Featuring gadgets, industrial machinery, mechanical horses and exposed copper, all specially sourced and imported, Surfers Paradise’ latest bar and restaurant is the perfect visual representation of the genre after which it’s named.
Steampunk refers to a fantasy subgenre in which those living in the Victorian era imagined their lives to be. It’s all about mixing old and new: fusing the usability of modern technology with the design aesthetic and philosophy of the Victorian age.
Hailing from Tasmania, owner Grant Rodgers has plenty of experience working in historical venues and made the move to the Gold Coast to open Steampunk, the first restaurant of its kind in Australia, after seeing an opportunity for something unique.
The menu is unlike anything else around including share plates of Scorched Bugs with corn and chilli salsa to Crab and Corn Arancinci with smoked paprika aioli and Topped Mini Fillet Steaks (three ways).
If you’re more of a solo eater try the Chilli Salt Local Cuttlefish Thai Salad or House Gnocchi with Haloumi, spinach, tomatoes and fried sage.
The cocktail list is divided into tantalising sections, there’s Toothsome, Sourish, Perplexing, Enchanting and Mind Altering – don’t go past The Enigma made with Makers Mark bourbon, orange and salt or the Juicy Bruiser – Absolut Vodka with Passionfruit juice, lime, Prosecco and a little surprise on presentation.
Offering all day eats and an exciting cocktails menu, Steampunk is the Surfers Paradise anti-nightclub – a place to enjoy some drinks and a bite to eat without having to be involved in the frantic pace of neighboring venues.
HOURS: 11am until late daily.
LOCATION: 3113 Surfers Paradise Bvld (opposite Billabong), Surfers Paradise.
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
She’s been tapping her toes on stage since she was three years old and since then Miss Mandy Swings has enjoyed an international career.
We sat down for a chat with the local lass about her colourful history as a Gold Coast performer and her thoughts on the future of our city’s music scene.
What was like growing up on the Gold Coast as a performer?
Similar to today, there were dance studios leading to eisteddfods and talent quests. Tropicarnival was a big highlight, performing on stage in Cavill Avenue. There was no Arts Centre early on, so the opportunity to perform in a theatre, with wings, backstage areas and state of the art sound and lighting wasn’t available. It’s a great addition to the Gold Coast for the young talent of today to perform in a professional venue with the opportunity to audition for musicals, The Junior Green Room project and school holiday workshops with industry artists.
What unique opportunities were you given as a local artist here?
I was lucky enough to audition for the Casino when I finished school and performed in two productions – Starz and Galaxies as an acrobat and singer/dancer, the greatest first professional contracts ever! I learned so much from the Directors, Choreographers, guest acts and the cast and crew. We had a live orchestra, galloping horses and a Cadillac driven onto the stage. There was a rotating floor and world-class sets and costumes, it was mind blowing. After the show we’d head to Surfers and perform in the nightclubs doing dance shows at Twains, The Penthouse and Cocktails and Dreams. After a stint in Japan I came home to sing jazz in the piano bar at The Sheraton Mirage. In the corporate market my 9-piece band Oz Hornz have played all the big ballrooms and functions around town. We’ve had the pleasure of playing support for a lot of celebrities – Harry Connick Jnr. and Chris Isaaks being a highlight at the Indy Ball.
You’re performing at Sunday Sounds this weekend, what can we expect from your set?
I’m performing with my quartet to kick off the afternoon of Swing. You can look forward to Natalie Cole and the big band singers of years gone by – Doris Day, Bette Midler, Ella Fitzgerald. I’m a singer and dancer so you won’t see me keep still. The bouncy swing of songs like Stuff Like That There and Get Happy is infectious.
What do you love most about swing music?
Definitely the vibe, it makes you feel good. The lyrics and story telling of the old tunes give you a sense of how much times have changed. The rhythm is so relaxed and cruisey. I love watching the swing dancers kicking their legs and throwing their partners around. The greatest part of swing music is a live band and the horns! You go along for the ride and never know where they will take you.
How have you seen the Gold Coast’s music scene grow in your time as a performer?
I have seen the music scene grow in certain areas. The introduction of Surfers Paradise Festival, Blues on Broadbeach and the Country Music Festival have been great. Miami Marketta and The NightQuarter have also provided locals with options to see live acts. Sunday Sounds at Sanctuary Cove is giving locals a great variety of music and entertainment for families to enjoy. The Broadwater Parklands is a great venue for Christmas Carols and some duos on the weekend. I do like the idea of entertainment in our parks; we have the best climate for outdoor events. Twin Towns have been great supporters of live music and continue to do so. Our local RSL and Sports Clubs are providing a great opportunity for our musicians and entertainers to get some experience too.
Back in the day live rock venues and Sunday sessions were big on the Coast. Live rock, pop and horn bands were something you could go out and enjoy. Kids who are learning instruments actually got to see musicians performing their craft because it gave them something to aspire to.
What do you think is the future of music here?
I think there is a very positive vibe around the GC. There are a lot of people in the industry pushing to keep music alive and live. We have some of the best players/tutors on the Coast teaching our younger generation their instruments. I hope that we can get more live music back in to venues with more players on stage. I’ve seen it at functions; some young people are in awe and have never seen a live band. The young musos need to know they are mastering their talent and have somewhere they can play a live show.
How did your career kick off?
I started singing and dancing at three years old. After performing on a talent show with Paul Sharratt at 10 years old, another producer was looking for young singers and dancers for his program. I made it on to Channel 7’s Super Saturday as a regular junior performing weekly through to high school until I graduated and left for the Casino.
What does the future hold for you?
My business Oz Hornz Entertainment keeps me very busy with all our different acts. I’m performing with my rock/pop band Funky Monkeys at Steampunk Surfers on July 8th, which I am very excited about. I’m pushing to get live bands back into some local venues before the world gets here next April for the Commonwealth Games. I have many dreams to fulfill in this crazy life; cruise ships are on the hit list with my Beehives Tribute Show.
Your favourite piece of life advice…
I live by a few rules:
Beach: The Broadwater and South Currigee. I’m a boaty so our family jump off the grid a couple of times a year and chill out tubing and camping on the Island. If I had to choose a beach it would be The Spit.
Café: Meraki Wholefood Kitchen in Chirn Park
Restaurant: Thai Magik Chirn Park
Music venue: Steampunk Surfers Paradise
Get excited Gold Coasters, we’ve got a long weekend and you know what that means, bulk relaxation. It’s a time for spending time with pals, lazing in the sunshine and generally doing as many fun activities as you can.
Here’s a few ideas we’ve come up with to get you started.
Have a picnic
Long weekends are the perfect time for picnics. Grab your friends, family, lover or all of the above, grab some tipples if that’s your jam, pack your bags and enjoy your cheese and crackers in a park, lakeside or at the beach. Here’s a list of our top spots for doing just that.
Find a new beach
As a passionate local, you probably spend quite a lot of time at the beach. Same. It doesn’t even matter that it’s winter on the Gold Coast. This long weekend we recommend mixing it up a little, ditching your local stretch of sand and checking out one of these swimming spots instead.
– Tallebudgera Creek, Ocean Parade – It’s not the crowded stretch of Tallebudgera Creek you’d usually frequent. This hidden piece of paradise is located along Ocean Pde on the northern side and offers the same beautiful views with a slightly more secluded vibe.
– Surfers Paradise – an absolute must-go spot for tourists, but rarely frequented by locals. This spot is of course a pristine piece of real estate with plenty of room to spread out a towel, beach umbrella and play with the kids, which makes it a popular destination for families. Just sit back, relax and enjoy this primo spot, then go for a stroll in Cavill Ave to support our local dining scene.
– Tugun Beach – if you’re looking for a serene stretch of beach almost all to yourself head on down to Tugun/ Bilinga beach. These often overlooked suburbs boast a variety of cafes and sweet eateries for that post-dip feast.
Go for a bike ride
Explore our beautiful beachside paradise on two wheels. Whether you want to make it a family outing and try out all the coffee spots in Burleigh or just add some booze and make it a pub crawl. The world is your oyster. Here’s a little track we like to take.
Eat at all the new spots
It’d obviously take a little longer than an extended weekend to try out all the trendy restaurants, cafes and bars on the Coast with newbies opening on a weekly basis. But you’ve gotta start somewhere and we’ve got you covered with this list of everything that opened in the last couple of months.
Take a day trip
If you feel like getting out of the city for a sec, we feel you. The Gold Coast’s World Heritage listed Hinterland is the perfect destination for the whole family and it will only take you about 40 minutes to get there. You can go hiking, horseback riding, explore the rainforest or chase some stunning waterfalls. Mt Tamborine is also an epic spot to visit if you want to have some lunch and cruise around the shops. Check out everything we love up there here.
Be a tourist
When was the last time you’ve been to Surfers Paradise during the day? We thought so, but you might be surprised, there are SO MANY fun things to do up there these days including plenty of good restaurants and heaps of activities the kids (and you) will love. Get the fam together and be a tourist for a day.
Play barefoot bowls
One of our favourite long weekend past time activities, sunny afternoons spend with mates playing barefoot bowls. No white uniform required, the club will sort you out with a beer in one hand and ball in the other. See the best barefoot bowls spots here.
Learn to surf
If you’re not already a pro on the board it’s time to get out in the water and learn how to surf and what better time to do that than on a long weekend. The water is even warmish right now? Simply hire a board and give it a whirl yourself at one of these local surf spots.
Check out the local arts scene
You don’t have to leave the Coast to experience amazing art. Our art scene is bursting with creativity and bigger and better than ever before. Here are the Gold Coast galleries you should absolutely add to your list this long weekend and here’s some local murals you might like to check out too.
Visit a winery/brewery
The Gold Coast Hinterland not only boasts stunning natural wonders, it’s also home to several world-class wineries, all of which are only 45 minutes drive away. How good. There are winery tours or you can simply choose a designated driver and head up to taste a few of your favourites. Down on the Coast there are many a sweet brewery you can/should also frequent. Find those here.
That should fill up your weekend Gold Coasters, enjoy!
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