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Harry's Nightlife Reviews: The Mosman RSL

Harry's Nightlife Reviews: The Mosman RSL

Sydney’s nightlife cops a lot of flak. Lockout laws, a severely flawed public transport system and the expensive cost of living means that going out can be a hard task. A typical night out might involve buying 5 vodka lime sodas at $10 apiece, getting yelled at by a backpacker and then being king hit outside of a shitty nightclub, proving hazardous to both your health and bank account. But there must be something more. Surely somewhere there is a holy grail of Sydney venues - and I plan to find it. No pub is too shitty, no club too lame, no bouncer too touchy to deter me from my goal to find Sydney’s ULTIMATE NIGHTLIFE DESTINATION.


This week: The Mosman RSL



Preparing to enter the belly of the beast (photography by Simon Johnston- Coogee)

The Mosman RSL is a humble place. It is a place where good men go to die. The downstairs floor is perhaps the very architectural embodiment of sadness. A large open space, lit slightly too well by fluorescent tubes which glare down at the patrons below`. Tables are strewn haphazardly around the room. The walls are painted white. The vibe can be described only as ‘hospital waiting room-esque’. A choir is setting up in the corner for their weekly practice. Their circle of chairs make up the vast majority of people inside. If it weren’t for this choir the staff would surely outnumber the patrons.

The Mosman RSL has been newly renovated. What were those renovations you ask? As far as I can tell a wall was knocked out to make room for more pokie machines. This isn’t because there weren’t enough pokie machines, but because apparently when new ones are brought in the punters believe that they are ‘luckier’ and are therefore likely to spend more money. Excellent!


It is very troubling to think about what things were like before the renovations.

I resist the allure of the brand new extra super lucky pokie machines and move upstairs.

An empty bistro with room for hundreds of visitors lies dormant, seemingly in wait for a club footy presentation night, or a very sad bucks party. The smell of chicken parmigiana, stale beer and loneliness wafts through the severely air conditioned space.

The bar upstairs is a goldmine. Anywhere with VB on tap instantly cements itself as a decent pub in my eyes. A recent bad experience at Mrs. Sippy in Double Bay (don’t ask me why I was there) has left me with a newfound appreciation of establishments that don’t push $11 craft beers on their linen-shirted patrons.

Mrs. Sippy bonus mini review: $11 for a Stella can get fucked. 0 stars. #wank


A view of the glorious front entrance. The front steps aren’t the only things slippery when wet in the Mosman RSL

With this in mind, I took my icy cold $6 schooner of VB out onto the balcony. The warm Summer air washed the scent of cigarettes and shame from my skin. Busted speakers softly crooned mid 2000’s pop rock into the night air. Remember Ben Lee? Remember Bernard Fanning’s solo work? The Mosman RSL remembers.

There is no one else on the balcony, I’m not sure if there ever has been or ever will be. It is perfect. Nostalgic music, cheap beers and no one in sight. There are no distractions at the Mosman RSL. It’s a place to go with the people you love. A quiet conversation with a close friend on the balcony of the Mosman Rissole is pure bliss. There is no chance of running into that person that you kind of sort of know and asking them for the fifth time what they’re doing at uni. There is no chance of getting caught up in sick beats and being lured onto the dance floor (there isn’t one). No boys or girls to get flirty with. Nothing. Just you, a friend, a cold beer and a nice chat.

In an age of mini burgers, frozé and $12 craft beers, The Mosman RSL is a beacon of hope in a dark and sordid world.

I give it 4 out of 5 cheap(ish) VB schooeys.

Next week: The Sheaf (shudders)

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