Updated: Dec 13, 2021
✦ Throughout the years, the iconic Rhythmboat has built a reputation on Sydney Harbour as the fun place to be.
Port Macquarie is now the lucky host of the floating entertainment venue.
Proprietor David Lazarus is a veteran entertainer who has "done it all", from DJing to cruise ship performer to being a promoter for many famous nightclub venues from Port Macquarie to Wollongong. He has brought the Rhythmboat to Port Macquarie in search of good times to be had by all.
It is undoubtedly Port Macquarie’s most unique destination bar and event space. Floating proudly on the Hastings River with the spectacular Port Macquarie skyline as the backdrop and easy access from the Clarence Street Wharf, this space is a sought-after destination to host special events, while soaking up the scenery over food and drinks.
The iconic RHYTHMBOAT is now cruising in Port Macquarie and they are so happy to be here. We chatted with the proud owners to find out more.
Elsa and David, the Rhythm Boat has been on Sydney Harbour for many years?
Our boat was built in a shipyard in Woodburn NSW in 1980 and did its first charters from Lismore. Originally known as the Richmond Showboat it then sold to a Sydney Harbour operator and sailed to Sydney where it was used as a cruising theatre restaurant presenting a regular themed show.
Her new owner gave her a new name “The Rocks Rhythmboat” and started to provide live music on board featuring many of the great pub bands of the 80s and 90s who literally rocked the harbour.
Fun fact: The Rythmboat became a resident venue for Australia’s number 1 Abba tribute show MA MA MIA who for over 12 years performed an average of 80 shows per year!
I purchased the boat and am the 4th person to own her since the early 80s. With a background in entertainment, I put a business plan in place to take the entertainment cruises to the next level.
I continued the ABBA tribute dinner shows with great success, and have upgraded the sound, lights and staging backdrop and we added new featured performers on board including a fantastic act from Las Vegas, Damian Brantley (Michael Jackson) and Jackie Wiatrowski (Lady Gaga) who perform in the legendary Legends show.
Since owning the boat and supporting the regular Abba tribute cruises there were some spectacular performances with the Beatles meets Elvis cruises, regular comedy, Island and Salsa cruises.
What has been the highlight so far for you?
An absolute highlight was presenting regular cruises featuring the unbelievable talents of Bob Downe, whose one man comedy, song and dance show was simply world class entertainment.
In between these regular shows the boat has provided a great venue for many live bands to book regular gigs cruising the harbour, for their fans, playing some great live music. So many big-name bands from all music tastes have graced the stage on board the Rhythmboat.
This is where the story of Sydney ends.
Can you tell us how the Rhythmboat ended up in Port Macquarie?
March 2020 was the first COVID-19 lockdown and due to these unforeseen circumstances the Rhythmboat was forced into lockdown.
Restrictions that included no singing, dancing, or mingling made it impossible to run the business and the many costs associated with keep the boat afloat in Sydney is an acute drain on the bank balance.
Having a second boat in Port Macquarie, we made the decision to sail the Rhythmboat to Port Macquarie and sell our other boat to relaunch the Rhythmboat. At the time it was a hard decision to sail away from Sydney, however we now know we made the right decision in coming to Port Macquarie. We love it here.
Our boat has so many wonderful options. We will continue to present our regular daily dolphin and scenic cruises, private functions and are now rolling out a program of exciting live entertainment show and events that the Rhythmboat has been famous for since 1983.
Our vessel is versatile, and the restrooms don’t have a steep staircase. We have completely fitted out the kitchen to prepare a great catering option. We have big open spaces on the sun deck that we have converted into an “island theme “. We have an upstairs area for our guests to watch the live music from the balcony. Comfortable lounge seating around the boat and lots of space that is now important during COVID conditions.
Since arriving in Port Macquarie, the boat has undertaken a complete makeover, refit with safety and mechanical equipment to start its new life in Port Macquarie.