9 Gold Coast rooftop bars you need to be at
Dusk, dawn, AM, PM – it really is hard to beat the Gold Coast any time of day. And with the city transforming from a tourist mecca into a major player in the hospitality space over the past few years, there are now some seriously stylish open-air options for a drink or two when the sun goes down, aside from the nightclubs.
Taking advantage of the locals’ love of the outdoors, a good time and the glorious sub-tropical weather, savvy Gold Coast restaurateurs have jumped on the global rooftop bar trend and taken drinking on the GC to new heights.
Here’s our pick of rooftop bars you need to be at for a tipple:
There’s no denying Palm Beach is having a moment.
Once the poor cousin to Burleigh in the north and the idyllic seaside enclave of Currumbin to the south, ‘Palmy’ is now the suburb du jour with a plethora of bars, restaurants and cafes opening up in the southern suburb what seems like every week.
Located on the old Palm Beach post office site, The Collective – which features five separate restaurants and two bars – is one such venue and is so popular, there’s often a queue for a table.
Their buzzing industrial-inspired rooftop bar is certainly a must-do and is a scenic space to enjoy a drink – rosé sangria, anyone? – at sundown.
The beauty of the Collective is you can order from any five of the restaurants – Italian, Mexican, Asian, American or modern Australian – and the staff will bring it all to your table – along with bevvies from the bar. We’ll drink to that!
Order: Balter XPA or an Avocado Margarita with avo puree, tequila, spiced rose water syrup and Licor 43 served with a paprika salt rim.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach.
It’s not hard to see why Hellenika is one of the most loved restaurants on the GC.
Raising the bar (pardon the pun) with a swish $2.4million refurb back in 2017, the all-white rooftop space delivers a touch of Europe to beachside Nobby Beach, along with a 10m-long wine cellar and sumptuous Greek mezze menu featuring family recipes passed down through the generations.
Better yet, Bar Hellenika is open for lunch and late night dining until midnight. Yamas!
Order: Greek rosé.
Where: 2235 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach.
Justin’s Rooftop at Justin Lane
This popular pizzeria and bar was one of the first venues on the Gold Coast to open a rooftop bar – and its popularity certainly hasn’t wavered since.
Located a stone’s throw from the pumping point wave at Burleigh headland, Justin’s Rooftop is an ideal spot to enjoy a cocktail, good food and tunes on a balmy night.
It does get exceptionally busy on weekends with the hot young hipsters coming out in droves, so make sure you get there early enough to grab a table and settle in for the night – and work your way through the cocktail menu.
Order: Passionfruit & Chilli Tommy’s with chilli-infused blanco tequila, passionfruit, agave and lime.
Where: 1708 – 1710 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads.
The Island Rooftop
The hotel is also home to the Island Rooftop, the Coast’s biggest rooftop bar and alfresco open-air patio.
Oozing vintage Californian style with comfy couches, communal tables, lush plants and festoon lights, this hidden gem boasts views over Main Beach and is one inviting space for a tipple or two.
The Island Rooftop is known for its killer Sunday sessions with DJs and live music and those laidback, coastal vibes the Gold Coast is famous for.
Order: Signor Andy’s Negroni.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise.
Gotham Grill and Rooftop Bar
You won’t find Batman at Gotham Grill and Rooftop Bar, but what you will stumble upon is just as impressive.
The Manhattan-inspired decor is reason alone to check out this two-storey gem in the Northern Gold Coast’s Runaway Bay, oozing sophistication with rich art deco styling, leather doors, red velvet carpet and a spiral staircase taking you to the top floor.
With two separate restaurants and a rooftop bar, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining: opulent New York-styled meaty goods at Gotham Grill, or casual dining with share plates and hearty burgers at Gotham Rooftop.
Order: Strawberry & lemon balm gin spritz.
Where: 6 Bayview Street, Runaway Bay.
Nineteen at The Star
Dress to the nines for this one, ladies and gents; sunday sesh meets high-end dining at Nineteen at The Star, one of the Gold Coast’s most luxe rooftop destinations.
Sitting oh so swish on the top floor of boutique luxury hotel, The Darling, you’ll have a front-row seat to Pacific Ocean views from your poolside cabana (which you will never have to tear your eyes from thanks to VIP bottle service).
Too much? Stick around the lounge bar, nabbing a spot on of their sexy (yes, there is no other way to describe this level of upholstery) velvet couches, and sample your way through their two-storey wine cellar or signature cocktails.
Order: Kalimna Rose or L’Orange Sour.
Where: 1, Level 19, The Darling at The Star Gold Coast, Casino Dr, Broadbeach.
Named in honour of the legend herself, Frida Kahlo, this shiny new Mexican Bar & Taqueria in Palm Beach is a total sensory experience in looks and edible offerings: think Tiki chic meets Modern Mex.
Try their cauliflower tacos with pickled onion and cilantro crema, with a side of chorizo croquettes with smoked sour cream and habanero jam. Of course it would be remiss of you not to wash it all down with one of their seven signature margaritas.
Order: Bonita Margarita with tequila, agave, candied jalapeños, fresh cucumber juice and a chipotle salt rim.
Where: Level 1, 1176 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach.
Mr. P.P.’s Deli & Rooftop
Enjoy your bevvie with a side of local history at Mr P.P.’s Deli and Rooftop, a multilevel bar and restaurant in the middle of Southport’s CBD.
Located on the same site which housed the Postmaster general and family over 100 year ago, the northern locale was named after the first ever Post and Telegraph Manager, a Mr P.P. Agnew, who as well as being a Postmaster was also an actor, playwright, poet, photographer and illustrator in the local community.
Keep an eye out for drawings, songs and poems written by P.P.A throughout the venue as you chow down on parmesan truffle fries, deli platters and classic pizzas.
Order: Postman’s Passion cocktail with Brookies Sloe Gin, Campari, housemade tangelo syrup and passionfruit.
Where: 43 Nerang Street, Southport.
Wildernis Cafe and Bar
Palm Beach strikes again, this time at the beautiful and breezy Wildernis Cafe and Bar.
The precinct’s popular eatery on the ground level is a go-to haunt for brekky and lunches, but if you want to ease your way into the weekend in style, make your way ‘round to the secret laneway and enter into rooftop heaven.
Picture this: bifold doors opening up to beach views, a retractable roof and vaulted skylights taking full advantage of the GC’s balmy weather. Couple that with delicious cured meat and cheese boards, European wines, craft beers, and not one, not two, but five unique takes on the ol’ Espresso Martini, and you’ve got a winner in our books.
Order: Salty Sea Dog espresso martini with salted caramel infused vodka, fresh pressed house espresso, coffee liqueur and caramel syrup.
Where: 1166 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach