The Gold Coast’s ten best bars as voted by you
By Janna Hrastovec for The Weekend Edition on April 20, 2017
This year, our Gold Coast EAT/drink Awards drummed up an incredible amount of votes from all of you, our dear readers. You guys are on the ground – you’re out there eating, drinking and experiencing the city’s blossoming foodie culture, so at the end of the day – you know best. So, here’s the definitive list of the Gold Coast’s ten best bars, plus the best NEW bars, as voted by you. Oh, and might we add, you guys have impeccable taste.
The Winner: House of Brews
With more than 30 different brews on tap, there’s no wonder why you guys voted this Surfers Paradise watering hole into the top spot. Order your brew in a mug, a one-litre stein (now we’re talking) or a 2.5 litre ‘beer tower’ – and you’ll need every single drop to wash down the chocolate-covered bacon bites and the Tijuana street fries. Mix it up with a Boiler Maker – whiskey served neat with a mug of beer, or if hops aren’t your thing, you’ll be well looked after with one of the city’s biggest cocktail menus.
Runner up: The Cambus Wallace
What lies behind the The Cambus Wallace’s wooden doors is a refined world of craft beer, whiskey, cocktails and wine. The Nobby Beach establishment regularly rotates its taps so there’s always plenty of ales and lagers to choose from. You can select from a list of spirits that are mixed solely with freshly pressed apple juice, which are a great starter to lead you into the impressive cocktail list. There’s a delicious selection of share plates to match – everything from cheese boards to pork belly.
Runner up: Stingray Lounge
Stingray always manages to push the boundaries when it comes to its cocktails, and it’s newly launched list is no exception. The popular nightspot at QT Gold Coast makes the most of seasonal ingredients using herbs and produce from its own rooftop garden to create its drinkables, so you can always expect something unique on the menu. Plus there’s plenty of finger licking plates to share (or not) as you enjoy the unique fit-out, beats and super-cool vibe.
Nestled next door to its sibling Bonita Bonita, Mermaid Beach haunt Bon Bon has a well-deserved spot in the top ten. This unique tequila bar has more than 100 tequila and mescal varieties on the shelf, served traditionally or as the base for some pretty amazing cocktails. There are plenty of Spanish and South American wines, plus all the best Mexican beers to wash down those tasty tacos.
Well-known for its mouth-watering and totally authentic pizzas and pastas, Justin’s rooftop is the prime spot for sunshine beers or a drop of rosé under the moonlight. There are cocktails on tap plus endless hand-made varietals, alongside a wide selection of beers and a well-curated wine list.
Garden Kitchen & Bar
An afternoon on Garden Bar’s lawn sipping a Belvedere spritz listening to live tunes – this is our idea of perfection. Located at The Star Gold Coast, this is the go-to for afternoon drinks in the sunshine – there’s wine on tap, cocktails in pitchers, tap beer and some of the best espresso martinis around.
Lester & Earl
Beer and smoked-meat lovers flock to Lester & Earl for some of the best drinkables and edibles on the southern end. The American-style bar and grill has plenty of local craft beers to throw down the hatch, plus wines, cocktails (including giant ones to share) and plenty of top-notch spirits. It’s always a good vibe sitting on the verandah soaking up the beach views.
This popular Southport watering hole got your votes – and lots of them, earning it a spot in the top ten. The boutique-style bar is well-known for its selection of local craft beers and small-batch spirits. There’s a deliciously simple bar menu on offer, and around 50 beer varieties to choose from.
Black Coffee Lyrics
Hidden in the heart of Surfers Paradise, this is where you’ll find craft beers, boutique wines and a rotating selection of next-level cocktails. Get cosy and nestle in for the night with an amaretto sour and some crumbed brie.
So, healthy cocktails (that taste great) do actually exist. NXT Door, located next door to its sibling venue Grocer & Grind, is the Gold Coast’s first superfood cocktail bar, infusing ingredients like chia seeds, turmeric and charcoal with top-notch spirits and cold-pressed juices. Plus, there’s plenty of healthy superfood bar snacks to nibble.
Best New Bar (opened within the last 12 months): Aloha Bar & Dining
Aloha is hidden in the backstreets of Broadbeach, and if you haven’t been yet, you really haven’t lived. This clandestine establishment is beautifully and elaborately decked out with retro cane furniture, pin-up girls, nautical pieces and palm trees galore, creating the perfect ‘tiki’ style backdrop for its show-stopping cocktail menu. There’s plenty of poke bowls, tacos and ceviche to fill the gap.
Runner up: Hideaway Kitchen & Bar
Since it opened in June 2016, Hideaway has racked up a strong following from its stellar selection of swill including Asian beers, sake and unique cocktails with a hint of Asian flavour. The bar list will take you on a tasty trip to the orient, as will the modern Asian street food menu. We’ll have a beef rendang and a sake cosmo, please and thanks.
Runner up: The Collective Rooftop
On Boxing Day 2016, The Collective opened with a bang, and since then its rooftop bar has become one of the most popular open-air spots on the coast. From the high tables you’ll be treated to views over Palm Beach and toward the ocean, plus there’s a fancy awning which means you can hang up there rain, hail or shine. An extensive wine list has been developed, which joins a bunch of tap and bottled brews and an impressive cocktail line-up. The rose hip martini is a banger.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.