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Check out the Gold Coast’s newest rooftop bar

Cocktails, art and views collide at The Exhibitionist Bar.

The Exhibitionist Bar at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
The Exhibitionist Bar at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Sipping a cocktail in sophisticated surroundings on an elevated balcony with dazzling views of a world-class skyline might sound like you’d frequent in international cities. But hold that thought. Because as of now, it is a firm reality on the Gold Coast with the exciting new opening of HOTA Gallery’s Exhibitionist Bar!

There has been much excitement around the opening of HOTA’s new multi-million-dollar attraction for some time, fully cementing the Gold Coast’s legitimate claim as an arts hub here in Australia. Arts aside though, this beautifully fitted out bar nestled on the 5th floor with unhindered views of the Surfers Paradise skyline and our beloved hinterland, is set to become your new favourite drinks and tapas hangout.

The space is the ideal scene — at any time of the day — to mull over and discuss the pieces of artwork you’ve just seen and enjoy a drink. Take note: should you have any out-of-towners coming to visit and you feel the burning need to impress them with what we have here, this must be on your list.

As there are no other buildings like it nearby, the terrace area of the bar takes in an entirely new perspective of Surfers Paradise from a raised north-westerly perspective. And even if you’ve lived here for years, it is guaranteed to still impress. While the view is spectacular at any time, we highly recommend visiting at sunset for a colourful light show like no other.

Signature Cocktails at The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)
Signature Cocktails at The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)

The drinks offering is an incredibly thought-out affair headed up by Bar Manager Tom Angel. Tom’s a Gold Coast veteran when it comes to conceiving and pouring only the finest alcoholic libations (you may be familiar with his previous work at Fig + Frankie’s, Old Tom or Kiyomi). In conjunction with the gallery and like Palette, his cocktail list mirrors and complements the art installations. Meaning once you have taken note of your favourite piece of art, you can then head upstairs and drink its cocktail equivalent.

Expect big and complex flavours from signature drinks like the tequila-based Cloud Drive and vodka-based Steal the Sunshine. The connection to art pieces is both complex and exciting, to say the least. In the menu, you will find a description revealing how the drink was envisaged and came to be — providing excellent replay value and painfully forcing your hand to come back and try them all!

Classic and new world wines join house-made sodas and local craft beers to round out an impressive selection to quench your thirst.

The Exhibitionist Bar Skyline Views (image supplied)
The Exhibitionist Bar Skyline Views (image supplied)

Taking in all this culture will no doubt put you on your way to feeling hungry. But be assured the sophisticated tapas-style snack menu is something to behold. Grazing your way through the afternoon has never been so easy with a glass of champagne in hand and a Soft-Shell Australian Bay Lobster Roll, or perhaps a crisp white wine and the Oven-Roasted Gold Coast Prawns with Finger Lime, served in Foraged Beach Leaves. There’s also the fanciest of sausage rolls and pies you just have to try. Ideal for those with a more classic taste!

Like the gallery installations, the food and drinks menu will change and evolve over time to work in harmony with the art and its associated themes. Nothing will remain stationary here, and much like our beloved city will be a continued evolution — for all the senses!

Where: Level 5/135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
Hours: Seven days 10am – 10pm (Fri & Sat till midnight)

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Signature Cocktails at The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)
Signature Cocktails at The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)

HOTA Gallery is now officially open

HOTA Gallery Exterior (image supplied)

It’s the moment the arts community, and indeed the public of the Gold Coast have been waiting a little while for (drum roll) the shiny new Home of the Arts (HOTA) Gallery is now open! And what a great complement to an already incredible arts precinct this is going to be!

While the tickets to access the gallery this weekend were already sold out, the opening weekend is set to make you excited. There will be artworks both indoors and out that celebrate the diversity, richness and ambition of the Gold Coast. Coinciding with live music across both the Saturday and Sunday daytimes, the experience — even for those without access to the gallery (for now) — is set to be a great one-off experience still.

On Saturday 8th May, the music program will serve as a vibrant soundtrack to the buzz of excitement and anticipation at the Gallery and its surroundings. Music will kick off from 11am to 3.30pm with a line up on the Outdoor Stage featuring the fiery instrumentation from Hussy Hicks, dreamy psych-pop from Echo Wave, the colourful sounds of Samba, Bossa Nova from Augusta Street, the hip hop and traditional rhythms from young First Nations band, Jarulah and Blackline Band and the funky, disco vibes from DJ Felix.

On Sunday 9th May, you’re encouraged to experience ‘Echoes of Gold’, featuring performances by: Eliza & The Delusionals, Donny Love, DENNIS. and DJ sets by VICES to name a few. All hosted by Kate Baggerson and Zac Fahey, with live on-stage interviews with artists, musos, and industry movers & shakers, the line-up will be nothing short of exciting.

HOTA Art Gallery entrance (image supplied)
HOTA Art Gallery entrance (image supplied)

And to amplify that local Gold Coast flavour, even more, The Design Collective Markets will be on-site showcasing a selection of Gold Coast and Queensland artisan makers and retailers for a pop-up market of boutique wares and gifts! Not forgetting the mix of food trucks/outlets, local beers, it’s lining up to be solid Sunday in our eyes. On a picnic blanket or standing with a cold one in hand — either way, it’s an unmissable Gold Coast event.

If you did secure tickets to the opening, in the opening exhibition, titled Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise, be sure to keep an eye out for local artist Aaron Chapman’s inclusion — we have it on good authority it will be big and bright! You simply can’t miss it.

Internationally, the Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection exhibition (13 November 2021 – 27 February 2022) will be showcased in the new 1000m2 main exhibition gallery a stunning space featuring approximately 70 works from some of the world’s most influential contemporary artists including Andy Warhol.

And if you decide to hold off on visiting the Gallery until after Friday 14th May, you can then check out the incredible new Palette Restaurant and Exhibitionist Bar. Both of which where you will find deftly put-together food and tantalising cocktails await with enigmatic views of our skyline and hinterland.

The Gold Coast art scene is set to flourish, folks!

Where: HOTA, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
When: Opening weekend – Saturday 8 May & Sunday 9 May 2021

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

The Rainforest by Australian painter William Robinson, the first piece of art hung in Gallery at HOTA (image supplied)
The Rainforest by Australian painter William Robinson, the first piece of art hung in Gallery at HOTA (image supplied)

Treat your palate to an explosion of flavour

Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

There was a time when if you wanted to experience a fine dining evening of sensational service and delectable food, you’d be a little hard-pressed to find it on our Coast. But oh my, how things have certainly changed! Pushing the envelope with a discerning meal out is no longer a marathon feat, as quality restaurants — and operators — find themselves calling the Gold Coast home these days.

For this, we (and some very well looked after restaurant-goers) are eternally grateful!

If you haven’t heard the buzz around the explosive opening of HOTA’s new Gallery building, we ask you: what rock have you been living under? The exciting addition to the cultural precinct — valued at $60.5­ million — is now the most extensive art gallery outside of any state capital; boasting over 4000 different artworks from international, national and local artists. Our time to shine on the Australian culture scene is finally here!

Yet, with fine works of art and masses of sophistication, there is naturally the necessity to fuel this movement. So join us in agreeing that a new fine dining restaurant under the name of Palette within the Gallery is not only fitting — but warmly welcomed!

A signature cocktail at Palette, HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
A signature cocktail at Palette, HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Opening on Friday 14th May, Palette, located on the ground floor of the all-new HOTA Gallery, is set to be a sophisticated dining experience that will feature a modern Australian menu with a comprehensively curated wine list, degustation menus and a la carte. Not just for small groups or couples, the venue will host larger groups and even cater for large-scale events.

Coinciding with the official opening of the HOTA Gallery recently, Palette aims to impress and indulge those who appreciate the arts just as much as great food!

Executive Head Chef Dayan Hartill-Law (formerly head chef of Melbourne’s Press Club) is counting down the days until he and his team can invite visitors to enjoy their modern cuisine, with a spotlight on fresh, local, and high-quality produce.

After scouring the menu, our standouts are the Hervey Bay scallops in a brown butter consommé and the Davidson plum sorbet with pepperberry meringue. If these dishes taste just half as good as they read, we are in for a real treat my friends.

Palette bar at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette bar at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

“Our two degustation menus are inspired by the major art exhibitions in the gallery, with the first menu relating to HOTA’s Solid Gold exhibit so that guests can see their favourite pieces of art come to life on the plate,” said Dayan.

Intrigued? Join the club.

Dayan goes on to tell us, “The Darling Downs vegetables in variations emulates the artist Mimi Dennett to have the same flowers and plants growing as what features in her piece, Bloom. The degustation menus will evolve as each exhibition changes, so diners can always expect an exciting new experience each time.”

Now we’ve heard of food matching drinks, events, and people’s dietary needs — but never with pieces of an exhibition!

Apart from two deftly put-together and highly thoughtful degustation menus, you’ll also have the chance to enjoy a more simplistic a la carte style menu for a decadent lunch with a difference. Featuring Fraser Island spanner crab, Brisbane Valley Qual, and Jerusalem artichokes with Rosella jam.

An entree dish at Palette, HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
An entree dish at Palette, HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Throw into the equation a superb wine offering, immaculate surroundings and Palette has all the hallmarks of being the Gold Coast’s next best fine dining restaurant.

Impressed as we are — as should you be — we expect this restaurant to go off with a bang. Implying if you plan to visit, we highly recommend booking well in advance to avoid disappointment!

Where: Home Of The Arts Gallery, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
When: Opening Friday 14th May
Wed – Thu: 11.30am – 2pm (lunch) & 5.30pm – 9pm (dinner)
Fri -Sun: 11.30am – 3pm (lunch) & 5pm – 10pm (9pm Sun) (dinner)

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)
Palette interior at HOTA Gallery (image supplied)

Tracy Cooper-Lavery

Tracy Cooper-Lavery (image supplied)
Tracy Cooper-Lavery (image supplied)

You would have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard that HOTA is opening a brand new Gallery in May. With it, will fine-dining restaurant Palette, and of course a Rooftop Bar, appropriately named – The Exhibitionist’s Bar. To say we are excited, would be an understatement. In preparation for the highly-anticipated opening, we spoke with the Director of HOTA Gallery, the talented Tracy Cooper-Lavery. She gives us an insight into her career to date, along with what’s to come from the opening of the HOTA Gallery.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Even though I have moved around a lot, the Goldie has always felt like my real home. I grew up here in the ‘70s, started my career here in the ‘90s and have been settled here for the last 5 years. I was always back for holidays too as my grandparents and parents are proud GC locals!

Tell us a bit about your career to date.
I was so fortunate to begin my career on the Gold Coast. Fran Cummings, the first Director of Gold Coast City Gallery took a punt on me and gave me my first job as the Curatorial Assistant. She literally threw me in the deep end and in my first week put me in charge of overseeing a large exhibition of bark paintings and sculptures from Arnhem Land that was arriving along with many of the artists, some who had never left their communities of Maningrida and Ramingining! After eight years, I moved onto the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2000 and then as Director at Rockhampton Art Gallery in 2011, until 2016 when I came back for my dream job as Director at HOTA Gallery.

Samuel Leighton-Dore, Cloud-Drive (2021). SOLID GOLD Artists from Paradise, HOTA Gallery. Image courtesy of the artist.
Samuel Leighton-Dore, Cloud-Drive (2021). SOLID GOLD Artists from Paradise, HOTA Gallery. Image courtesy of the artist.

What career achievement are you most proud of?
That’s a no-brainer – the opening of HOTA Gallery on 8 May! I feel so invested in this project and have been part of the development of the Gallery since it began in 2016. After so many years working in the former gallery spaces and having an intimate knowledge of the City art collection, I know how important this project is for the Gold Coast and for the arts in Australia.

What excites you the most about the art scene here on the Gold Coast?
We have so many incredibly talented and resilient artists working on the Gold Coast and the scene continues to grow at a rapid pace. There are great artist-run initiatives like The Walls at Miami and Generate GC which supports the development of new site-specific work by emerging artists. An exhibition like SOLID GOLD has been a great way for HOTA to amplify the work of Gold Coast practitioners and elevate their practice to a national audience.

What impact do you think the HOTA Gallery will have on the Gold Coast community?
The Gallery will be a game-changer for the Gold Coast and for cultural tourism locally. It provides the first significant seven-days-a-week offer at the Precinct (except for HOTA cinema of course!) and will present local through to international exhibitions. Who would have thought you would see a major exhibition featuring Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons – right here on the Goldie! The Gallery really brings together all of the aspects of the cultural precinct and provides more opportunity to spend a day with us. Take in some art, have a swim in the lake, catch a film or some comedy and finish your day off with sunset drinks in The Exhibitionist Bar on Level 5.

HOTA Gallery Exterior (image supplied)

What are you looking forward to the most about the HOTA Gallery opening?
The opportunity to present aspects of the HOTA collection in international standard exhibition galleries for the first time. Many of the works you will see when we open have never been shown publicly or not for many years. There will be some treasured favourites, as well as some stunning recent acquisitions to enjoy. Be sure to also check out our viewing window above the collection store to get a sense of the behind-the-scenes world of the Gallery!

If you had to pick one piece from the upcoming ‘SOLID GOLD: Artists from Paradise’ exhibition, which would be your favourite?
That’s tough, it’s like your children; you aren’t supposed to have favourites! What I do love is that there is such a diverse range of ages, careers and mediums on display. There are paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations, digital projections, outdoor works, immersive rooms, augmented reality mixed with ceramics, robotic sunrises and crystals! I think there are plenty of favourites!

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: I love dropping to Bumbles at Budds Beach or Bam Bam Bakehouse at Mermaid
Coffee spot: Hot Shott Café at Main Beach, Urban Monkey at Bundall or Merlo Coffee at The Brickworks in Southport
Restaurant: Currently Etsu Izakaya or Mr Kojima; but soon to be Palette at HOTA Gallery
Bar or pub for a drink: The Exhibitionist Bar at HOTA Gallery

How do you choose to spend your weekends?
At the moment I don’t stray far from home on the weekends. I have spent so much time at work, I like to hibernate and spend time with the family. If we do venture out, it’s usually to the beach, to Rosser Park for a dog walk or a drive up into the glorious hinterland.

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