Surfers Paradise may not be a place you’re usually keen to frequent on a night out but hold up haters, we’ve got good news.
Retros Cocktail Lounge opens this week and if you’re one of the (highly intelligent) people in the world who love yourself some 80s and 90s beats, strap on your dancing shoes and get ready to party.
Located on Orchid Ave, Retros originally opened in Brisbane to rave reviews and now Surfers Paradise gets to share in the love.
The tunes will be old school (strictly 80, 90s and noughties) and everyone’s favourite way to consume cocktails (in a fishbowl) is on offer. Everything from the design to the music and drinks are inspired by those epic decades.
Mirrored disco balls and neon lights illuminate the room and guys, best of all, there’s glow paint E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E.
You can rent yo’self a VIP Bottle and Booth from $350, which includes a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and a dedicated host to serve and pour drinks. So it’s basically like you’re Britney Spears (pre breakdown) and her entourage and what could possibly be better.
If dancing until your feet ache, sipping from a shared (or not) bowl filled with delicious alcoholic beverages and reminiscing on the good old days are your idea of a good time, you should definitely hit up Retros ASAP.
Party on Wayne.
LOCATION: 5-7 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise
HOURS: Thursday from 9pm until late, Friday and Saturday from 8pm until late.
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.
Ah, Surfers Paradise. The jewel in the crown that is our fair city. The place visitors first picture in their minds and have done for the last several decades. While it is the most tourist-dense part of our Coast, what is it local’s love about it? Here we fill you in on the six best reasons locals love Surfers Paradise.
Belt out karaoke at Tune Up
The definition of karaoke, Tune Up is THE place to test out your vocal cords after you’ve had a few cocktails at bar instution The Avenue or a few schooners of ale from House of Brews. It’s an intimate environment that feels much like a house party where you can choose to mingle with everyone in the main bar or take up residence in your own little private room and sing your heart out. Count us in!
Where: Level 1, 23 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise (above Gold Coast Real Estate)
Have a Guinness at the D’Arcy Arms
Wet your whistle with a pint of Guinness at D’Arcy Arms where the historic first Guinness keg was brewed in Queensland (and arguably Australia), tapped onsite in 1988. This locals’ Irish pub fave offers a welcome change of pace if you want to take things slow, keep warm by the fireplace or if last night happened to get the better of you. There’s always great home-style food to be had, live music and a few friendly faces with some good craic.
Where: 2923 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise
Have a luxe afternoon at Surfers Pavilion
Aptly positioned with ceaseless waterfront views and boasting a substantial mooring site of 400sq metres, means if locals would like to arrive GC-style by boat or jet ski — so be it! Setting and glam aside though, the new arrival is perfect for enjoying our fantastic year-round weather with an outside frosé bar, and for those with a discerning palette, a dedicated oyster and Champagne station keeps the crowd more than occupied.
Where: 30-34 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Hit 9 pins at Strike Bowling
Prepare to lose a few hours when you step into this space which is a literal smorgasbord of entertaining activities and feast for the senses. The highlight is the 10-lane glow in the dark bowling alley where competitive urges can be settled with groups big and small. But, it doesn’t stop there either. If you fancy further fun, then a 15-person karaoke room, cocktail bar, two escape rooms, and pool tables should do it.
Where: Circle on Cavill, Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Sip cocktails on The Island Rooftop Bar
Rooftop bars are one of the greatest things that ever happened to the Gold Coast. Period. Now, take this sentiment and couple it with this — the Gold Coast’s largest open-air rooftop bar — and voila, you have one of the best places to drink delectable cocktails, watch live music, and live your best life at the stream of ever-changing events (drag queen brunch anyone?). You are promised great times and vibes when you head to The Island.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Grab breaky at Cuppa on 41
If you find yourself in Surfers Paradise before the afternoon, then you need to head to Cuppa on 41 to energise yourself for the day — as well as for all the other inclusions on this list! The café is an excellent concept that allows local underprivileged youth to become experienced in hospitality, and coincidentally isn’t so hard on your pocket either! Our pick is the Bauernomelett, a German-style omelette straight out of heaven. You’ll leave with a satisfied belly and knowing you have contributed to a change in a Gold Coasters future.
Where: 41 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Indulge at Alfrescos Italian Restaurant
Creating picture-perfect pasta and pizza for the last 25 years, you might say what Alfrescos doesn’t know about Italian food and ambience isn’t worth knowing — and you’d be right! This charming family-owned and run restaurant has stood the test of time with locals and continually returning for great Italian classics and drinks to match. If you haven’t been in a little while, be sure to change that, the venue underwent a slight facelift late last year and is looking as enchanting as ever.
Where: 3/3018 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Boogie on down at Retro’s
When it comes to having a boogie along to cheeky tunes of yesteryear, you no longer have to hide in your bathroom in your towel to do so. All the locals know that Retro’s is the ultimate answer to having a fun night out and dancing the night away to the music you grew up with. With themed nights and drinks specials coming at you from all angles, you are destined to have a good time no matter what day of the week it is at this hotbed of a disco.
Where: 3 — 15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Take in the view at Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club
After a swish refurbishment, this 100-year-old surf club is the faultless place to go for an ice-cold beer for a spot of people watching, seamless views across the Pacific Ocean and to chat to a local. The family-friendly atmosphere is full of locals after their early morning beach walk tucking into a big brekky (but they’re also open for lunch and dinner too!) — a great option straight off the sand and when you feel the need to escape the crowds with some uber-friendly Queensland hospitality.
where: Corner of Hanlan Street & The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
Surfers Paradise is the heart of the Gold Coast, loved by locals and a stark reminder of a youth well spent for locals.
If you’re short on time but still keen to experience the magic of this tourist hub, never fear; here’s a guide to spending 24 action packed hours in Surfers Paradise.
Early morning: Rise with the sun for a walk along one of Australia’s most famous beaches. It’s the quietest time of day in Surfers but the active wear will be out in full force. A magnificent sunrise will ignite you for the day ahead.
Breakfast: Sandbar on the Esplanade has long been a visitor’s favourite and with a recent renovation, it’s now a favourite with the locals too. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy your first coffee of the day, a smoothie bowl or an omelette with a side of lamb sausage (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie) while overlooking the beach.
Where: 52 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise (on the corner of Elkhorn Avenue)
Mid-morning: After letting your breakfast settle, relax with a Surfers Paradise River Cruise. The cruise travels through the waterways at a leisurely pace while the Captain points out interesting sights and celebrity homes along the way. Morning tea is served and can be enjoyed on the sunlit deck overlooking the skyline.
Where: 63 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise (next to the Tiki statue)
Lunch: You’ll be famished after a morning on the water so head down to Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co. for a mouth-watering burger and their famous concrete desserts. You’ll be hard pressed to stop eating but don’t forget you’ve got an afternoon of activities ahead!
Where: Chevron Renaissance12-14/3240 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise
Early afternoon: Surfers Paradise has a huge variety of shops to wander through from high end to highly touristy. You could easily lose hours (and dollars) in Cavill Mall alone.
If you’re keen for more activities there’s also Timezone, Infinity – a mind-blowing maze adventure, the Wax Museum – where you’ll come face to face with Johnny Depp, Kylie Minogue and the Dalai Lama and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium – offering 16 themed galleries filled with unbelievable artefacts and interactive exhibits. Perhaps a spot of mini golf at King Tutt’s Putt Putt.
Late afternoon: Get a birds eye view of the Gold Coast from 240 metres in the air at SkyPoint Observation Deck. Relax and enjoy afternoon tea (or a sneaky cocktail) while marveling at 360 degree views of the Coast from the ocean to the hinterland. Hot tip: Head up just before sunset to see the dazzling lights of Surfers come on.
Where: Q1, 9 Hamilton Ave, Surfers Paradise
Dinner: After a long day of activities, you’ll appreciate a relaxed dinner. Take a stroll across the bridge to the little village community of Chevron Island. Treat yourself to a takeaway pizza from Arlo’s Pizzeria and perch yourself in the park overlooking the Broadwater.
Where: Shop 2, 46-50 Thomas Drive, Chevron Island
After dinner: For a sweet treat don’t miss grabbing a gelato from local favourite Yum Gelato before you hit the hay or, if you’re a night owl and you’ve come to see the Surfers Paradise spectacle that is Orchid Avenue, dance the night away in one of the many bars located in and around Surfers Paradise.
Start at the local’s favourite Melba’s for drink in this open air bar before wandering up to the newly renovated The Avenue for a stint of live music. As every good bar crawl progresses, you can’t miss the Gold Coast’s super club Shooters. Have a bit of a jive at locally-loved bar Elsewhere (with a colour changing disco dance floor), before settling in at late night venue The Bedroom before calling it a night (or an early morning if you gave it a good go).
Don’t forget your kebab on the way home, hold the onion.
So there you have it, one of many ways to spend 24 hours in Surfers Paradise. Keep an eye out for more plus Inside Gold Coast’s ongoing suburb spotlights.
Words by Kirra Smith.
On June 13th each year we raise a glass to World Gin Day and the spirit that has certainly had its come up over the last little while. The Gold Coast boasts our very own gin distillery plus a host of bars making magic with local gins. All of which you won’t be surprised to learn we’re big fans of.
In honour of that, here are the best spots to get your gin fix on the Gold Coast this World Gin Day (or anyday for that matter). Happy sipping.
Tamborine Mountain Distillery
Tucked away on Mount Tamborine is one of Australia’s smallest and most unique distilleries with over 280 International Awards. Their gold medal award winning gin is the Lilly Pilly Gin, a pot still gin using botanicals such as Australian Lilly Pilly (Riberry), Juniper, Angelica root, Orris root, Citrus peel, Caraway, Coriander, Aniseed Myrtle, Elderflower, Mistletoe, Passionflower, Shepherd’s Purse and more. The best part about it, it’s got a delightful pink hue.
Where: 87-91 Beacon Road, North Tamborine
The Island Rooftop
It’s always a good time on the rooftop in Surfers Paradise, overlooking the city and with guaranteed good vibes. While all the sips are sweet, our recommendation is the Clover Leaf made with Beefeater gin, raspberry, lemon and egg white, so good.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Aloha Bar & Dining
How does a Saturn Juniper Uranus sound? Cool right. That’s exactly what you should order at Broady’s most colourful alleyway bar, Aloha Bar & Dining. It’s got Four Pillars gin, sloe gin, orgeat, passionfruit, lime and rosemary and it’s out of this world. The bar itself is decked out in full colour, with hidden rooms and moody, good time vibes aplenty. Follow the music down the alley and you’ll find yourself in a magical world of tiki goodness.
Where: 18 Main Place, Broadbeach
Fig & Frankies
Another delightful Broadbeach bar dedicated to exceptional sips and very good times is Fig & Frankies, also newish on the scene and also very well-loved amongst Gold Coast locals. Their cocktail list is tight and filled with delights made up of local spirits and you’ll want to try them all. Drinks are numbered rather than named and each is absolute perfection to be honest. We particularly loved Number One (aptly named) because it is made up of MAC by Brookies, clarified green apple and house lemonade and we cannot overstate tasty enough. Gather the crew and sip up a storm.
Where: 4/2707 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
A must-visit cocktail bar in Broadbeach, Roosevelt Lounge is one of the city’s sexiest spots for a cocktail, capturing the seductive style and glamour of decadent New York. For World Gin Day try the Down the Rabbit Hole Signature Cocktail made up of Ink gin, in-house chimmer liqueur (pink moscato, pisco, peach & orange blossom), blueberry vinegar, citric acid and life of cha crystal tea. Delightfully served in a tea pot, this cocktail is an Instagram dream.
Where: 75 Surf Parade, Broadbeach
The Gold Coast’s first gin distillery Granddad Jacks are, quite obviously king when it comes to gin cocktails (and gin in general). Our number one on their list is the Seymour Street with their very own Greenhouse Gin plus Eucalyptus and fresh lime juice because it’s the ultimate in Aussie-inspired freshness and it tastes top notch too. Love your work mates.
Where: 45 Lemana Lane, Miami
Oh Rosella’s, little love of our lives. A refined Australiana bar in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Rosella’s is bringing all Aussie eats and tipples to the very appreciative people. On a list of cocktails that will 100% improve your life (especially the Pet Nat Slushie – love you) but for the purposes of this article let’s chat about the Kylie Minogue Martini with Vickers Gin from Beenleigh Distillery no less, vodka, elderflower, verjus and pink peppercorn. It’ll have you spinning around in no time.
Where: 6/1743 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away down Justin Lane behind a red velvet curtain is Lockwood Bar. They a serving up a sexy sip titled Brookie’s Aviation which fuses Brookie’s Dry Gin, lemon juice, Tempus Fugit liqueur de violette and Luxado Maraschino liqueur. Topped off with a maraschino cherry, you know it’s a goodie.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
An intimate little space down Palmy way is Suga, a cocktail and rum bar open until late and serving up cocktails that are quite unlike anything you’ve sipped before. On World Gin Day we recommend a Gin Lippy with Larrikin Gin, citrus syrup, housemade lemonade and a whole lots of tastiness. A very tasty tipple indeed. Pop on in for a few of those this weekend.
Where: 1142 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
The Collective Palm Beach
The Rooftop Bar at The Collective Palm Beach is a gin-lovers paradise with beloved gin-based cocktails including the Rose Hip Martini with Poor Toms Gin, hibiscus syrup, lime and grapefruit and the Unnamed Sympathy served Tiki-style with macadamia-infused Nobel Cut Gin, Bushfire Botanic Australis Gin and pine-lime allspice. Both of which are tried and tested by us and both of which are really very delicious.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Saint Helen’s Kitchen + Bar
If sipping cocktails seaside is your thing (and we know it is), you’ll love Saint Helens Kitchen + Bar signature slurp The Gin Thruster. It’s got gin, blueberry and tonic. It’s bright, refreshing and super Insta-worthy – if it lasts that long.
Where: Shop 2/78 Musgrave Street, Kirra
Words by Kirra Smith