The vibrant interior of the Bluegrass Bar on Level Three of the VRC's new Club Stand (Image: Sean Fennessy)
The VRC's Club Stand takes entertainment venues to a whole new level
The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) proudly opened the doors to its new Club Stand at Flemington Racecourse for the first time today to reveal spectacular interiors unrivalled by any event venue in Australia or around the world.
The Club Stand’s luxurious interiors celebrate the elegance and legacy of Australian horse racing through the delivery of world-class hospitality venues including two premium restaurants, three casual dining options and eight diverse bars serving a variety of fare across five levels.
Previewing The Club Stand’s luxe fit out marks a significant milestone in the VRC’s 154-year history, and illustrates its commitment to evolving the raceday experience.
VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said the breathtaking sculptural design by Bates Smart and seamless construction by Multiplex, have combined to create a landmark destination for local and international sport enthusiasts.
“We are thrilled to showcase how The Club Stand will redefine the benchmark for sporting and entertainment venues,” Mrs Elliott said.
“The Club Stand secures Flemington’s future as one of the world’s top racing destinations where current and future VRC Members will enjoy the hospitality and incredible atmosphere for which Headquarters is famous.”
Acting as a theatre for all the action on the track, the impressive Club Stand was designed in the round, with each venue offering sweeping views of Melbourne’s skyline, the newly-expanded Mounting Yard, Winning Post and track.
Members will enjoy unprecedented viewing positions across the course from the outdoor seating decks, with external undercover terraces across three levels and clear sightlines from every venue.
Bates Smart Director Jeff Copolov, who was responsible for the interior design of The Club Stand, said it is a timeless building that befits its environment.
“The Club Stand exudes a strong sense of stateliness and grandeur expected of the VRC, a prestigious sporting club. Members will enjoy the diversity of the outstanding dining and entertainment options at the track, making the day at the races an uplifting and vibrant social experience,” Mr Copolov said.
Keeping the drama of racedays alive, the new Betting Ring creates a series of pavilions for bookmakers where curved canopies form a covered entry for Members to arrive into The Club Stand.
On entering, Members and their guests will be greeted by a grand arrival lobby styled as a five-star hotel with a sweeping sculptural staircase and twin lounges that create an enduring first impression. The Grand Central Stair featuring a rug championed with the VRC’s insignia, creates a central void connecting five levels seamlessly, and will draw attention to the atmosphere buzzing from the bars and restaurants.
On Ground Level, The Bakery is a light contemporary café that leads onto the northern terrace and Betting Ring, set to offer delicious breakfast and lunch options. On the eastern terrace, The Arbour sits adjacent to the Members Lawn where an upmarket food counter experience will be available.
The Lawn Bar is an informal walk-up bar with an enviable trackside vantage point and access to the Members Lawn while the Paddock Bar, adjacent to the Mounting Yard and Owners and Trainers Stand, is the perfect setting for the true racing enthusiast. The Courtyard Bar serves the Betting Ring and pays homage to the original window patterns of the Members Old Grandstand in its decorative features.
The first global flagship Mumm Champagne Bar will open on Level One as a striking and sophisticated setting where Mumm’s signature red ribbon weaves across the sculptural bar, dining, lounge and betting pavilions with an alfresco terrace acting as the perfect backdrop to toast a raceday winner.
Exceptional views of the track, Mounting Yard and Members Lawn will be enjoyed from the Members Bar on Level One. Rich tobacco and burgundy colours, warm timber panelling and custom designed wallpaper showcase Flemington’s social and sporting culture of the 1930s and 60s.
Proceeding to Level Two, The Dining Room is a refined and elegant establishment serving guests an a la carte menu and dessert buffet in richly designed surrounds with vivid turf-green velvet banquettes, timber joinery and bronze accents.
The Furlong Bar, overlooking the Mounting Yard, will appeal to a new generation of racegoer. The stylish bar features statement carpets and oxblood coloured walls and will see patrons sharing tapas, charcuterie and cheese boards.
A premium fine dining experience will be on offer for guests in The Byerley, located in the western wing on Level Three. Executive Chef Ryan Flaherty will showcase his culinary craft in an elegantly designed setting with superior views and an exclusive outdoor terrace.
A vibrant and youthful bistro setting at Straight Six will serve gourmet share plates and wood fire pizzas in a communal dining space. Bluegrass Bar, a bold island bar centrally located between The Byerley and Straight Six, flaunts the high energy and exuberance of cocktail hour at the Melbourne Cup Carnival where vibrant colours, sweeping curves and a cantilevered brass arc light feature create an architectural focal point.
The spectacular Roof Garden crowns The Club Stand on Level Four and embodies the essence of Flemington’s garden setting boasting two alfresco bars with showpiece kitchens extending onto an expansive deck with exceptional views of Melbourne’s city skyline.
The heritage of Flemington is evident throughout The Club Stand’s interiors, incorporated in sophisticated, subtle design details, and showcased through an impressive curation of carefully selected equine artworks and memorabilia from the extensive VRC Collection.
Each individual venue has been given its own signature personality inspired by the sport of racing and rich history of the VRC. Custom-made fittings, rugs, lamps and soft furnishings lift each venue to a stately level of luxury with 14 different types of stone and 23 carpets specially designed for the venue.
Ready in time to enjoy at this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington Racecourse, there is an opportunity for VRC Members and their guests to be the first to experience the ground floor and selected pre-booked restaurants on Sofitel Girls’ Day Out and Turnbull Stakes Day, ahead of The Club Stand’s first fully operational day on AAMI Victoria Derby Day.
The Club Stand marks the VRC’s next step in its renewal plans at Flemington and the Victorian Government, Racing Victoria and Tabcorp have supported the project to ensure the racecourse retains its position as a ‘must visit’ world-class sporting, entertainment and tourism venue in Australia.