There’s never been a more important time to support our local hospitality business’ and musicians for a dose of live music in South East Queensland. Whether you’re the mid-week beer sipping and knee-slapping type or the seltzer slurping weekend warrior: live music is here for us all. Across the Gold Coast, there are abundant options for you to get involved in live music, with a breadth of venues all with their unique personalities and offerings.
So tell mum not to wait up, and head out to these live music venues across our lively city (listed north to south)!
The largest AFL club in Queensland, Southport Sharks has been up and running since 1961. Every weekend they showcase local musical talent, including tribute bands and good old rock and roll (or maybe a spot of karaoke is more up your alley?). There are endless food options, but we suggest starting your night at one of the Gold Coast’s most northern rooftop bars Aviary and fuel up to power through those dance sessions.
Where: Cnr Musgrave and Olsen Avenues, Southport
Not ones to hang around, this Southport rockin’ bar has hosted over 700 live music events in their short lifespan, and on any given night of the week, there is always something going down. Vinnies is in every inch of the word a dive bar, and inside you’ll find walls decked out with album covers, and an overall moody, low-lit vibe where revellers dance up a storm.
Where: Shops A & B, 44A Nerang Street, Southport
When it comes to finding live acts and having yourself a good time in the central Gold Coast, you’ll be hard pushed to look past The Avenue in Surfers Paradise. If you don’t believe us, check it out for yourself; there is literally something on every night of the week. Feeling the work week getting the better of you? Then we suggest you hit up their Tunes Tuesdays or House Music Thursdays, but if you can survive till the weekend, you’ll be spoilt with a variety of live music and the best partygoing atmosphere.
Where: 3-15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Should you arrive by jet ski or by Uber, it doesn’t matter. Surfers Pavilion is your one-stop venue in the heart of Surfers Paradise for drinks, eats and catching a live DJ set or two. And not just any disc jockeys either; The Stafford Brothers and Peking Duk have both played to jubilant crowds here in recent times. Currently, the wheels of steel are spinning Thursday and Friday evenings and all through the weekend: perfect long weekend territory.
Where: 30/34 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Hard Rock Café
Climb the stairway to heaven and enjoy handcrafted cocktails, impossible to ignore thick shakes, and a freshly prepared Americana menu over an impressive local rock music guest list. Since the first live music performance (Sir Paul McCartney no less) in 1973, the Hard Rock Cafe chains have been the home of live music and this Surfers Paradise institution is no different. Not just a great way to start off your weekend, there’s also mid-week events like musical bingo to cure any hump day melancholy.
Where: Corner Cavill Avenue and Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
The Home of the Arts is certainly doing the heavy lifting to finally elevate the arts and culture scene here in our section of Queensland. From headline acts performing on one of Australia’s best outdoor stage to intimate gigs indoors, variety is certainly what comes to mind when visiting a HOTA show. They’ve now decided your afternoons deserve an injection of outdoor live music too, now presenting Fridays on the Lawn. With a host of local talent scheduled to celebrate the end of the working week, we suggest you grab a blanket, acquire a drink from their lawn bar, and relax in their sophisticated sun-kissed setting as you plot your moves for the weekend.
Where: HOTA, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
Open Tuesday to Sunday for your listening pleasure, Den Devine feature jazz and blues artists from a talent pool right here in our city. This intimate hidden venue is well-known amongst live muisc fans, so we definitely recommend booking in advance to nab a seat. Grab a bev from their serious selection of whisky (the perfect accompaniment to some moody blues), a Mediterranean dish from their menu (it might sound like an odd fit, but trust us, the food is delish!) and make yourself comfortable as you’re treated to a fine selection of the best performers on the Gold Coast.
Where: 15 Victoria Avenue, Broadbeach
Garden Kitchen & Bar at The Star Gold Coast
When it comes to star-studded acts and internationally recognised music performances, The Star Gold Coast is the place to grab a seat in a full-blown theatre and experience music as it was intended. On the regular, though, you will find Garden Kitchen & Bar’s Live on the Lawn sessions a worthy alternative between headline acts. Each week they kick things off on a Friday evening and don’t let up until late Sunday night, with different music for every taste. Local band, McKenzie invite you to bop along to their Sunday residency with their energetic mix of feel-good pop-rock — a classic way to see the week out. Once you settle in, you’ll also be looked after with their dedicated lawn bar, and container kitchen, meaning leaving is one of the hardest things to do.
Where: 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach
Having duly stamped its authority on the Nobby Beach bar scene as the place to go for frolic fuelled nights, these guys will have you rocking out until the wee hours with a live band or DJ every night of the week. The venue also offers new bands the chance to get themselves out there, so keep an eye out for fresh talent!
Where: 2245 Gold Coast Highway, Nobbys Beach
The Cambus Wallace
Jump aboard and set sail to a nautical-infused destination full of food, rum, and live music. The Cambus Wallace awaits you for a night filled with charismatic blues, raw acoustic sets, and finger flicking vinyl delights. Depending on your taste, take your pick and be sure you try at least one of their cocktails!
Where: 2237 Gold Coast Highway, Nobbys Beach
Open from 5pm every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, Miami comes alive with foods from all around the world mixed with local blues, jazz and independent artists. And this isn’t all — the venue is one of the prime places to catch amazing national and international acts as they tour the country and drop by. Be sure to keep an eye on their gig calendar; tickets always sell out fast!
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami
Burleigh’s original back alley after-hours haunt is always an epic time. Nightjar is known for late-night revelry and an often stellar line-up of weekly live music. With drink specials aplenty, come and enjoy local acts as they take to the floor and keep the swinging yet sultry atmosphere going long into the night.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
Mo’s Desert Clubhouse
Combining events, gigs, workshops, yoga classes, and collaborative office spaces, Mo’s Desert Clubhouse is a melting pot of goings-on and a principal meeting place for the Gold Coast’s coolest movers and shakers. The industrial-style venue is outfitted with a bar and has a plethora of gigs lined up for the rest of the year. Make sure you pencil in a date with Mo’s Desert Clubhouse ASAP.
Where: 6/36 Central Drive, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Beer and music is an ensemble that will never die. Burleigh Brewery approaches their live music offering just the same way as they make their beer: balance, character and soul. Local acts are regularly paired with food trucks and your favourite brews from Friday through to Sunday. There’s also the occasional art show, movies under the stars and theatre performance for good measure. Oh and did we mention exceptional beer?
Where: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
It’s one of the Gold Coast’s favourite live music venues, having hosted local, national and international acts — but also remains one of our best-kept secrets. Find your way down to Currumbin RSL, where Soundlounge hosts acts from folk soloists and DJs to rock and roll bands. Listening to fantastic live music can be a hungry business, but this venue has you covered with food options, including pizza, an a la carte restaurant and bar snacks.
Where: 165 Duringan Street, Currumbin
The Coolangatta Hotel
Whether you’ve been catching world-class waves or lounging in the afternoon sun, Coolangatta — and specifically the Coolangatta Hotel — is the place to round out a perfect afternoon with live music. Being one of the Gold Coast’s largest live music venues, this venue features both national and international touring bands and DJs on any given weekend. The vast space has long been famous for all types of weekend warriors to dance the night away — just don’t forget that Monday morning meeting.
Where: Cnr Warner Street and Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Words by Alex Mitcheson.