February 13, 2023
7 mins Read
Did you know: more than 85 per cent of Australians live on its coast?
All that salt air is bound to cause us to work up a thirst. And maybe (just maybe) that’s the reason why Australia has such a magnificent array of waterfront bars and pubs for us lucky types to pick from. But if your policy is less picking / more sipping, we’ve laid out our top picks of beachside bars for you to consider.
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is smack-bang on what has to be one of the world’s prettiest pieces of water real estate: Sydney Harbour. Nestled in the heart of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, it has a maritime-themed beach club with enviable rooftop views, best paired with bottomless rose brunches and favourite summer dresses. When the sun comes out, popularity tends to ramp up at this well-known Sydney bar, so chop-chop with any reservations.
Just a few minutes from the Sea Cliff Bridge — a route that is the longer, but more scenically impressive way to start your NSW South Coast trip — you can’t fail to notice The Imperial at Clifton. A clifftop pub on the Grand Pacific Drive with ‘accidentally Wes Anderson’ vibes, The Imperial dates back to the early 1900s when it served the area’s mining community. Today at the revamped historical pub, you can sip on a watermelon cocktail while looking over the Pacific Ocean, or even order a seafood feast picnic hamper to take away for a closer inspection of the beaches nearby.
The heritage Tathra Hotel is perched up on the headland over the waters of the Sapphire Coast. It dates all the way back to 1888, and is a veritable must-stop if you’re heading to the far south coast of the state, and looking to cool down. Pull up a chair on the prettily iron-lattice deck for those magnificent views, call for a bowl of fresh prawns and one of their own Humpback Brewery tap brews, and you’ve got all the makings of a perfect sunny Saturday.
Break up your annual Great Ocean Road pilgrimage with a bite to eat at the Wye Beach Hotel. Overlooking the surrounding town and Wye Beach itself, the pub is close to both the beach and the nearby campgrounds if you want to make a day and night of visiting the area. Indulge in some classic seaside fare with beer-battered fish and chips and a schooner of tap beer, or maybe get a little bit fancy with their seared tuna salade nicoise and freshly seared crab on sourdough.
Spending a long weekend escaping the city down on the Mornington Peninsula? Looking down on Port Phillip Bay, Hotel Sorrento has been entertaining weekending Melbournians since 1872, when it was founded. Today, its Dining Room serves up classic pub meals, as well as more diverse fare, like gooey burrata with juicy stone fruit or Cantonese cuisine at the Hong Kong sixties-style Shihuishi in what was once the hotel ballroom. If you’re all about those views, Salt, The Lawn and The Rooftop make up the property’s outdoor bars.
Soak up that iridescent Gold Coast lifestyle at the Burleigh Pavilion. Whether you’re opting for the casual coastal pavilion experience munching on woodfired pizzas with views of the striking Gold Coast skyline and impeccable surf at the Pavilion itself, or doing Grey Goose vodka and caviar bumps at The Tropic restaurant, ‘The Pav’ aims to impress its clientele. Simply settle down into the Burleigh’s pastel-coloured ambience for your beachside lunch, and let the DJ spin the perfect soundtrack to your sunny afternoon.
Forget what you’ve heard: it’s not all about the vineyards in Adelaide. With crystal-clear waters and empty shores, its beaches are some of the state’s finest drops. Hop on the tram from the Adelaide CBD, and you’ll soon find yourself in Glenelg — one of SA’s most popular beaches — and The Moseley Beach Club. A Greek island-style beach club on the white sands of Glenelg in summer, The Moseley’s deck chairs, beach umbrellas and live music and DJs will soon have you begging to order one of their frozen Santorini Sunset cocktails. Yamas to that!
No, there’s been no freak snow reported up in tropical Darwin (at least, not that we’ve heard). The Darwin Ski Club is actually named for the water skiing done here, so no peach schnapps just yet. But what you will find at this well-known Darwinian establishment is the Epikur restaurant bistro, serving up local Darwinian flavours, as well as live music at The Bali Bar overlooking the Darwin Harbour. This, plus the views over the Timor Sea, has made The Ski Club one of the most relaxing places in the capital to watch the sunset.
If you have always been a fan of a quiet beer, look no further: one popular way to get to this extremely remote bar is actually by helicopter. The Crab Claw Island Resort in the Northern Territory is about 15 minutes by air or about 90 minutes by car from Darwin and makes for a beautiful location to get away from the incessant buzz of modern life for a few days. Try your hand at fishing, mud crabbing, turtle-spotting and other unique activities available at this coastal retreat, then take a breather at The Crab Claw bar and restaurant, down at the beach.
A special pop-up bar, the Indigo Oscar has taken over a space in the Indiana Cottesloe Beach ahead of renovations of the iconic beachside pavilion. Until then, this fresher-than-fresh eatery is giving the Perth beachside suburb a touch of Latin American-inspired vibrance with its stunning seafood dishes and smoky cocktails. Try out the avocado arepas, with zucchini pickles and green chilli, the swordfish ceviche and their classic margaritas, to fully lean into those South and Central American vibes.
Down here for a long winter’s night, or booked in for a long lunch on a sun-drenched day? Either way, the Story Bar at MACq 01 Hotel is serving up those Port of Hobart views and a smokescreen of atmosphere to match. Whether it’s the sun or city lights that are twinkling on the water, the glamorous Hobart bar will pull you in with its display of memorabilia from Tasmania’s heritage, and the curiosity-inducing newspapers that line the walls, telling tales of the island state’s past. Shake it up — or at least ask the bartender to — with a visit to the hotel’s other drinking hole, the ancient artefact-themed Evolve Spirits Bar.
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No12 should be the Seacliff Beach Hotel , in the Adelaide suburb of Seacliff. A classic pub right opposite the beach with a long terrace for dining on the first level parallel to the sea.
Full of character with old beams and genuine historic nautical features.
Bermagui hotel is one of the best for food, views and accommodation
North Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel should be on this list somewhere. The view accomodation service and ambience is amazing. Check it out.
It seems you haven’t had a beer or feed at the Pacific Hotel Yamba. Mouth of the Clarence River. Bloody amazing. Cheers.
Australia is the best country in the world . .