The Gold Coast has certainly come along way from the days when the glitter strip nightclubs and surf clubs were the only places for a summer session.
With a host of bespoke venues, breweries, hidden bars and luxe rooftop spaces popping up all over the coast in recent years, 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 this summer.
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 St, Coolangatta
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 into 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
The Scottish Price
This younger sister of Nobby’s favourite Cambus Wallace (see below) 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 – sip whisky and listen to live music.
Signature tipple: Whisky, of course, or the Barrel-aged Boulevardier
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 and breakfast on weekends, 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
Tucked away in the Justin Lane alleyway at Burleigh Heads, you’ll find his unpretentious dive bar-style haunt.
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 food served here, 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: 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
With its rendered white walls, potted olive trees and yellow striped umbrellas, this Santorini-style rooftop space is a touch of Europe on the Gold Coast.
Located above Greek institution Hellenika at Nobby Beach, this bar is a sophisticated spot for a few sundowners and mezze share plates, including saganaki and those famous zucchini chips.
Signature Tipple: Ari Onassis
Where: 2235 Gold Coast Hwy, Nobby Beach
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 Surfer’s Paradise glitter strip when it doors opened six years ago, the cosy nautical-themed bar and eatery is known for live tunes, a killer atmosphere and very hospitable staff.
Signature Tipple: The Maiden Voyage
Where: 4/2237 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
Granddad Jacks Craft Distillery
There’s no denying Miami is having a moment and this new distillery is just one of a slew of new venues popping up in the hip 4220 beachside locale.
With its exposed brick walls, arched ceilings, and recycled wood and steel beams, the family-owned distillery and taproom is not only an attractive space for a tipple from Wednesday through to Sunday, their boutique gins – whiskies will follow in 2019 – are also seriously good.
Signature tipple: Tom Collins
Where: 45 Lemana Lane, Miami
Garden Kitchen & Bar at The Star
The Gold Coast’s balmy sub-tropical 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: 1, Casino Level The Star Gold Coast, Casino Dr, 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 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: 1, Level 19, The Darling at The Star Gold Coast, Casino Dr, Broadbeach
The Island Rooftop
Set in the heart of Surfers Paradise overlooking the CBD, this alfresco hot spot is one of the largest rooftop spaces on the Gold Coast.
Located atop the 1960’s 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: Tommy’s Margarita
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise
Mr P.P.’s Deli & 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 [Mt PP] and his family, the 1968 building, in the heart of Southport’s CBD, has been transformed into an impressive deli, pizzeria and bar at street level, and an airy rooftop bar – Southport’s first – up top.
The rooftop all about enjoying 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 St, Southport
What’s your favourite Gold Coast bar? Share with us below.