The bar culture on the Sunshine Coast has gained some fabulous momentum of late. You may not have heard of these establishments but they are worth sticking on the radar.
26 Degrees, Caloundra
Perched above street level at the Rumba Resort and with views over Bulcock Beach, you will find the 26 Degrees bar. Recline beside the large lagoon pool as you kick back and sip cocktails during $12 Happy Hour from 4pm to 6pm daily or find a seat to absorb views of the sand and waters of Pumicestone Passage. A great place to unwind before heading out for a meal.
Rice Boi, Mooloolaba
Known to many locals for its Japanese-inspired cuisine, a cheeky bar hideout can be found upstairs. Offering a broad range of cocktails and wines, kick back with the Mooloolah River as a perfect backdrop where the full menu can still be ordered. I’ll have the duck bao, a glass of riesling and a sunset please. Open from 12pm till late, Friday to Sunday, walk-ins only.
Kiki Bar & Eatery, Maroochydore
Talk about raising the bar – this place is out of the box. Perhaps the jewel in the crown of the Sunshine Coast bar scene? Open Wednesday to Sunday from 5.30pm, walk through the door and be greeted by a stunning jungle feel. A clever and well-considered menu of nibbles, small and large plates is complemented by a wine list dripping with contemporary producers plus tempting cocktails that cover all bases – even kombucha on tap! With a vast array of local beers and spirits, you get a sense this is a hub for those who just love to chill. Can you be tempted by a champagne colada? But did someone say Ruinart by the glass? Yes please!
Market Bistro, Maroochydore
As the Maroochydore CBD rises from the ground, Market Bistro has already sprouted and claimed a cult following. Sidle up and grab a seat to embrace the delicious bar menu and expertly crafted wine list curated by the very talented in-house sommelier Peter Marchant (ex Spicers). Peter also manages the adjoining bottle shop where an incredible array of wines can be uncovered – many of which you’d never find in a chain store. Stay a while and take your purchase into the bistro, paying a modest corkage fee of $20 for your trouble, or simply order direct off the detailed list. The tantalising bistro menu covers all bases with one of many highlights being the fresh pasta made daily. Go here! Your belly and your senses will thank you. Open seven days.
The Rooftop Bar & Garden, Maroochydore
There is nothing like a rooftop bar to make you feel on top of the world, and this extravagant venue ticks all the boxes. Perched seven storeys up, step out of the lift and walk into rancho relaxo as you soak up the vista to the ocean, out to the hinterland and across the Maroochydore skyline. With bar staff mixing up an endless array of cocktails and the DJ working the decks Fridays and Saturdays, live music closes out the weekend on Sundays. A one-of-a-kind retractable roof protects you from the elements as well as helping you absorb the starry nights. A full menu is available too should your taste buds need fulfilling. To drink, the local favourite oozes Queensland – the mango daiquiri or perhaps a Big Pineapple spritz may be more your style. Bookings are essential.
Hong Sa, Yandina
Head for the hills at Yandina for an Asian-inspired bar surrounded by lush rainforest. Set behind the renowned Spirit House, Hong Sa has a small but excellent cocktail list and a wonderful choice of wines by the glass. Open to all, many Spirit House diners kick off their night here too. Get in early and find a relaxing seat on the deck for a drink or even indulge in the delicious nibbles which can be ordered off the menu. You’ll be sure to walk away from this experience super impressed.
Village Bicycle, Noosa Heads
Opened by a couple of mates seeking to bring some late-night eats and good times to Noosa Heads, Village Bicycle has built quite a following. Its groovy vibe is complemented by bar food, a wide selection of craft beers plus a simple wine and cocktail list. Open Wednesday to Saturdays from 4pm till midnight, find me in the beer garden tucking into a Village burger and a tin of local Noosa beer.
Noosa Boathouse, Noosaville
If stunning sunsets are your thing, not many vantage points in Noosa can beat Noosa Boathouse. A floating restaurant and bar permanently moored on the Noosa River, this is an ideal place to put the pace of the world behind you as you gaze to the west as the sun gracefully falls from the sky. Time your run perfectly and your sunset vista will be dripping in purple and orange – the perfect excuse to indulge in the aptly named Noosa River Sling or even a Nanny Goat rosé to match the colour of the sky. Open seven days.
SAY CHEERS WITH A SUNSHINE COAST BEER!
10 Toes Culture Kick Sour Passionfruit, Mango & Blood Orange (4%): The Culture Kick flavour is updated every few months and this edition is a beauty. Stunningly refreshing, waves of juicy mango lap at your feet followed by ripples of passionfruit with a touch of bitterness from the blood orange. Rush at this!
Sunshine Brewery Kaffir Lime Gosé (4%): Wow! This is something. Damn it’s refreshing. A little salty, a little sour and a whole lot of delish. Kaffir lime and coriander seeds deliver a moreish tang. I could crush a couple with ease.
Steve Leszczynski is a wine writer, wine dinner host and MC. Apart from writing for his website QwineReviews.com, Steve contributes to Halliday Wine Companion Magazine, Vinomofo, Wine Business Magazine, Grapegrower & Winemaker Magazine and has previously written for Must Do Brisbane. Steve is a passionate supporter of the Queensland wine industry.