Surf’s up, drink up: the best bars in Surfers Paradise

Here at STA Travel, we understand that when it comes to drinking (responsibly, of course) there are usually four different types of ‘sessions’ you could be feeling on any number of days. You’ve got the day drinking session, which is something you tend to go for when it’s nice and sunny outside or you’ve got enough time to get over the hangover before work the following day (hello Sunday sessions!). Then you’ve got the pre-drinking session, whether that’s something you do at Uni in order to make your night out cheaper, or you’re just wanting to go to a few places and get in the mood before you head to the main place. Then you’ve got the classy and sophisticated session, where you’re thinking of just going to dinner and a few drinks, maybe some cocktails a la Sex and the City. Last but not least you’ve got the ‘out out’ session where you’re planning on going hard (and not going home).
We’re delving into the nightlife (or day drinking life) of Surfers Paradise, and have grouped our top venues in terms of these four sessions.

Day drinking

Who doesn’t love to go out on a sunny day and sit in a beer garden with friends, catching up, laughing and just generally having a great time? Australia does day drinking very well, it’s probably to do with their laid-back attitude, great weather, and beach front locations. Surfers Paradise ticks all three of these boxes, and here’s some of our top picks for a good day drinking session:

If you can’t tell from the name, this place is all about the beers (they have over 30 to choose from) add a rooftop cocktail bar, some live music, a big BBQ and a casual dress code and you’ve got yourself a pretty epic day drinking venue.

Another place that is all about the beers, Surfers Sandbar is a classic Aussie beach bar, very chilled out with a good view of the ocean, and to top it off it also has a brekky buffet every day of the week … so really you could start in the morning if you wanted to. PAAAAAAACE YOURSELF.

The name says it all really, every word attracts us. Surfers, yes. Paradise, of course. Beer, yes please. Garden, cute. This place is known affectionately by the locals as “the beery” and is a loungey place where you can enjoy a bit of sunshine day drinking into the night – or even predrinking – it’s got a casual dress code, live bands, large balconies to hang out on, jugs of beer, pub grub and good vibes … what more do you need?


Sometimes you need a good pre-drinking bar to get you and your mates in the mood before a night out, or if you don’t tend to actually head to the main bar ‘til 12 then you need somewhere to hang out beforehand. Enter these venues:

A good place for all occasions, with meals, desserts and drinks (not to mention DESSERT COCKTAILS!) and of course it’s centrally located, if they didn’t make that obvious enough. Perfect position for a pre-place.

This place has a tapas menu created by none other than celebrity chef Guy Grossi, with live musicians performing old school songs to sing your heart out to, DJ’s playing mainstream tunes, an outdoor balcony overlooking the river, and daybeds to relax on if you fancy starting your night even earlier. It’s actually a good place to start or end your night, but we’re gonna go for start.

They describe themselves as “a destination to dine, drink and party ‘til your feet fall off” and that’s exactly what you can do here. You’ve got a pizza oven cooking ‘til 2am, so you don’t even have to wander out to find the local takeaway. There are live music and comedy acts every day of the week, including DJ’s and MC’s. A great place to start your night, or even spend your entire night if you wanted to. We were sold at the mention of pizza ‘til 2am…

Classy and sophisticated/dinner and chill

Sometimes you just want to feel a bit flashy, get dressed up, and have some quieter drinks to catch up with your friends (and maybe some dinner thrown in too). Well Surfers Paradise isn’t just about crazy and tacky night clubs, they do sophistication too:

This is part of QT hotels and resorts, so you know it’s a good one. A classy little lounge bar, where the dress code is ‘dress to impress’. They have a resident DJ, a unique cocktail list, quirky furniture and industrial design. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it? Well throw in the fact they do Taco Tuesdays too …. sold!

Having cocktails in the world’s tallest residential tower, with 360 degree views of the Gold Coast, it doesn’t get much classier than that. They play some seriously smooth beats and are damn good at fixing up a great cocktail too.

If you like something that is a bit different to your classic cocktail bar then it’s worth checking out this cool and quirky place. It’s hidden away in the upstairs of the centre arcade on the boulevard, so you have to know about it to find it (you’re welcome). It’s a boutique kinda bar, with live jazz, antique furniture, a laid-back atmosphere, a whole lotta rum bourbon and whisky, PLUS coffee cocktails! Definitely a one for the cool kids.

Out Out

This is for the hard core partiers among you, the ones who are always going “out out”:

If you’re all about the alternative EDM, then go ‘elsewhere’ – see what we did there? This is an interesting and eclectic hipster hang out, that looks so cool it’s been used as a backdrop for fashion labels, commercial TV and even National Geographic! They care a lot about what they stand for and collaborate with cultural events and music festivals so they’re always bringing their A game. Check out their website for their cool and quirky events.

Exactly what it says on the tin – this place is full of sin! Couches that look suspiciously like beds, topless waiters, waitresses in underwear, and cages and podiums to shake what your momma gave you. It’s got some world-class multi-million dollar décor, and is a haunt for A-List celebs like Chris Brown and Lil Jon. With an exclusive Cîroc bar, and ladies nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it would be rude not to check out this “playground for gold coast socialites”.

Completely the opposite of trampy, this place is definitely an upmarket lounge bar. Although you’d be expecting this in the ‘classy and sophisticated’ section of this post, the place is pretty slow until 11pm when people fill in and start the party. It’s got a trendy, rustic style (leather lounges, coffee tables, fireplace, deer heads, antique lamps), and it’s all about the electro tunes. A contrast that definitely works for them.

Feel like partying at Surfers after reading this? Check out our flights to get yourself over there now. There’s no party like a Gold Coast party!