Gay Gold Coast: Where to eat, drink, play and sleep

By Emen8, updated 5 months ago in Travel and party / In Australia

sunset skyscrapers on the gold coast

The Gold Coast is famous for its golden beaches, surf breaks and epic nightlife. It might not be so famous for its gay scene, but a brand-new gay bar and a host of LGBTQ+ events are looking to change that!

Let’s delve into the gay-friendly side of the Gold Coast and find out why this slice of paradise might just be the gay getaway you’ve been dreaming of.

Where is the gay scene on the Gold Coast?

There’s no one gay suburb or area on the Gold Coast and you’ll find only a few gay-specific venues around town. But, if you’re looking to dance till the early hours, you’ll find most of the nightlife at the iconic Surfers Paradise and along Broadbeach.

For food and drink, there’s loads of bars, restaurants, and cafés across the Gold Coast, including the suburbs of Burleigh, Nobby Beach and Coolangatta.

Is the Gold Coast gay friendly?

Without an abundance of gay venues (currently, anyway) the Gold Coast doesn’t feel as diverse as cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

Nevertheless, the LGBTQ+ family are welcome everywhere. And, as the gay community on the Gold Coast grows, more rainbow venues are bound to follow suit. Watch this space for more!

Where to drink — gay bars Gold Coast

Hairy Mary’s

As the only bar in the Gold Coast owned and operated by a member of the gay community, Hairy Mary’s strives to create a space where everyone feels welcome, accepted and celebrated.

The venue’s opening date is yet to be confirmed but eagerly anticipated in early 2024. The owners promise a warm and inviting atmosphere, and will soon unveil a lineup of weekly events, from themed parties to exciting live performances!

So, what are you waiting for? Show Hair Mary’s some love and make it your home-away-from-home while you’re on the Gold Coast.

The Pink Flamingo

Inspired by 1920s Spiegeltent and the New York Cabaret Club scene, The Pink Flamingo is home to different cabaret shows including drag shows packed with aerial performances, plenty of glitter and glam, and even a twerking competition!

drag and cabaret artists at pink flamingo gold coast
Image credit: The Pink Flamingo

The Avenue

Located in Surfers Paradise, The Avenue is home to ‘Dragalicious’, a Thursday night extravaganza of drag that carries on until the early hours, with DJ Jimmy spinning the tunes.

Sin City Nightclub

Although not officially a gay club, Sin City is popular with the gay community thanks to its Las Vegas atmosphere and locally, nationally and globally-renowned line-up. Book bottle service in advance and you’ll get your own booth and personal wait staff.

Related reading: 3 of the best gay bars in Brisbane

Where to eat — gay cafés and restaurants Gold Coast

The Avenue

The Avenue isn’t just a good place to drink, dance, and cheer on the Gold Coast queens, it’s also up there in terms of places to eat.

The menu features share plates, pizza, burgers, steaks, salads and even oysters if you’re feeling fancy. There are also $15 lunch and evening specials Monday to Thursday.

Cardamom Pod Vegetarian

If you’re vegetarian (or even if you’re not) look no further than The Cardamon Pod at Brickworks. Apple Pie Pancakes, Açaí bowls, and gourmet toasties packed with grilled veg and a side of crispy chat potatoes… Need we say more? This place is a real find; fusing healthy food with an Indian-inspired twist. Book ahead to guarantee a seat.

Where to play — things to do in the Gold Coast

Gay cruising clubs Gold Coast

If you’re looking for gay cruising sites on the Gold Coast you’ll need to travel a little bit further away as there are no gay cruise clubs on the Gold Coast. Wet Spa & Sauna is just over an hour away in Bowen Hills.

Check out our guide on how to up your chances of picking up at a gay venue! Find our complete guide to sex venues across the country in Australia’s best gay saunas and sex-on-premises venues.

gold coast skyscraper view from a beach wave

Remember that enjoying a fulfilling sex life also comes with the need to look after your sexual health — for your sake and your partners’. If you’re on the Gold Coast and need to get a test or access treatment, sexual health services are available. Check out our interactive map to find services near you. For other LGBTQ+ friendly health services, check out this article.

If you’ve had a possible exposure to HIV, accessing PEP within 72 hours can help you stay HIV negative. Here’s how to access PEP on the Gold Coast.

Gay theatre Gold Coast

Cultural precinct, HOTA, Home of the Arts, is a Gold Coast fav and fuses art, entertainment and culture. It holds a huge array of events and has hosted queer theatre productions and film festivals in the past.

Gay festivals Gold Coast

If you’re visiting in June, make sure you don your rainbow flags and head to the Gold Coast Pride festival, with a beach parade, and community market, and food trucks. There’s also plenty of music, drag shows, and even a gayest dog (or cat) competition. Now that sounds pawsome to us.

drag and cabaret artists outside at night on the gold coast
Image credit: ABC News

For more on LGBTQ festivals happening in Queensland and across Australia, check out these LGBTQ Festivals in Australia to add to your annual calendar.

Where to stay — gay-friendly accommodation on the Gold Coast

Stay in Surfer’s Paradise and its surrounding suburbs to be close to all the action. You can find a variety of hotel accommodation here, as well as in Broadbeach and Mermaid Beach.

As in other Australian cities, there’s no shortage of Airbnb’s. Keep in mind that many of the hotel rooms in this part of the Gold Coast are laid out in the same fashion as small apartments. You may be able to land a competitive price on your booking if you compare between hotel and Airbnb prices for your desired location. You can also check out the popular misterb&b for a range of LGBTQ-friendly accommodation options.

For the tighter budget, there are just as many hostels and lodges across Surfer’s Paradise. You won’t have the impressive beach views, but you’ll still be close to the sand and sea, for a fraction of the price! You can find many of these options along Surfers Paradise Boulevard.

There you have it. The guide of where to eat, drink, play and stay on the Gold Coast for gay men. We can’t wait to see even more gay bars and events planned in the future, to turn the glittering Gold Coast into the iconic queer destination it has all the makings of.

If you’re looking for other destinations to visit in Queensland, check out our guide to a gay-friendly trip to Brisbane.

Want to visit other locations in Australia on your trip? Take a look at our gay-friendly travel guides to these Australian cities: