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11 next-level Gold Coast rooftop bars

The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)
The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)

If Queensland weather doesn’t shout rooftop bars at you in a high-pitched squeal, we don’t know what will. Our climate, coupled with the amazing hospitality scene here in our city, means these open-air meccas of good times and delicious libations are the prime place to find yourself — any time of the year! It’s all about drinks in the sunshine and snapping selfies with picturesque backgrounds for Insta-bragging purposes. 

So, in honour of bars in high places, here are 11 next-level rooftop bars you should make it a priority to visit this weekend — and next weekend, and the weekend after…

The Exhibitionist Bar
When HOTA opened its brand new state of the art gallery building last year (the biggest outside a capital city, by the way), we all knew the art scene was about to go up a level or two. What we didn’t realise was that a sublimely positioned rooftop bar was a part of the deal also. The highly talented Tom Angel heads up a bar and creative cocktail list, which is a seriously good spot for a sundowner — and the ideal place to take out of towners!
Where: Level 5/135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise

Clockwise: Kingfish ceviche, Creamy coconut rice with dulche de leche and Patacones with black beans at Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Clockwise: Kingfish ceviche, Creamy coconut rice with dulche de leche and Patacones with black beans at Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Tropic Vice
Glitzy, glamorous, and generally a wonderful time all around, Tropic Vice was the rooftop bar Nobby Beach was yearning for, and it came to fruition in 2021. The ideal spot for a weekend catch up, a mid-week cheeky cocktail, or an epic bottomless brunch every Sunday. Do yourself a favour: find yourself here sipping a cocktail whilst drinking in the gorgeous hinterland view.
Where: 2215 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

The Island Rooftop
Find the Gold Coast’s largest open air and much-loved rooftop bar perched on top of the The Island in Surfers ParadiseThe Island Rooftop is part nightclub, part bar, part live music venue, and all the parts are a fun time no matter the day of the week. Head there for the epic weekend Grazy Days lunch or just to feel like you’re on Island time.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise

Nineteen at The Star poolside (image supplied)
Nineteen at The Star poolside (image supplied)

Nineteen at The Star
The fanciest of the bunch is undoubtedly Nineteen at The Star, complete with velvet booth-style seating, an infinity pool and ocean views for days. Found atop the The Star Gold Coast’s The Darling, Nineteen is the perfect place for people-watching, dressing up and sipping on fancy tipples while dancing the night away. Oh and be sure to take a snap on the runway that stretches out in the pool!
Where: The Darling, Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach 

Frida Sol
The Palm Beach Mexi restaurant doubles as a rooftop bar with views out to the ocean and lots of salty ocean breezes. The eats are fresh and flavoursome, and there’s many a margarita on the list to soothe that sweltering summer humidity we’re currently experiencing. Get into Frida Sol.
Where: 1176 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach

Mr PP's Deli & Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)
Mr PP's Deli & Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)

Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop Bar
A game-changer in Southport’s food and beverage scene was Mr PP’s, a deli and rooftop bar boasting city views and plenty of good vibes in the century-old postal building. There is a generous menu full of pizzas, tapas and charcuterie boards and this, folks, is the reason we love rooftop bars. Plus cocktails and local tipples, of which there are many at Mr PP’s. Live music on Sundays too.
Where: 43 Nerang St, Southport

The Collective
Everyone’s favourite multi-restaurant establishment, The Collective also boasts a sweet rooftop bar with some epic cocktails for your sipping pleasure. You can also order eats from one of the five menus on offer and watch the sunset over the ocean while you’re at it. We HIGHLY recommend.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach

Justin Lane (image supplied)
Justin Lane (image supplied)

Justin Lane
A much-loved favourite and the Gold Coast’s first official rooftop bar, Justin Lane is still one of the most popular rooftop’s since it’s opening in 2011. The space is intimate with booth-style seating overlooking Burleigh and plenty of cocktails to tickle your fancy. Downstairs is all the delicious pizza you could possibly need, so fill up on that, then head upstairs to mingle with the gang.
Where: 1708-1710 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads

Last Night on Earth
Pretty sure that if it were, in fact, your last night on Earth, you would want to spend it at a sweet rooftop bar with bulk cocktails at the ready. Which maybe isn’t the point of Southport’s Last Night on Earth but a good intro nonetheless. Last Night on Earth is the work of local legend Arran Wollams and his crew; it’s a somewhat underworld themed rooftop bar in the heart of Southport offering good times aplenty. It’s a dive bar, but not as you know it. Check it out.
Where: 50b Nerang St, Southport 

 

Moxy's Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Moxy's Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

Moxy’s Rooftop Bar
This rooftop bar located down in southerly Coolangatta has beautiful glimpses of the ocean, lots of live music and an impressive cocktail menu that’ll keep you coming back for more. Whilst they may not do eats, you can order from the Mexican joint downstairs, and we’re fairly sure there’s nothing that pairs better than bulk cocktails and tacos. Always lively and worth the trip down the Coast.
Where: 2/152 Griffith St, Coolangatta

Aviary Rooftop Bar
Perched atop Mantra on Sharks, Aviary Rooftop Bar’s views are as stunning as their extensive drinks list. With 180 degree views over the Surfers Paradise skyline and the ocean, it’s the perfect place for an after work beverage or Sunday arvo session with the crew. Ohh and don’t even get us started on their authentic Italian pizza’s, and tapas… if you know, you know.
Where: Mantra at Sharks, Melia Ct, Southport (next to Southport Sharks)

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Nineteen at The Star

Picture this: you’re 19 floors up nestled into a plush velvet booth overlooking the Broadbeach cityscape with the ocean sparkling invitingly in the background. At your back is a low-lit kitchen, the length of the restaurant, where you can watch some of the best chefs in the world working their magic.

With a glass of Ruinart champagne fizzing softly in front of you, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had stepped off the elevator and into one of New York’s finest establishments.

Not so. Nineteen at The Star is the epitome of understated sophistication and the restaurant slash bar slash nightclub has taken the Gold Coast’s dining scene to a whole new level (the nineteenth in fact) since its recent unveiling.

The food, of course, is what we’re here to discuss and should you feel like treating yourself to an unrivalled dining experience, this is the place to do just that.

Begin with caviar because a. if you’ve never tried it before, why not start with the best and b. if you have, why not start with the best. Nineteen source their Russian Beluga Caviar sustainably through the Caviar Ambassador for Australia.

Head Chef Kelvin Andrews suggests spooning the caviar onto the back of your hand and allowing it to warm to room temperature before tasting to bring out the flavours (of which there are many). It’s a difficult experience to explain but one that you must try for both deliciousness and eating-from-your-hand-in-a fancy-restaurant purposes.

Foie Gras is a dish some of us had not had the pleasure of sampling but what a pleasure it was. Kelvin and the team serve their corn-fed, Roast Highland Duck with a hint of wasabi, sprayed with organic soy sauce and topped with an onion ghost (yes, that’s as fun as it sounds). There are snack and main options so choose your own adventure.

The Tasmanian Rock Lobster Bolognese entree has quickly become a popular dish because it’s all the good things in the world. The shell is roasted over fire for up to four days to create some incredible smoky flavours (among other techniques that ensure the utmost deliciousness). It’s a game changer, you won’t want to go past that one.

A Peking and White Duck dish is served with golden hazelnuts and while we do love all of the foods, this one was a favourite. Particularly because you can add the creamiest, tastiest mashed potato there has ever been. No exaggeration. It’s called fifty-fifty because it’s half butter and half potato. Yes. It. Is. Feed us that every day for the rest of our lives please and thank you.

Dessert lovers aren’t left out with White Chocolate and Caviar the must-try dish. Yes you read that correctly (don’t forget salted caramel was once a foreign concept too). Single origin white chocolate from Ecuador is transformed into ice cream and topped with Caviar smoked with applewood and drizzled with gold flake-infused olive oil made right here in Burleigh. Nineteen at The Star are the first venue in Queensland to boast this magical elixir and the only one on the Gold Coast. Eat it.

Sustainability and minimal wastage are the name of the game here and the team work closely with local farmers to ensure the highest quality produce is available at all times.

The bar menu is equally impressive with, of course, only the highest quality ingredients on offer.

Nineteen have also carefully selected creative cocktails with equally thought-provoking names. One of which pays homage to the Gold Coast’s Aboriginal heritage using the original name of Broadbeach Island, Loch Door. Who knew?

That’s a lot of words to describe an experience that is, quite simply, indescribable. Nineteen at The Star is elegant and refined with every single detail perfectly executed.

World-class dining, right here on the Gold Coast, what’ll they think of next.

(Love you fifty-fifty).

LOCATION: Level 19, The Darling at The Star Gold Coast, Casino Dr, Broadbeach
HOURS: From 12pm Wednesday to Sunday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Tropic like it’s hot at this rooftop bar

Tropic Vice mural (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Tropic Vice mural (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

If there is one thing we Gold Coasters can get ourselves around, it’s a lively and welcoming open-air venue that offers you abundant opportunities to drink, eat, and socialise in — let’s be honest with ourselves here — some of our country’s finest weather. Our southern neighbours may have some stellar al-fresco establishments — however, they can’t match our climate. Should you consider yourself a fully-fledged aficionado of rooftop action, then we suggest you read on, as Nobby Beach welcomes the exciting new arrival of Tropic Vice.

For those with a keen eye and good memory, you’ll notice the venue has taken over the space of much-lauded Split and Fat Pig. Some things just aren’t meant to last forever. And with summer only just around the corner, Tropic Vice has sidestepped perfectly into the fold as the place to sip and graze your way through long summer afternoons without a care in the world.

In prime position over the Nobby Beach dining hub, the venue boasts unparalleled views towards the hinterland whilst catching refreshing sea breezes from the ocean only two blocks away — all up, the positioning is one of a kind. The styling and décor are a clever admixture of East and West Coast America — Florida Keys meets California’s Coachella Valley — with gushes of eye-catching fluorescents and clean white accents throughout.

Kingfish ceviche, Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Kingfish ceviche, Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

The space finds itself divided into three different sections with a central grassed area for mingling, high side tables ideal for grabbing some shade and taking in some food, whilst a raised deck area backed by neon lights presents the chance to relax and take in all the action. Tying it all together are palm fronds, plants, and calming notes of greenery: a subtle reminder of the lush sub-tropical setting we get to call home!

Whilst the ambience and aesthetic may have distinct roots in North America, the food menu hinges itself entirely on the big fresh and zesty flavours of South America with a peppering of Caribbean influences thrown in there too. Start things off with Fresh White Fish Ceviche, be it Snapper, Kingfish or Swordfish, before tucking into hearty Tacos with fillings such as Achiote Pulled Pork or Marinated Jackfruit. If you’re tackling a big hunger, then dishes from the grill like Chilli Garlic Prawns with fresh mango salsa and seared Flank Steak with Argentina’s famous Chimichurri sauce should have you covered.

The cocktail offering is no doubt a place most people will skip to — and you can’t be blamed. The list is divvied into the subheadings of Signatures, Slushies, and a dedicated Tropic Margaritas section. Amongst the house designed libations, you’ll come across the Tropic Martini: lashings of vodka meets passionfruit, mint, and pomegranate. All expertly shook into a frosty glass for your sipping pleasure.

Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque, Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque, Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

As good as the liquid refreshments already sound, it doesn’t stop there. By partnering up with Mumm and Perrier-Jouët Champagnes, Tropic Vice will be offering two exciting ways to sip champagne without seriously hurting your pocket. The first is an in-the-works Bottomless Brunch which will feature several dishes and unlimited Mumm Champagne. Designated for Sundays, you’ll need to keep an eye out for when they get this one underway.

The second will be available at any time, consisting of a bottle of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque and a dozen of the freshest shucked oysters served natural or with a tantalising diced watermelon and Jamaican vinegar dressing. At a modest $120, this little deal will go down a treat between a few friends or a couple enjoying themselves on a lazy afternoon!

The venue will be open from Friday 1st October and will be providing live DJs Friday – Sundays each week with sets playing from 4pm till late. The hot season isn’t quite here yet, but with a high chance of glorious weather coupled with the always buzzing vibes of Nobby Beach as a backdrop, it looks like Tropic Vice is making a strong case for summer coming early this year.

Where: Upstairs 2215 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
Hours: Opening Friday 1st October 2021
Wednesday/Thursday 4pm – 10pm, Friday-Sunday 12pm – 10pm.

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Clockwise: Kingfish ceviche, Creamy coconut rice with dulche de leche and Patacones with black beans at Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Clockwise: Kingfish ceviche, Creamy coconut rice with dulche de leche and Patacones with black beans at Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Check out the Gold Coast’s newest rooftop 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)
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