needs of locals when changing an established club like Mona Vale can be tricky. Dibbs says the community is in full support. “We’re all about the locals. It’s not just a surf club – there’s mid-week yoga, Pilates, dance classes, groups have meetings in the space, we even host real estate auctions.”

Cook Terrace and the new build is a natural evolution of a classic Aussie surf club that counts 1400 members. The club knows the locals, and the beach. Dibbs himself is a lifesaver who has been patrolling the beach for 40 seasons.

“We have the distinction on this coast of having no lives lost during patrol hours. For example, right now the surf is quite dangerous, but we’ve been managing this stretch of beach for 100 years.”

Cook Terrace at Mona Vale Surf Club
1 Surfview Road, Mona Vale

Fri 5pm–9pm
Sun 3pm–7pm