16 of the best Gold Coast bars you need to visit
It’s no longer just the beach culture that the Gold Coast is famous for. With a host of bespoke venues, breweries, hidden bars and luxe rooftop spaces popping up all over the Gold Coast, the surf city has certainly raised the bar when it comes to drinking destinations.
Here are some of our favourite Gold Coast bars for a tipple, or two, after a long lazy day at the beach.
North Gold Coast Bars | Surfers Paradise & Beyond
Mr. P.P’s Deli and Rooftop
This two-storey Nerang Street eatery and watering hole has taken drinking at the northern end of the Gold Coast to new heights.
Once the residence of Postmaster General Philip Palmer Agnew (Mr P.P.) and his family, this 1968 building sits in the heart of Southport’s CBD. It has now been transformed into an impressive deli, pizzeria and bar at street level, and an airy rooftop bar – Southport’s first – up top.
The rooftop is all about cocktails and conversation in the sunshine, and the pizzas, deli meats, cheeses and pasta can be enjoyed upstairs or down.
Signature tipple: The Holy Hendricks
Where: 43 Nerang Street, Southport
The Island Rooftop
Set in the heart of Surfers Paradise overlooking the CBD, this alfresco hotspot is one of the largest rooftop spaces on the Gold Coast.
Located atop the 1960s Surfers Paradise icon, The Island (previously Islander Resort), which has undergone a massive refurbishment, The Island Rooftop oozes vintage Californian style and is known for its stellar line-up of DJs and bands.
Signature tipple: Island Colada
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
The view from within is almost as good as the view directly onto Surfers Paradise beach at this lively European-inspired lounge bar. A foliage canopy hangs from the wood panel ceiling and archways frame the extensive array of liquor bottles behind the terrazzo bar.
With room for 130 diners, the space feels surprisingly intimate. Shared cocktails and a tapas menu are made for group gatherings that start early and last well into the evening.
Signature tipple: Sgroppinos
Where: Level 2, 8 Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Central Gold Coast Bars | Broadbeach to Miami
Garden Kitchen & Bar at the Star
The Gold Coast’s balmy subtropical weather means this indoor/outdoor venue is a much-loved space for a drink on a summer’s day – or night.
With its expansive sun-drenched deck, manicured lawn and light-filled interior, Garden is the ideal venue for a Sunday session.
Signature tipple: Vanilla and passionfruit martini
Where: Casino Level, The Star Gold Coast, Casino Drive, Broadbeach
Nineteen at the Star
For a glam night out, Nineteen certainly delivers. Located on the 19th floor of the luxury suite hotel The Darling at the refurbished The Star Gold Coast, this luxe rooftop lounge bar boasts sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and the city’s skyline, and an infinity pool with day beds to lounge on while you’re sipping margaritas and people watching.
Signature tipple: Coconut and chilli martini
Where: Level 19, The Darling at The Star Gold Coast, Casino Drive, Broadbeach
The Cambus Wallace
As one of the first city-style venues on the Gold Coast, this Nobby Beach favourite is a bit of an institution.
A welcome alternative to the clubs and bars of Surfers Paradise glitter strip when its doors opened six years ago, the cosy nautical-themed rum and whisky bar and eatery is known for live tunes, a moody vibe and very hospitable staff.
Signature tipple: Maiden Voyage #2
Where: 4/2237 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
Granddad Jack’s Craft Distillery
With its exposed brick walls, tin ceiling, and recycled wood and steel beams, the old surfboard warehouse turned family-owned distillery is not only an attractive space for a tipple from Friday to Sunday, its boutique gins and whiskies are also seriously good.
Distilled on-site with tours and tastings on the regular, the friendly team at Granddad Jack’s are all too happy to impart their wisdom and passion onto others. You can even make your own gin under their expert guidance.
Signature tipple: Granddad Jack’s Gin & Tonic
Where: 45 Lemana Lane, Miami
South Gold Coast Bars | Burleigh & Beyond
It’s hard not to breathe a relaxed sigh as you sit down with a drink in hand at one of the best beachfront bars on the Gold Coast. To match your now blissed-out state, the atmosphere here is casual with wood-fired pizzas and beer-battered fish and chips, and wine on tap.
Get in early for a bottomless brunch from 11am to 1pm every Saturday, or stroll in straight off the beach for the perfect end to another glorious day on the Gold Coast.
Signature tipple: Frosé
Where: 3/43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh
Patriotism runs deep at this all-Australian bar. Natural Australian wines, ‘roo carpaccio and Vegemite jaffles, and a cocktail menu inspired by Aussie greats like Kylie Minogue and The Man From Snowy River are testament to the true blue theme. It’s also one of the few places where you can grab a cold schooner of Fosters.
The intimate space plays homage to our great land, too, with a wooden bar, eucalyptus green leather booths, art deco prints of Australian animals, and a welcoming spirit that makes you feel at home.
Signature tipple: Pet Nat Slush Puppy
Where: 1734 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away in the Justin Lane alleyway at Burleigh Heads, you’ll find his unpretentious dive bar. The brainchild of the crew behind Bine Craft Beer Bar, Hideaway Kitchen and Soho in Broadbeach, this casual – no dress code here! – industrial-style nightspot has live music five nights a week as well as killer cocktails and craft beer.
While there’s no kitchen out back, the team allow you to order from Burleigh’s Red Hot Cod, Tom Ugly and Wahoos to satisfy those late-night cravings.
Signature tipple: Any of the Sailor Jerry rum-inspired cocktails
Where: Justin Laneway, 1731 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
This hatted restaurant boasts one of the Gold Coast’s most spectacular locations, and is about as close as you’ll get to the water without getting wet.
Come for a long lunch or one – or two – of their famous bug rolls, a signature cocktail at the bar and THAT view.
Signature tipple: Rick’s Martini No4
Where: 3/43 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads
The Scottish Prince
This younger sister of Nobby’s favourite The Cambus Wallace is one of the best spots for a cheeky late-night tipple on the Gold Coast.
Named after a ship which ran aground near Main Beach in 1887, this dimly-lit Palm Beach establishment is a warm and inviting space to feast on share plates and platters – their Walk the Plank cheese board is a firm favourite for drinks with a group of friends – while you sip whisky and listen to live music.
Signature tipple: Whisky, of course
Where: Shop 27, 1176 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
With its five individually owned restaurants, an indoor/outdoor bar area and an industrial-inspired rooftop bar, the unique southern Gold Coast hospitality space is a one-stop-shop for good times.
Open for lunch and dinner seven days, this market-style venue is the kind of place you visit for lunch and stay for sunset drinks on the rooftop… and maybe dinner, too.
Signature tipple: Rose Hip Martini
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach
Balter Brewing Company
The brainchild of pro surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbidge and Josh Kerr and well-known Aussie brewer Scott Hargrave, this beer brand has developed a cult-like following since its launch in March 2016.
Their HQ, a cool warehouse-style space tucked in the burgeoning industrial area at Currumbin Waters, is open from Wednesday to Sunday with food trucks, music and good vibes aplenty.
Signature tipple: Balter XPA
Where: 14 Traders Way, Currumbin Waters
For more great beers in the area, stop by these Gold Coast craft beer hotspots.
Coolangatta was once known mostly for its surf shops and beaches, however, the chilled southern Gold Coast surf haven is now home to some upscale boutiques, bars and restaurants including this Griffith Street wine bar and eatery.
Serving tapas-style share plates, cocktails and a selection of small-batch independent wines from regional Australia, Italy and Spain, the intimate 40-seat Tasca, meaning ‘pocket’ in Italian, has also earned rave reviews for its flawless service and warm atmosphere.
Signature tipple: Tasca Spritz
Where: 114 Griffith Street, Coolangatta
Heading up to Brisbane? Check out Brisbane’s best bars.