The Exhibitionist Bar (image supplied)
If Queensland weather doesn’t scream rooftop bars at you with a high-pitched screech, we don’t know what will. Our climate, coupled with the incredible hospitality scene here in our city, means that these outdoor meccas of good times and delicious drinks are the best place to meet – any time of year! It’s all about drinks in the sun and taking selfies against picturesque backgrounds for bragging rights on Instagram.
So, in honor of bars in high places, here are 11 next-level rooftop bars you should make it a priority to visit this weekend, and the weekend after, and the weekend after…
The Exhibitionist Bar
When HOTA opened its new state-of-the-art art gallery building last year (the largest outside of a capital city, by the way), we all knew the art scene was about to go up a notch or two. What we didn’t realize was that a sublimely located rooftop bar was also part of the deal. The talented Tom Angel heads up a creative bar and cocktail list, which is a really good place to soak up the sun, and the place to be for heading out on the town!
Where: Level 5/135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise
Clockwise: Kingfish ceviche, creamy coconut rice with dulce de leche, and black bean patacones at Tropic Vice (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Sparkly, glamorous and overall a blissful time, Tropic Vice was the rooftop bar Nobby Beach had been longing for, coming to life in 2021. The ultimate weekend catch-up spot, a cheeky cocktail midway through week or an epic bottomless brunch every Sunday. Do yourself a favor and meet here sipping a cocktail while drinking in the gorgeous view inside.
Where: 2215 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach
the island rooftop
Find the Gold Coast’s biggest and most beloved open-air rooftop bar atop The Island in Surfers Paradise. The Island Rooftop is part nightclub, part bar, part live music venue, and all parts are a fun time no matter what day of the week. Head there for the epic Grazy Days weekend lunch or just to feel like you’re on the island.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise
Nineteen by the pool at The Star (image supplied)
nineteen in the star
The most stylish of the bunch is undoubtedly Nineteen at The Star, complete with velvet booth-style seating, an infinity pool, and ocean views for days. Perched atop The Star Gold Coast’s The Darling, Nineteen is the perfect place to people watch, dress up and sip fancy drinks while dancing the night away. Oh, and make sure you get your picture taken on the track that extends into the pool!
Where: The Darling, Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach
Palm Beach Mexi restaurant doubles as a rooftop bar with views of the ocean and plenty of salty ocean breezes. The meals are fresh and tasty, and there are plenty of margaritas on the list to soothe the sweltering summer humidity we are currently experiencing. Enter Frida Sol.
Where: 1176 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach
Mr PP’s Deli & Rooftop Bar (Image: © 2017 Inside Gold Coast)
Mr PP’s Deli and Rooftop Bar
A game changer in Southport’s food and drink scene was Mr PP’s, a rooftop deli and bar with 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 is why we love rooftop bars. As well as local cocktails and drinks, of which there are plenty at Mr PP’s. Live music on Sundays too.
Where: 43 Nerang St, Southport
Everyone’s favorite multi-dining establishment, The Collective, also features a sweet rooftop bar with some epic cocktails for your pleasure. You can also order meals from one of the five menus on offer and watch the sun set over the ocean while you do so. We highly recommend it.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach
Justin Lane (image supplied)
A much-loved favorite and the Gold Coast’s first official rooftop bar, Justin Lane remains one of its most popular since 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 ever need, so fill up on that and then head upstairs to mingle with the gang.
Where: 1708-1710 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
last night on earth
Pretty sure if it was, in fact, your last night on Earth, you’d want to spend it at a sweet rooftop bar with bulk cocktails at the ready. Which is perhaps not the point of Southport’s Last Night on Earth, but it’s a good introduction nonetheless. Last Night on Earth is the work of local legend Arran Wollams and his crew; is a slightly underworld themed rooftop bar in the heart of Southport that offers good times galore. It’s a dive bar, but not as you know it. Check it out.
Where: 50b Nerang St, Southport
Moxy rooftop bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Moxy’s Rooftop Bar
This rooftop bar located in the south of Coolangatta has beautiful views of the ocean, lots of live music and an impressive cocktail menu that will keep you coming back for more. While they may not eat, you can order from the Mexican restaurant downstairs, and we’re pretty sure nothing pairs better than bulk cocktails and tacos. Always lively and worth the trip up the coast.
Where: 2/152 Griffith St, Coolangatta
Aviary Rooftop Bar
Perched atop Mantra on Sharks, the views at Aviary Rooftop Bar are just as impressive as its extensive drinks list. With 180 degree views over the Surfers Paradise skyline and ocean, it’s the perfect spot for an after work drink or a Sunday arvo session with the crew. Oh, and don’t even get us started on their authentic Italian pizzas and tapas…if you know, you know.
Where: Mantra at Sharks, Melia Ct, Southport (next to Southport Sharks)
Words by Alex Mitcheson.