Bottoms up: the best rooftop bars on the Gold Coast

It’s a well-known fact that cocktails are always better when there’s a view involved. The kind which encourages you to sip, savour and breathe in your surrounds, raising a glass to the blazing sunset or maybe losing yourself in conversations under a pure-blue sky.

The Gold Coast’s rooftop bar scene has flourished in recent years, with several new and established venues making a fresh play for our attention – and the tantalising mix of cocktails found within really does enhance the views unfurling before them.

With that in mind, here are a handful of the best Gold Coast rooftop bars.

The Island Rooftop – Surfers Paradise

Located on level one of The Island hotel in Surfers Paradise, just across from the Novotel The Rooftop is a must-visit for people watchers (our favourite pastime). The open-air space is bright and breezy, with a variety of seating options and ample shade.

Our preferred vantage is the high tables along the edge, where you can eat and drink while observing Gold Coast life bustling below. (Who doesn’t love people watching?) They offer an extensive food and drinks menu and regularly host live music and DJ sets.

The Island Gold Coast Rooftop. Credit: The Island
The Island Gold Coast Rooftop. Credit: The Island

The Collective – Palm Beach

A two-for-one venue (or should that be five-for-one?) with a unique dining concept featuring five independent kitchens all sharing the one space, The Collective is one of the hottest venues in town. It has a stellar rooftop bar to boot too.

The downstairs area is relaxed and spacious, but we prefer the cosier rooftop space where we can pull up a stool and raise a glass (or three) to the glittering sea beyond. Just order a dish from any of the five kitchens and they’ll be delivered to your table.

The rooftop at The Collective. Credit: The Collective / Facebook
The rooftop at The Collective. Credit: The Collective / Facebook

Salty Fox – Coolangatta

Perched atop Rydges Gold Coast Airport at the southern end of the Gold Coast, Salty Fox rooftop bar is a must for locals and travellers alike, offering an expansive view along the coast in one direction and over the runway to the hinterland in the other.

It’s a must-visit for for sundowners or a relaxed, pre-flight bevvy or two, with a grazing-style menu matched by great cocktails and multiple beers on tap. Try the signature Foxy Devil made with bourbon, watermelon and lemon, lime and bitters.

Salty Fox at Rydges Gold Coast. Credit: EVENT Hospitaltiy
Salty Fox at Rydges Gold Coast. Credit: EVENT Hospitality

Nineteen at The Star – Broadbeach

Like moths to a flame, celebs and spotters inevitably find their way to Nineteen at The Star. You can’t blame them. Sitting proudly atop ultra-luxe hotel The Darling, the opulent rooftop hangout makes you feel like a VIP the instant you step through the door.

The views over Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise are particularly striking, but it’s the gorgeous pool and wine cellar that’ll make you truly weak at the knees. Want to pair your tipple with a bite to eat? The menu here (while not cheap) is absolutely sensational.

The bar at Nineteen at The Star. Credit: The Star
The bar at Nineteen at The Star. Credit: The Star

The Exhibitionist Bar – Surfers Paradise

The Gold Coast is well-known for its endless beaches, bustling shopping malls and heart-racing theme parks, yet it has an artistic and cultural side worth uncovering too. Home of the Arts, better known as Hota, is one of the best places to do so.

Once you’ve perused the artworks on display, completed your workshop or maybe found yourself at a loose end before or after your theatre performance, make your way to The Exhibitionist Bar, where an epic view towards the coast is waiting to greet you.

Afternoon vibes at The Exhibitionist Bar. Credit: The Exhibitionist Bar

Have we missed your favourite? Let us know and we’ll be sure to add.

Written by
Chris Ashton

We're Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

View all articles
Written by Chris Ashton