Crafty Sprawl: Sunshine Coast Venues & Bottleshops

September 6, 2023, by Mick Wust

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Crafty Sprawl: Sunshine Coast Venues & Bottleshops

In part one of our guide to the Sunshine Coast, we looked at the breweries on the lower half of the coast (from Caloundra up to Nambour). In part two, we covered the rest of the breweries (from Coolum to Cooran). 

In this final instalment, it's the turn of the other crucial part of any vibrant beer scene: the bars and bottleshops dedicated to showcasing good beer.


When we talk about the beer of the Sunshine Coast, we’re usually referring to the abundance of craft breweries. But as the Sunny Coast has stepped up its brewery game, so too have the venues had to step up. When you’ve got that many businesses making good beer, in a region that draws holiday-makers from around the country, plus plenty of thirsty locals, the beer flowing out of the breweries can’t help but shape restaurants, bars and bottleshops.

Josh Donohoe, Sunny Coast local and owner of Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours, has watched this beautiful ripple effect take place over the years.

“Our local restaurant and bar scene continues to thrive with an increased population and demographic, [and] southerners’ demand for good food and drinks giving local breweries opportunities to feature on taps and menus,” he says.

When you’re holidaying on the coast, you want interesting venues with good food to make it a vacation to remember – or at least help you take your mind off work for a while. And your stay will always be much more enjoyable if you know where to find bottleshops with a decent range of craft.

Staying at a beach house in Peregian? Found yourself a farmstead out near Yandina? A holiday apartment in Maroochydore or Mooloolaba? A bed and breakfast in cosy Maleny? A tiny house out Cooroy way? There’s good beer close at hand.

And whether you’re looking for pinball or Playstation, brisket or boat-watching, Belgian beer or barefoot bowls, an Irish pub or a Greek banquet… we got you covered.


Peregian Beach Hotel

 

Too many hotels feature a long bank of commercial lager taps, with one or two crafty options hiding at the end (if you’re lucky). Well, the Peregian Beach Hotel is the opposite: macro offerings cower in the corner while 13 taps of craft beer dominate the bar. As well as the usual suspects (from local breweries 10 Toes, Heads of Noosa, Your Mates, etc), you also have your pick of beers from further afield (think Range, Mountain Culture, Mornington Peninsula, Garage Project).

It’s hard to resist sitting in the courtyard out the front, knocking back a few in the shade of striped beach umbrellas and pandanus trees. You’re not quite at the ocean (that’s another block or two away), but it almost feels like you are.

Inside has a lovely aesthetic that I’ll call "swanky coastal": plenty of white timber, rattan-panelled ceilings, slow-turning fans, and hanging cane basket light shades. There’s an almost Caribbean vibe to it. If you’re keen to sit in the restaurant area, I recommend heading up to the indoor balcony and looking out over everyone. It makes you feel slightly superior, and who doesn’t enjoy that from time to time?

This is an ideal spot if you’re bringing a group with diverse tastes (or a fussy friend) since there’s plenty of choice: the wood-fired pizzas, fresh seafood and Asian fusion dishes are all done well here. So are the cocktails, if the fancy strikes you.

You’ll find the Peregian Beach Hotel at 221-229 David Low Way, Peregian Beach. It has a drive-through bottleshop if you’re after takeaways, and across the road is a precinct with boutique stores, more restaurants and a nice gelato place.


Bar Deco

 

The first time I spotted the sign "Belgian Beer & Wine Garden" in Yandina, I did a double take. “This is a rural town in Queensland. I’m standing next to a regional railway station. Does this sign belong here?”

Bar Deco is a testament to the passion of Henry Derclaye, a Belgian national who brings a taste of continental Europe to the hinterland town of Yandina in the form of quality dishes and hard-won imported Belgian beers.

The restaurant’s menu pulls from a range of European cuisines while making use of local produce. To our Aussie sensibilities, it’s classy fare, but Henry thinks of it as comfort food: the housemade entrées include the likes of duck liver pâté, baked double French brie and prawn croquettes, while the mains menu includes items like mussels and fries (with your choice of marinière, creamy garlic, or provençale sauce), linguine seafood marinara and Belgian dark ale beef stew.

Bar Deco’s a stylish place. In the evening, each table has its own golden downlight, which creates a kind of intimacy perfect for private conversations. If you’re looking for a spot for a date night, Bar Deco fits the bill. But Henry doesn’t consider Bar Deco to be fine dining, and there’s nothing exclusive about the venue. It’s casual enough for dinnertime walk-ins, and during the day you’ll see people taking long, lazy lunches in the beer garden with a beer or cocktail in hand.

When it comes to the bar, there are three local beers (including a Czech pils from Sunshine Coast Brewery, the longest-running brewery on the coast) on tap alongside three Belgian options. When I visited, the Belgian beers pouring were Blanche De Bruges, a traditional Belgian wheat beer from De Halve Maan; Duchesse De Bourgogne, a Flemish red ale by Verhaeghe Brewery; and Paljas Saison with its new world twist to the Belgian farmhouse style. 

Put these alongside the European wines and signature cocktail list and you quickly realise this is a place that takes its drinks as seriously as its food, whether you’re matching flavours to each course of a meal or just enjoying Belgian beers in the Aussie sunshine.

This venue truly exceeds any expectations you may have of a restaurant in a rural town. If the Ginger Factory, Nutworks and Chocolate Factory weren’t enough to entice you to head out to Yandina, Bar Deco should do the trick.

Bar Deco is at 2 Stevens Street, Yandina. If you’re making a day of it, check out Gun Cotton Roasters for coffee, and grab takeaway beers from the Yandina Hotel bottleshop.


Sneaky Baron

 

Approach Sneaky Baron from the street and it looks like a pleasant enough bar with some seating on astroturf out the front. Get a little closer, and you’ll see it’s dripping with personality. The place is full of nostalgic cartoon artwork with a twist, featuring the likes of Yosemite Sam with light sabre pistols, Kellogg’s mascots smoking like they just don’t care, a sliced-up Pickle Rick and a homicidal Caramello Koala emerging from a barrel of acid.

Here for the beer? Hit the bar. There are eight kickass taps pouring some serious flavour. Hop bombs, hype breweries, weird limiteds… the Baron’s got them all. The beer decals plastered on the column and ceiling act as a kind of visual history of beers they’ve poured in the past, but don’t waste time admiring that until you’ve got a beer in your hands.

Here for the food? Hit the grub. A lengthy burger list (and some sandwiches labelled The Outsiders) gives you plenty of choice, with many of them having the option to "Make mine a double" for an extra five bucks. There’s also ribs or brisket from the smokehouse, wings, loaded fries, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth you can finish with a cookie / M&M / Hershey / ice cream monstrosity.

Here for the pinball? Hit the paddles. There’s a fistful of pinnies lighting up the dark back corner of the bar, as well as a Street Fighter machine. Hadouken!

Realistically, if you’re here for a good time, hit all three. One passionate beer lover declared that if you're at the Sunshine Coast: "Sneaky Baron is all you need.” But, in the interest of exploring the whole coast, I have to respectfully disagree and continue on my journey…

Sneaky Baron is keeping it fresh at 2 Ocean Street, Maroochydore. If you’re vibin’ the artwork, check out @gerrardkingart on Instagram, and you can see more of Gerrard’s work at 10 Toes and Tziki Bar.


Taps


If you didn’t quite get your fill of grunge at Sneaky Baron, Taps Mooloolaba will top you off. It’s the place for people who like good beer, many wings and late night loud music, with each Friday and Saturday boasting live tunes from midday to the early hours of the morning. 

The bar runs ten taps, a few of which hold constant easy-drinkers while the rest of them rotate through limited releases from indie brewers around the country. Grab a beer and settle in at one of the Playstation or Nintendo consoles. But please, for the love of everything that’s good, don’t spill on the controllers.

Taps is stupid close to the beach (we’re talking 60 seconds’ walk), so make the most of that: a day that transitions from surf and sun to XPA and Tekken is a good day.

You’ll find Taps at the corner of Mooloolaba Esplanade and Brisbane Road.


Blackflag Mooloolaba

 

Now that Blackflag have their own brewery home in Coolum, this spot feels like their second home. But Blackflag’s alley bar has been around for a few years longer than their production brewery, and it certainly feels settled and comfortable in its own skin.

Head down the alley – where, unsurprisingly, the walls are absolutely covered with neon-coloured graffiti-style street art – and you’ll think, “Oh, we’ll definitely sit out the front.” A lush corner of potted plants large and small makes a garden paradise, and the seating there includes swings at the tables. Let me say that again. They’re are two tables where the seats are swings. Hard to go past. (I mean that figuratively, as in, it’s an appealing seating option. But I guess if people were swinging backward a lot, the swings would also literally be hard to go past.)

But then you pop inside to get a drink, and see the fat rustic timber beams that make up the bar front, and the wooden barrels surrounded by stools, more plants (mostly of the hanging variety) and people throwing darts and shooting pool, and you think, “Huh. Inside actually looks pretty fun as well.”

Whatever. They’re both good options. Just grab a beer and drink it somewhere.

Spot the entrance to this alley bar at 13 Brisbane Road, Mooloolaba.


The Dock

 

This one comes out of left field. When you pull into The Wharf at Mooloolaba, where a bunch of rich people have their boats docked and the Sea Life aquarium guarantees a regular flow of tourists, you’re not expecting a venue with good beer. If anything, you’re expecting a tourist trap loaded with macro beer and poor quality fare (for far too much money). But The Dock is a gem of a find with a whole bunch of craft beers on tap, and most of them independent.

The inside is a nice enough place to hang out: it’s a pretty spot with dark timber and exposed brick, and you’re equally welcome in your jeans and brewery t-shirt or the white linen shirt you bought on your last trip to the Amalfi Coast.

But if you sit outside on the wharf (is that wooden walkway called a wharf? A boardwalk? A dock? I’m not up with my waterside walkway lingo), you get to look out over the marina and pretend one of those boats is yours. That’s definitely the way to go.

The Dock is at 123 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba. It’s also open for coffee and breakfast, if you’re not yet at beer time. You can covet a yacht with a coffee as well as you can with a beer.


Tziki Bar

 

It was a bit of a toss-up as to whether this one went in the "venues" or the "breweries" article, because Tziki Bar shares the site with Glass House Brewery. In the end, I’ve gone with "restaurant with a brewery on site" rather than "brewery with a restaurant on site" because, officially, this venue isn’t connected to the brewery. If you disagree, come find me and we’ll settle it in a civilised manner. Which is probably just by drinking beer together, I guess.

Tziki Bar is first and foremost a modern Greek restaurant. Share some mezze plates, grab a yiros or souvlaki skewer, or try one of the hand-stretched slow ferment pizzas with toppings like feta, lamb sausage, kalamata olives and tzatziki sneaking in. If there’s a few of you, just go banquet menu and taste your way the different dishes while you work at the ten taps, which include a handful of Glass House beers and a few made exclusively for Tziki bar.

Inside is spacious, with the gabled ceiling frame and some Greek mythology-themed art watching over you, but the big ol’ beer garden out the back is my recommendation. Have a peek into the black shed and you’ll see Glass House Brewing’s kit.

A Greek restaurant with ten taps of beer, many of which were brewed metres away from you. It’s pretty sweet. Not sure if you’ll find another one out there. 

Tziki Bar is in a precinct at 8/330 Mons Road, Forest Glen. The owners of Tziki also own Green Zebra, another Mediterranean restaurant on the coast with good beer options to go with your food.


Finbar’s Lounge Bar

 

It’s not rare to see an Irish pub pouring an Irish red and a brown ale. But how often are they Aussie craft Irish reds and brown ales? Not often.

If you find yourself in Maleny looking for a cosy place to have a couple of pints, Finbar's has around ten craft taps (and I even spotted some cans of 8 Wired’s Tall Poppy, which is just a phenomenal red IPA). There’s also a wood-fired pizza oven pumping out warmth to thaw your hands on a cool hinterland’s evening. And also pumping out pizzas, of course. It’s not just there for ambience.

Finbar’s may not look like much, and it isn’t as Irish as some Irish pubs. You won’t see many fiddles or stout pies. But the people are cheery, the vibe is laidback, the happy hour is two hours long, and you can still finish off the night with a Guinness and a Jameson.

Have a pint with the locals at Finbar’s at 12 Bicentenary Lane, Maleny.


Your Mates BowlsPub

 

Once, this was the Cooroy Bowls Club. Now it’s the Your Mates BowlsPub, and I’ll tell you: it’s got a new lease on life.

The venue holds on to some of the great things about the traditional bowlo – trivia nights, live music, food specials, raffles – and throws in fresh craft beer and permission not to pull your pants up to your armpits. There’s all kinds of ways to keep entertained. On top of barefoot bowls, there’s also a pool table, other lawn games, and the Little Mates’ Room so the kiddies can have just as much fun as you do.

The food menu would get Darryl Kerrigan salivating. Peckish? Grab some plates to share - there are battered pickles and pork belly burnt ends, corn ribs and calamari, share boards and salads. Or if you’re ready for a full meal, get yourself a parmy (of the meaty or vegan variety), a burger or sanga (chicken, pork, beef or portobello mushroom), or some classic fish and chips. Finish up with battered Oreos or some ice cream dusted with Milo. Bloody gor-may.

Take your shoes off, let your hair down, and let the good times bowl.

Your Mates BowlsPub is at 5 Opal Street, Cooroy. Your Mates sometimes cheekily refer to this venue's location as ‘Noosa’… be aware that Cooroy is 15 to 20 minutes inland of Noosa proper.


The Bottleshops

Clockwise from top left: Star Liquor Warehouse, Cellarbrations Wises Rd, Birtinya Cellars and Purple Palate.

 

Star Liquor Warehouse

There are a number of Star Liquors on the coast; this one’s probably the pick of the lot. As you go to enter this place, you know they’re going to help you have a good time. There’s a sign at the door shouting: "Hey Wally! Grab a Trolley", and another one above the fridges offering "Drinks as Cold as Your Ex".

If you didn’t guess from the "warehouse" in the name, this is a sizeable booze shop. Among the shelves of wines and spirits and macro lager, there are three-and-a-half fridges of craft being treated like they should. Here you’ll find all kinds of goods, from your local lagers and pales to imperial IPAs from New South Wales and barrel-aged stouts from Victoria.

Where’s this warehouse, you ask? At 201 Main Road, Maroochydore. You should spot the big red and white sign from the road: "Be Local, Buy Local".

Cellarbrations Wises Rd

Understandably, a lot of the breweries in the region focus on drinkability and sessionability. After all, they don't call it the Sunshine Coast for nothing, and lagers and XPAs are what you're looking for when you're soaking up rays.

But when you're looking for an explosive flavour to finish a session or wedge in between your session beers, hit up Cellarbrations Wises Rd. This is where you stock up on your sexy limiteds from around the country: think hop monsters from Mountain Culture and Range, imperials from Hawkers, and sours from Dollar Bill.

This Cellarbrations is at 3/32 Wises Road, Buderim. Head into the shopping precinct called The Zone Maroochydore, and it’s on the left hand side next to IGA.

Birtinya Cellars

Birtinya Cellars is better than any shopping centre bottleshop has a right to be. Across five fridges of craft, there’s a solid range spanning the alphabet: Akasha, Banks, Capital, Deeds…

The beers are more or less organised by style, so you can focus in on what kind of beer you’re after, whether that be lagers or hazies, sours or darks. The exception is the local beers, which are organised by brewery; unsurprisingly, the Sunny Coast residents who own the shop are proud of their corner of the world, so they’ve dedicated one of the fridges to showcasing nearby breweries. That’s a kind of special treatment we’ll allow.

Oh, and if you’re looking for something from the other side of the globe, there’s a tidy selection of German and Belgian beers here, too.

Birtinya Cellars is at Shop 15/8 The Avenue, Birtinya. Look for the Cellarbrations sign at one of the entrances to the Stockland shopping centre.

Purple Palate

Located next door to Finbar's in Maleny, Purple Palate has been bringing beers from near and far to the Sunny Coast longer than most (predating even the photo above drawn from the Crafty vaults...).

While you'll find plenty of options from across Australia, they've always been particularly strong when it comes to the classics from the Old World's famed brewing regions, and are involved in the Maleny Brew Crew gatherings too.

Find your purple patch next door to Finlay's, at 1/12 Bicentenary Lane, Maleny.


Other Options

  • Dicky Beach Surf Club, 1A Coochin St, Dicky Beach – They don’t have tasting paddles here… they have tasting oars! I mean, OK, they’re pretty much just tasting paddles. But how often can you get a tasting paddle of local craft beers from a surf club?! Pair it with a weekday lunch special and you’re laughin’.
  • Dirty Moes, Shop 8/11 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba – Low ’n’ slow American BBQ soul food, with straightforward pales and lagers on tap to cut through the big flavours. There’s also a stormtrooper standing guard at the entrance, if that tickles your fancy. You’ll find the restaurant up on the balcony area on Burnett Street.
  • Virtue Bar and Eats, Shop 2/11 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba – Brekkie and coffee from 6am, then it evolves into a restaurant and cocktail bar later on, with eight taps pouring beers from Sunny Coast breweries. The lunch and dinner menu jumps from wings and burgers to classy seafood dishes, and there are some good vegan options in there too.
  • 4 Pines Mooloolaba, 105 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba – All the rustic timber, burgers and beers you’ve come to expect from a 4 Pines venue. There’s also a 4 Pines at Noosa (corner of Noosa Drive and Sunshine Beach Rd, Noosa Heads), but the Mooloolaba one is in a much nicer spot.
  • Uptown Social Kitchen & Bar, Kontiki Building, 55 Plaza Parade, Maroochydore – Gastropub that takes its food seriously and has a 12-strong tap list. Feels a bit fancy.
  • Captain’s Daughter, 4 Heron St, Peregian Beach – A laidback place where you can wash down your burgers and seafood with six sessionable tap beers and a handful of tinnies.
  • O-Ren Brew House and Restaurant, 8/46 Duke Street, Sunshine Beach – Enjoy share-style modern Asian food with Copperhead beers.
  • Moto Bar, 66 Noosa Drive, Noosa Heads – A motorbike-themed cafe that turns into a bar Thursday to Sunday nights. Expect a few taps of easy-drinkers complemented by a selection of more adventurous tinnies, and a different cuisine each night.

If you're heading to the Sunshine Coast – or anywhere in Australia for that matter – you'll find all of the bars and bottleshops above alongside 1300-and-counting breweries and good beer retailers in the free Crafty Pint app.

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