Davina Richards experiences the feel-good factor of this local working men’s club.
Photography: Charlie Jackson
It was the first time I had ever stepped inside the Hornby Working Men’s Club & MSA and I had never really known what goes on behind those doors. It turns out that there’s plenty to get involved in, and the volume of members says it all.
The Hornby Working Men’s Club is located at the The Hub Hornby and has been established for more than 60 years, boasting more than 7000 members. At its inception in 1956 it was a men’s-only club, but the decision was made to allow women to become members in 1982.
My fiancé and I met the club treasurer, Brian Purcell, who was kind enough to show us around the building, which proved to be very accommodating with a wide range of excellent facilities, including a club café, club bar with a stage for live music and dance floor, sports hall, modern gaming room, well-equipped gymnasium, TAB, meeting room, Chalmers restaurant and three function rooms to host weddings, birthdays and conferences.
Shortly after our tour, we were introduced to Brian’s wife Raelene and enjoyed a drink before entering Chalmers Restaurant – which was filling up quickly. The menu was simple and consisted of hearty traditional fare, such as catch of the day, 250g rib-eye steak and a carvery with your choice of favourites, like pork, beef, lamb or chicken.
Greeted with a friendly smile and a professional demeanour by the staff, I ordered the seafood cocktail followed by a main meal of marinated pork spare ribs coated in tangy barbecue sauce served with salad and fries – a favourite dish at the club, so I’m told. On its arrival I was pleasantly surprised with the portion. The pork was succulent and came off the bone easily and a lashing of barbecue sauce was perfect. My fiancé tucked into the blue cod served with chips and salad and was content with his perfect flaky fish and its crispy outer coating.
Despite being too full to indulge in a dessert, I didn’t hesitate to have a couple of spoonfuls of my fiancé’s carrot cake with frosting and vanilla ice cream, which was almost life-changing. Suffice to say, I immediately regretted not having one.
If you have never stepped foot inside the WMC it’s worth popping in to take advantage of its many offerings. There is a distinct sense of community, friendship and fun that fills the entire venue, and for a small membership fee you, too, can be a part of this feel-good club.
Chalmers at Hornby Workingmen’s Club & MSA (Inc) – 17 Carmen Road, Hornby, 03 349 2096 – www.hornbyworkingmensclub.co.nz