With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year—a scorching summer, delightful autumn, mild winter and stunning spring—it’s no wonder we love to wine and dine in the great outdoors.
Alfresco is our signature style, so we’ve rounded up the best spots on the Gold Coast to eat, drink, breathe in the fresh air and bask in the sunshine. Weekend, come at us!
8th Ave. Terrace
There is definitely a dining boom in Palmy and we are pretty happy about it, especially when there is an open air terrace, a salty sea breeze, unique and interesting beverages and a constantly evolving menu involved. Not quite fine dining, and not quite casual, 8th Ave. Terrace is without question one of the best restaurants on the Gold Coast and should be next on your list for sunset drinks.
The Island Rooftop
Plonked in the middle of Surfers Paradise atop a new boutique hotel, The Island Rooftop is a drop of nectar amidst the glitter strip. It’s a setting that resembles Hawaiian luxe and New York sophistication with a killer cocktail list (some even served in real coconuts). This might just be your new island haven that you’ll never want to leave. You actually don’t have to, book a room at The Island and make it a staycation!
McLarens Beach Bar
If you like pina coladas and fancy some idyllic island life without the expensive airfare, then we suggest you check out Australia’s first island beach bar, right here on South Straddie. Only a short cruise from Main Beach and with departures every Sunday, you will arrive to thatched roof huts, fairy lights, fruity cocktails and lots of live music. Blue Lagoon eat your heart out. Next Sunday session = sorted.
Relaxed yet refined and with one of the world’s best point breaks in your line of sight, Rick Shores definitely has everything right. A patio where you can pretty much put your feet in the sand, a Southeast Asian-inspired menu made for sharing and a signature cocktail list like no other. It’s time to visit Rick for your next sunshine drinks!
Burleigh Brewing Company
For something a little more casual but equally cool, a brewery is a perfect place to perch in the sunshine and neck local beer with balance, character and soul. With a different food truck and live music each weekend, it’s evident that Burleigh Brewing Company has a huge commitment to supporting the local community. We suggest you hop to it (pun intended) and get amongst it.
Cocoon Lounge Bar & Dining
If you want to drink where the beautiful people drink, Cocoon Lounge Bar & Dining is scenic in more ways than one. Overlooking the Nerang River, this Surfers Paradise gem features a contemporary white fit-out and is littered with angelic cabanas draped in flowing white chiffon. Waterside venues are always especially stunning during the day, but Cocoon’s location, mirrored by upscale properties and reflected sunlight really is a day drinker’s paradise. Lock down a cabana with a drink in hand while listening to some funky beats and you’ll never want to leave.
Hideaway Kitchen & Bar
Hideaway Kitchen & Bar is a modern take on Asian street food, with the cutest outdoor area we ever did see—filled with fairy lights and mix-matched umbrellas perched precariously above. This joint will have you swooning at the menu and swinging at the bar. No literally, there are actual swings at the bar. Sunday sesh, we think yes!
Justin Lane Rooftop
Neon sign; authentic style pizza and pasta; cold and local tap beers, wines, ciders and cocktails, all atop a sunny Burleigh Heads balcony. Although it might give you shivers now, they even have a misting device to cool you down on those scorching summer days. Crowd and heights not your thing? Justin Lane can deliver by bicycle to Burleigh Hill. Thought. Of. Everything.
Perched atop the renowned D-bah hill, this cafe is kind of what you would want your house to look like. A little beachy, a lot cool with epic art on the walls, and a deck and outside garden area that lets you graze under the blazing sun. The ocean views and salty sea breezes at Cafe DBar are just the icing on the cake for a perfect spot to go on your next lunch date.
Garden Kitchen & Bar
Where indoor morphs so easily into outdoor, you know you have arrived at Garden Kitchen & Bar, the key attraction of The Star Gold Coast. A lush cascading living green wall leads you to a tropical garden and dazzling deck that overlooks emerald green grass. It’s your perfect spot for some Frosè and fun in the sun and you'll be guaranteed an A grade good time.
The Collective Rooftop
All hail The Collective and the genius idea to combine five different restaurants under one (retractable) roof. Open for lunch and dinner seven days and breakfast on weekends, there is plenty of time to get cosy on their sunny rooftop and sip on colourful cocktails; because it’s always a good idea to extend that boozy brunch well into the afternoon.
How could we not make special mention of Burleigh Hill? The best BYO spot in the biz, where you can watch surfers make the most of the fading light, see the sunset over the pine trees, pat all of the cutest puppies and picnic with your favourite peeps. It’s a Sunday arvo well spent and sure to bring a week of content.
Made your way around the best outdoor bars on the Gold Coast and looking for the best restaurants next? We’ve got you covered.