Hot Nights in Surfers
Surfers Paradise, Australia
Cities throughout the world are known for their vast cornucopia of entertainment and nightlife – New York City, London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, Surfers Paradise. Surfers Paradise? Yes, the sunny wonder along the sand one hour south of Brisbane. To outsiders, a name like Surfers Paradise may conjure up images of buff, tanned bodies carrying surfboards and riding big waves. True, there is surfing and plenty of surfers in Surfers Paradise, but that is by day. By night, the seaside mecca transforms into a crowded, spirited arena for partygoers of all types.
On a study abroad program, and I use the term “study” quite loosely, I spent five months on the Bond University campus, a five minute bus ride from the middle of Surfers Paradise. With very few classes on Fridays, most people jumped on the fact that Thursdays were “uni” nights and entrance fees to clubs were reduced or waived completely. The partying would continue well into Monday morning, with taxis coming and going from the dormitory buildings at regular intervals.
Clubs and bars on the Gold Coast, and Surfers Paradise specifically, have been the secret treasure of locals but are fast becoming the place to be and be seen by vacationers, tourists, and celebrities. Nightlife is varied and there is something for everyone in Surfers: Irish pubs to tickle the fancy of beer loving sports junkies who can catch the latest footy or cricket match; subdued lounges to relax and sip cocktails with friends; restaurants catering to varied taste buds – from continental cuisine to flavors rich in Asian tradition; and nightclubs that keep you awake and dancing until the sun comes up.
The main streets of Surfers Paradise, Cavill and Orchid Avenues, are dotted with university students, couples, tourists, and plenty of singles looking for a night of good fun. Don’t have a date? No worries, you’re sure to find many an eligible bachelor or bachelorette just waiting for a dance partner, drinking buddy, or whatever else the night may have in store. Everyone is out for the sole purpose of having a good time.
My friends and I would hit Melbas Restaurant and Nightclub and let our evening begin. Melbas is a unique mix of all ages. The under-25 crowd is prominent but almost as recognizable are men with shirts open to reveal a bit too much graying chest hair and women whose mini-skirts from 1985 are back in fashion. Melbas is for dancing. The music is pure pop – Britney, Christina, Kylie, and Anastacia are guaranteed to be heard along with dance mixes from the European DJs such as Basement Jaxx and Paul Oakenfold. The bouncers at Melbas love the ladies so a bit of flirting gets many through the door without ID checks or cover charges. The shots and cocktails are fantastic – they certainly do not skimp on the alcohol.
A quick stroll from Melbas is Bourbon Bar, a club that is a complete 180 from Melbas. From the outside, Bourbon Bar looks like a hole in the wall, and for the most part, it is. Not that this is a bad thing. A dark staircase takes you to the club where a DJ blasts mostly hip-hop music, from old school Beastie Boyz to any of the latest radio hits. There are plenty of places to grab a stool and watch the people around you – mostly university students looking to dance hard core. These guys and girls know how to shake it and if you can’t beat ’em then this is not the place to join ’em. Know your music and your moves before hitting this dance floor. There was many a sore morning after dancing for hours non-stop.
Right next to Bourbon Bar is THE place to feed your late night munchies. The pizza joint is run by friendly staff who are all too helpful in feeding drunk and starving night owls. The later the night wears on, the less likely you’ll be able to get a slice of cheese pizza but the barbeque chicken pizza is always on hand and always smells divine. The French fries are also satisfying – smothered in either tomato or sweet chili sauce. A slice of pizza, a bottle of water, and you’ll be good to go for another few hours of clubbing. At the very least it is a place to breathe some fresh air and give your tired feet a rest.
My Bar has a lounge-like feel to it, with jazzy music. It is more of a place to grab a cocktail, a plush velvet seat, and chit chat with friends than dance. Rose & Crown, Cocktails & Dreams, and The Drink are certainly for dance lovers, where each club tends to be packed in tight and you don’t know who you’re dancing with. The Drink is particularly full on Wednesdays with its designated hip-hop night. Shooters is huge and there is a mix of things to do for the dance crowd as well as the wallflowers – there are plenty of pool tables and bar games to keep everyone occupied. Billy’s Beach House is away from the center of the clubs and is a laid back bar where you can order up a couple of pints and watch a live game on one of the screens.
The possibilities for entertainment on the Gold Coast are endless and Surfers Paradise is THE hot bed for dancing, drinking, and meeting people. Make sure to bring a camera, the pictures of you and your mates dancing and drinking the night away will be priceless, and they can always be used for blackmail on a later date.