The round up: discover the best hidden bars on the Gold Coast
When it comes to savouring a top-shelf tipple behind closed doors, the Gold Coast has its fair share of low-key locales. Whether tucked behind unassuming entrances, shrouded in curtains or camouflaged by inconspicuous alleyways, read on for our round-up of the coast’s best hidden bars.
NAÂMi, Burleigh Heads: Newcomer NAÂMi has set tongues wagging across the coast thanks to its eye-catching concoctions, hidden location and mysterious social media presence. Inspired by the bustling backstreets of Vietnam and disguised as an unassuming takeaway restaurant of the same ilk, you’ll need a password to enter the immersive experience of the new speakeasy. Take a seat at the bar (if you’re lucky) and watch as the masterful bartenders put on a show to create cocktails that are not only clever, but delicious.
Aloha Bar & Dining, Broadbeach: Hawaii feels further away than ever (thanks, COVID) but there’s still a way to get your tropical fix without whipping out your passport – and it’s closer than you think. The hidden tiki bar is tucked down a nondescript Broadbeach laneway and feels like stepping into the retro tropical party of your dreams. We’re talking cocktails in pineapples, delicious bites and good old-fashioned weekly events like musical bingo.
Lockwood, Burleigh Heads: Tucked out of sight along Justin’s Lane, Lockwood is a speakeasy that celebrates top-shelf tipples, especially whiskies. There are around 140 different bottles of spirits that have been hand-selected and placed behind the Lockwood’s impressive cement-topped, timber-clad bar, meaning that there’s always something new to discover. The tight cocktail list features quality concoctions but feel free to go ahead – pull up a stool at the bar, tell the bartender what you like (or what you don’t like) and they’ll muddle, stir or shake up a tipple to your tastes.
La Bella Cellar, Burleigh Heads: For a selection of quality wine and cheese (and Italian bites!), La Bella Cellar is where it’s at. With only some eye-catching printed terracotta tiles, two tiny initials hovering overhead and one lonely cactus by a doorway, it’s entirely possible you could wander past the Burleigh bolthole none the wiser. Venture inside and you’ll discover a small but mighty wine cellar from which you can select your drop, before indulging in a selection of cheeses, small plates, and a scattering of perfectly crisp pizzas loaded with top-notch Italian toppings to munch on.
The Hidden Cherub, Miami: Wander past the peach-hued and vine-covered Heartfill store in Miami and you’ll find The Hidden Cherub. As the name would suggest, the bar is tucked away but worth finding – with a killer happy hour including margaritas and beers on tap, it is the perfect afternoon session spot. The warehouse-inspired space is adorned with pops of neon and greenery and has a casual vibe. The bar is equipped with local craft beer on tap and in the fridge as well as a tight list of wines and a fun collection of cocktails. Plot twist – the food menu is entirely plant based!
Veladora, Broadbeach: Longtime locals that recall the iconic Broadbeach monorail will be best placed to discover the entrance of this hidden gem, after crossing the bridge where the monorail once lived and keeping your peepers peeled for a red palm tree. Tequila lovers rejoice, as this speakeasy’s specialty is the Mexican spirit, and there’s an impressive selection of tequila-based cocktails for you to choose from alongside a scattering of Mexican beers and wines by the glass or bottle. If you’re feeling adventurous then peruse the bar snack menu, which includes squid-ink popcorn, black guacamole and spiced salsa or peanut and cricket (yes, cricket) trail mix with chilli and lime.
Nightjar, Burleigh Heads: The back alleys of Burleigh are a veritable hub of hidden bars, and Nightjar’s locale is no exception. Flanked by carparks and illuminated by a neon sign (some would say, a glimmering icon of a big night ahead), the Burleigh Heads bar is laidback, industrial and dimly-lit – perfect for those who prefer grunge over glamour. With $5 wine and beer from 4:00–6:00 pm and an array of spirits on offer, Nightjar is an unmissable stop for those keen to get the party started.
Iku Yakitori Bar, Burleigh Heads: Hidden behind a pair of curtains, Iku Yakitori Bar is a traditional Japanese-style eatery and bar, serving authentic Japanese yakitori. Pair the delectable grilled bites with a quality sip (a craft beer or a Japanese whisky – of which there are more than 85 on offer) and sit back to be transported to another place. Maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s not hard to imagine you’re snugly tucked away in a hidden gem of a bar in the backstreets of Tokyo.
Suga, Palm Beach: Clad in recycled timber and without a sign, it’s easy to miss Palm Beach speakeasy Suga – although we recommend seeking it out. The sustainable bar is intimate and welcoming, with a focus on rum – particularly Australian small-batch distillers. If you’re not that well-versed on the world of rum, the team will happily school you – and there are plenty of approachable rum-based cocktails to ease you into it. There’s also a fine selection of gins, whiskies and tequilas on offer, as well as 12 taps pouring local beer.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.