Piggy in the middle to the Nobby Beach hipsters and the fancy foodies of Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach has its own monopoly on the market—and one worth raising your glass to.
Fine dining, hidden bars, brunchin' hangouts and top-notch coffee are just the beginning when it comes to our hand-picked round up of things to do in Mermaid Beach.
So, what are the best things to do in Mermaid Beach and where can ya find ‘em?
Hidden behind a whitewash timber door, if you didn’t already know about Etsu, you’d question whether you’d stumbled upon a city-side barn. But, look a little closer and you’ll find modern Japanese izakaya-style dining brought to life with authentic Asian creations. Designed to share, devour sushi, sashimi, tempura dishes and more at this intriguing Mermaid meeting place and hands down one of the best restaurants on the Gold Coast.
Grab a burrito from the diner or manscape with a beard trim at the barber, it’s all happening at Alfred’s Apartment. Outdoor picnic tables scatter across an astro turf landscape, so forget about mud, and look like a stud in newfound threads from Alfred’s surfer clad menswear store.
With some of the best cafes and coffee in the business, Background (Barista) is the latest project from the team behind Palm Beach's Barefoot (Barista) and Burleigh's Borough (Barista). Come for consistent coffee made with passion and generously portioned breakfasts like the famed Char Corn with char grilled corn salsa, Meredith goat's cheese, avo and poached eggs. Simply sensational.
Bonita Bonita + BonBon Bar
The best Mexican joint on the Gold Coast (big call, we know) has gotta be Bonita Bonita. Authentic Mexican and creative décor, you’ll feel like you’re having dinner with Frida Kahlo herself in this dimly-lit hideaway. While you’re there, wet your whistle at neighbouring BonBon Bar; stocking over 100 tequila and mescal options, BonBon will have you ariba-ing well into the evening.
Hanging out at this ski lodge-inspired drinking hole is a must do in Mermaid Beach. While you’re chilling with the locals at Après Surf, sink a VB or peruse the impressive cocktail list; which should definitely include knocking back a thirst-quenching Burke’s Backyard. Take note of nightly specials like $10 crispy pork belly ramen (Wednesdays), $1 dumplings (Thursdays) or, our personal favourite, $5 cheeseburgers (Mondays). Yaaas!
Mandala & Co.
Creative arts, acoustic beats and vegan eats at Mandala & Co. give this little hub two thumbs up. Catch regular gigs, movie nights, workshops and more at Mermaid Beach’s planet-loving restaurant and bar.
Easy Street Diner
Americana, eat your heart out. Easy Street Diner is the cheese dripping, fries loving Mermaid Beach burger joint that every one can’t seem to get enough of. Frisbee handfuls of bacon on everything, add mustard by the lashings, and be in awe of that beautiful George Castanza wall hanging during chow down o’clock.
Open aaaall day long (seriously, 8am ‘til 8pm) Póke Póke is the newest addition to Mermaid Beach’s cultural scene. Island life vibes are captured perfectly with Poke’s Hawaiian-inspired menu, flamingo lined walls and refreshing smoothie bowls for days.
The North Room
Fanciful dishes from an ever-evolving menu, served in an intimate 28-seater dining room, are what you can expect from Mermaid Beach’s newest addition, The North Room. Be spoilt with a refined European-style dining experience combining faultless, personalised service, buttery smooth ambiance and a menu that champions the finest of seasonal, locally-sourced produce.
Glenelg Public House
Open 5pm ‘til late seven days and for lunch from noon Friday through Sunday, Glenelg Public House’s seasonal menu is a serious treat. Specialising in beef, you’ll find some of the best cuts on offer here and a bar stocked by provincial products as well as international swill. Hearty options and moody interiors, Glenelg is one for the serious foodie.
A relic on the Mermaid Beach strip, Little Truffle still knows where seriously good food and fancy vibes are at. Three-course menu options offer pan-fried quail, Moreton Bay bug and a vanilla bean panna cotta, while their indulgent truffle degustation menu is full of gnocchi, venison and delish vegetarian options, too.
Ever had gelato? No, we mean reeeeal gelato. The types created by frozen treat experts utilising an authentic Italian Pozzetti refrigeration setup. The young sisters behind Heven-yah Gelato learned their skillz from a local in Portugal and combined these with their dad’s formal qualification from Italy’s Gelato University (um, best educational choice ever). Pop in for a weekly mix-up of experimental flavours like house-cultured Crème Fraiche and spiced plum jam, or rhubarb, orange blossom and pistachio. Mmmm.
Muso Ramen Noodle & Gyoza Bar
Get your Japanese soul food fix at Muso Ramen Noodle & Gyoza Bar. Arguably offering the best ramen on the Gold Coast, one of our recommended things to do in Mermaid Beach is to head here and dip your face in noodley dishes, raved about by every single person who has ever stepped foot in the place.
Bam Bam Bakehouse
One of the most beautiful cafes on the Gold Coast, Bam Bam Bakehouse will have you leaving serious heart-eye emojis all over their Insta account. From the crafty team who brought us Paddock Bakery, you'll crush over the gorgeous styling with layers of textures and subway tiling, pressed metal, up cycled wood furnishings, fragrant blooms, leafy park views and dreamy glimpses into the bakehouse.
KoKo Coffee Roasters
Sandwiched between 19 KAREN and The Borrowed Nursery, KoKo Coffee Roasters has got Mermaid Beach’s industrial area sorted for brews. Sustainably-sourced coffee beans are just the beginning; come on in, meet the lovely Alex, and see what all the fuss is about.
Skull & Bones Espresso Boutique
Tucked along the busy Gold Coast Highway, you’d be forgiven for driving straight past Skull & Bones. Worth tracking down a car park or beating the pavement, the coffee here is consistently good, but make it exceptional with a gooey cronut sundae sugar fix or one of their famous gourmet bagels.
Steele & Co.
Just hidden from the hustle bustle of the GC Highway, Steele & Co. (previously Vintage Espresso) is a long time resident of Mermaid, offering $2 weekday coffee, homemade cakes and all your brekkie classics.
Little Mermaid’s seasonal menus are the talk of the town. From creamy chicken mushroom risotto and pulled chicken croquettes with spicy aioli, to Diamond Daiquiris and Moulin Rouge cocktails, you’ll even score free coffee for a whole week if your street is featured as part of their ‘Street Of The Week’ shout out.
Our all-time favourite thing to do in Mermaid Beach is head to this vegan doughnut heaven. Pick up a cup of cawfee and take on the world with a brekkie fix from All-Time Coffee, like, ta-day.
Get amongst Doughnut Time’s array of deliciously decorated desserts. With Nutella your fuel and Kit Kats your accelerator, Doughnut Time is sure to get any sweet tooth’s engine running.
Le Cafe Gourmand
Bringing French cuisine to our Mermaid Beach shores, Le Cafe Gourmand serve a range of Australian and French baked and cooked goods for decadent breakfasts (think chocolate croissants) and freshly prepared a la carte lunches; all enjoyed on their sunny front patio, naturally.
Swing Dance Classes At Club Mermaid
Are you sick of grinding on strangers at nightclubs in Surfers? Why not learn the killer moves of Lindy Hop at a Swing On In dance class at Club Mermaid instead? You know those killer twirls, high kicks and hand-waving groovers you gush over in the old films? Yeah, that can be you. And a bonus? While you’re there, pick up two meals and score a free bottle of wine.
Find Your Zen At Essense of Living
Breathe, bend and blossom at Mermaid Beach’s most loved yoga studio, Essence of Living. With yoga and Pilates classes on offer all day long, you’re sure to squeeze in a few back bends before bedtime. And if you just can’t get enough of a good old-fashioned downward dog, this crew also offer yoga training for yoginis.
Kick It Old School With Mermaid Beach Putt Putt
Where fluro balls meet jungle decorations, who’s up for some friendly competition? Grab your mates (not the ones who yell during a game of Monopoly) and show off your mini golfing skills at Mermaid Beach Putt Putt. It’s one of those classic things to do in Mermaid Beach which will never get old.
Get Cultured At 19 KAREN
The eclectic musings of 19 KAREN Contemporary Art Gallery are a serious showstopper. Boasting around 100 artists and revolving exhibits, this arsty hub showcases styles ranging from urban street art to Abstract and Surrealism.
Rummage For Treasures At Never.Ever.Studio
This brand spankin’ new creative warehouse sporadically hosts a pop-up market celebrating our local designers. Held at Never.Ever.Studio, and supported by The Laneway Official, expect vintage threads, wholesale fashion and brews by Cactus Coffee—keep an eye on their Facebook page for the next event.
The Borrowed Nursery
If luscious greenery is what you’re after, The Borrowed Nursery is your one-stop shop and one of our favourite things to do in Mermaid Beach. A place to purchase botanicals for the home or business; succulents, cacti, palms—you name it, they’ve got it. The Borrowed Nursery also offer styling services, so get your next photo shoot, special event or wedding decorated with greenery by the pros.
Hands down, one of the best things to do in Mermaid Beach is to check out Lovechild Place. This eco-friendly paradise stocks vegan fashion items, statement jewellery pieces and even hosts a new monthly market jam-packed full of vegan eats supplied by some of your most loved Gold Coast vendors—held on the third Saturday of every month.
A swell lover’s dream, browse vintage surfboards or pick up a sled to tackle your next wave, when you pop into Mermaid Beach’s favourite neighbourhood surf shop, Board Culture. Guzzle a $3 cuppa, grab a homemade slice and chat with BC’s chief, Trav, about the most important things in life… Like where you should go for chicken wings and the uprise of cougars.
Urban Edge Design
Deck out your pad with coast-inspired goods from Urban Edge Boutique. Backed by a team of passionate creators and stylists, Urban Edge sets out to capture the design of your personality with each hand-picked home ware piece. Vase turned wine glass, any one?
Pawsh Pet Spa
They’ve been by your side through thick and thin. Every heartbreak and each lost-in-the-sand car key tantrum, so why not spoil your pooch with the royal treatment at Gold Coast’s only natural and organic pet spa? Pawsh Pet Spa will have your furry friend’s teeth gleaming, coat shining and will even add a few highlights with a creative colour if Rex is after a new look. Yes, seriously.
You’ll find the only AS Clothing store in Queensland in, you guessed it, Mermaid Beach. Minimalistic fashion pieces for men, women and kids, come for the clothes and stay for the banter with one of the friendliest retail teams on the Gold Coast.
Image credit: Hayley Williamson for The Urban List