Heading to the Sunshine Coast? Here's where to go for a drink

From nautical-themed bars with knockout views to hidden local haunts boasting quirky cocktails and drag queen bingo, happy hour on the Sunshine Coast is an affair to remember.

Pocket Espresso Bar has top-notch happy hour offers.
  • Celeste Mitchell
  • February 2019

There’s not shortage of watering holes on the Sunshine Coast opens in new window, in fact there’s a surprising variety of them… Whether you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur, a laid-back beer drinker or prefer cocktails with a side of nibblies, there’s something for everyone (and some great deals too).

The Pocket Espresso Bar

Once you pull yourself away from the made-for-a-beer-commercial sands of Moffat Beach, toddle across the park to The Pocket opens in new window to rub shoulders with the creatives who could have directed said commercial. The only name you need to know here is Larry, the pale ale pouring from one of the three taps (and brewed just streets away by Your Mates Brewing). On Sundays from 4pm, there are $15 jugs while local musicians play. Grab a spot in the courtyard or one of the booths where you can still steal glimpses of the ocean.


You’re probably not looking for dark and moody watering holes in Noosa but when you pull up a stool at the long timber bar inside this Frank Macchia-designed venue opens in new window, you will be impressed. The Italians perfected the art of aperitivo and here, tucked away on the southern end of Hastings Street, the pre-dinner tradition continues with five cicchetti (snack) dishes for $45 from 12–6pm. Order a Negroni (there are seven different kinds on offer) or choose from the 36-page wine list – and that’s amore.

Sip on sublime cocktails at atmospheric bar, Locale
Sip on sublime cocktails at atmospheric bar, Locale.

Ricks Garage

Hot rods, beer and towering burgers are the staples of Ricks Garage opens in new window, a memorabilia-heavy diner in the hinterland town of Palmwoods. But head upstairs to the adults-only whisky bar and you’ll have your pick of over 170 bottles of whisky, scotch and bourbon, including an 18-year-old Yamazaki. Before you order a flight or sample one of the four barrel-aged cocktails (hickory smoked Old Fashioned, anyone?).

Pier 33

There’s a winning formula at Pier 33 opens in new window (once the Mooloolaba Yacht Club): waterfront real estate, a cracking seafood-led menu (order the spanner crab rolls) and Instagrammable décor. Sipping a Capri Classico (gin, champagne, rosewater, peach bitters, violet and lemon) while a DJ plays on the lawn on Saturday afternoons, it’s hard to imagine life can get any better.

The ultimate afternoon cool-down spot is Pier 33
Pier 33 is the ultimate afternoon chill-out spot


Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. Pull into the QML Pathology carpark in Maleny and head for the door next to the dentist. Inside, you’ll find this modern craft brewery's engine room opens in new window, where you can wind down on Fridays with a jig of craft brew, Middle of the Road. There are 10 rotating taps and an all-Aussie line-up of spirits to complement a menu championing local produce (like the Maleny wagyu, which is fed the spent grains after brewing).

Third Place

A skate shop in Maroochydore might not be the first place you look for a bar but those in the know head to Third Place opens in new window from 4-5pm for $5 Balter XPA on tap. It might be the weathered gaze of a coal miner beaming from the back wall or the timber cladding but there’s no cosier spot to while away a few hours playing Connect Four and enjoying a tight edit of seven South Australian wines. Whisky aficionados will appreciate the Glencairn glasses.

The trendy Third Place bar is also a skate shop
The trendy Third Place bar is also a skate shop.

Sunset Bar

You’ll need your sunglasses when you head to this bar on the third floor of Noosa Boathouse, moored on the Noosa River. But don’t worry, there are spares for sale behind the bar if you forget. Happy hour here just so happens to coincide with that golden last hour of daylight – hence the name Sunset Bar opens in new window, geddit? – and means AUD $6 tap beers and house wines from 4.30-5.30pm. Perch at the long wooden bench for a front-row seat.

Take in the sunset views at Sunshine Bar (no, the paradox isn't missed on us)!
Take in the sunset views at Sunshine Bar (no, the paradox isn't missed on us)!

The Bison Bar

Most holidaymakers don’t visit Nambour but draw back the curtain and step inside The Bison Bar opens in new window and you’ll realise this Art Deco gem is a destination in its own right. Sink into one of the vintage armchairs as the band sets up by the baby grand and you’ll feel like you’re in your granny’s lounge room (if grandma had a knack for mixing inventive cocktails served in crystal glassware). Be there on the first Thursday of the month for drag queen bingo.

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