ALL work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
It’s the well-known proverb that has kicked around since the 1600s, perhaps most famously featured in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining when the manic lead character, played by Jack Nicholson, repeatedly types the sentence across hundreds of pages.
The phrase also captured the minds of Mel and Nick McCosker, the husband and wife team behind Port Stephens-based Flag Studio, when they began developing the branding and interior design for the recently renovated former SuperStrike 10-pin bowling centre at Warners Bay. Last month, they unveiled the 18-month long project they have been working on – Dulllboy’s Social Co.
SuperStrike still operates the 10-pin-bowling component, but the venue has undergone a complete transformation that includes increased floorspace to accommodate an American-style diner, arcade game-themed bar, Palm Springs-inspired mini golf course, as well as a large games area, bumper cars and karaoke room.
“The whole concept is based on ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’,” Mel McCosker says. “Dullboy’s Social Co is all about having a good time and it’s a place where you can switch off from the daily grind and have some good old-fashioned fun. We didn’t want to put any restrictions on fun, especially when it came to age.”
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The renovation began in August last year, although the project has been in the pipeline for a few years. McCosker’s father Brett George is the co-owner of four family-run SuperStrike bowling centres in the region (also in Mayfield, Salamander Bay and Rutherford) with his brothers Brad, Bryce and Heath, who decided the time was right to expand the site and create a complete entertainment destination.
The venue has been cleverly designed, with the idea being that if patrons want to eat a meal at the diner, they don’t have to be near the noise and action at the bowling alley or the arcade games. A separate entrance to the diner leads directly into the restaurant, while the main entrance opens into the 24-lane bowling alley.
“It’s essentially a few businesses in the one building,” McCosker says. “The diner and the bar are separate from each other and everything else, so we wanted to create zones where people could just come for a meal if they didn’t want to go bowling, for example.
“The idea is that the diner is a destination in itself and the same goes for the bar.”
The diner is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, offering a menu that focuses on American classics and modern Australian food. There is the Juicy Lucy Burger ($15); waffle fries with chipotle mayo ($9); and Southern fried schnitty ($22). Low and slow style meats are available from Friday to Sunday until sold-out, including a meat coma tray which serves two ($65).
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There is also a bar in the diner, with an extensive list of classic cocktails, wine, craft beer (including its own Dullboys Draught), cold-pressed juices and shakes. Pull up a spot in one of the retro-style booths or, if that’s not your thing, there’s plenty of table seating.
Step outside to the Palm Springs-inspired mini golf course, complete with a row of towering palm trees and pink-and-white striped umbrellas. Hire your sticks from the custom-built vintage caravan which has appropriately been nicknamed the “can van” – it sells cans of craft beer and a sparkling rose spritz that you can drink while you take on the 18-hole course.
Another spot to grab a drink inside is Barcadia. The 18+ bar has a wrap-around bar at the centre and windows that look out over the bowling action. There are old-school arcade video games to play (Donkey Kong, Street Fighter etc), which inspired the bar’s signature cocktails (all $18), and a bar food menu. A section of the bar can be hired for private events, while a canteen close to the bowling area caters for the casual crowd.
There are also four party rooms available.