The Gold Coast gets a bad rap, even if you live here. I've been on the southern end for three years now, and even I know you only head north if you're meeting an out-of-town Tinder date, or if you're lost.
Yet, truth be told, I only avoid Surfers Paradise because that's simply what everyone does. I've adopted these attitudes like someone trying to fit in—not because I've spent much time there. So to figure out what everyone was complaining about, I hit up the worst night clubs on the strip, as nominated by people whining on the internet.
After collating criticism from Yelp, Gold Coast Clubs, and Trip Advisor—I came up with this list, ranked from least bad to worst.
1. East (the club, not the restaurant)
4. Sin City
From Trip Advisor: They made us queue in the rain to get in for half an hour—for a private function! Seriously how badly organised. Food very average, decoration and space last century—noisy, uncomfortable, so don't go there!
I started the night at a place that draws praise for its restaurant, but outright hostility for its nightclub. The place is in Broadbeach, which is mostly famous for fake boobs and the 2013 brawl that launched Queensland's crackdown on bikies. So really, it's a part of history.
The girl on the door gave me the once-over and asked how much I'd had to drink. It was 8 PM and I was sober so I told her I was writing an article. This made her instantly turn from hostile, into a hey-have-a-free-entry sort of girl.
I'd never been there before and it was surprisingly pleasant. The music was somewhere between deep house, dubstep, and Top 40—a strange mix, but pleasant enough to please the crowd of wasted mums and birthday celebrants. I decided East is what you make it. I didn't want to make it anything, so I left.
From Truelocal: Excessive lines and an obscene cover charge for an average time.
I walked up to the line and stood behind some guys who said they were from Brisbane. They told me they had a pact to each hook up with at least three girls, and whoever didn't / couldn't, wouldn't get a lift home. While sensitive to the fact the train to Brisbane is an extortionate $30, I declined to help.
Then I went inside and found this.
There's nothing more depressing than a fucking loud club with no one in it. But the drinks were cold, the bar staff were nice, and I felt a little more upbeat. Then I thought about the guys outside and how they definitely wouldn't hook up with three girls each, and I was depressed again.
Vanity, Surfers Paradise
From Gold Coast Clubs: I would never go back here. There are no rules in the lines and it's a complete shit fight to get to the bar. The second time I went to this place my drinks was spiked and I was so sick. It's also cramped and the floor and it was soooo dirty.
The third stop was Vanity. This photo kind of illustrates the things I'd heard. You see, Vanity used to be called Bedroom, and all I knew was that teenagers went there to have sex in weird beds arranged in the corners. But apparently it's cleaned up its act, so I was curious to see what that meant.
It meant hens parties. And while they still had the beds, no one was in them. Looking at those soiled mattresses under strobe lights, I wasn't surprised.
Now you might be getting sick of me being so negative but the fact is, that I'm not really the GC target market. Clubbing on the Gold Coast isn't made for locals. It caters to the tourists carted in on busses and kids on schoolies. It caters for fake IDs.
At the moment the bar scene is booming all along the Glitter Strip—everywhere from Coolangatta to Southport there are rum bars popping up, cheap pizza and beer joints, and even renovated Surf Clubs are cashing in. But clubs are left unchanged from what they were. The only difference between now and 10 years earlier are higher entry fees and fewer bikies. And maybe I miss the bikies.
Sin City, Surfers Paradise
From Yelp: A trashy, typical Gold Coast trying-to-be-Vegas spot where the young and plastic go to spend their dollars and rub up against each other in the desperate hope to enhance their meaningless existence.
I don't remember exactly what they were playing when I walked down into the depths of Sin City, but thinking back, Katy Perry comes to mind. Lots of Katy Perry, and I recall the bar staff dressed in matching lingerie. I did try to take photos of the bartenders, but upon doing so was immediately yelled at. I wasn't escorted out, per say, but I did have to go.
Beergarden, Surfers Paradise
From TripAdvisor: The doorman, who was fat, had red hair, and a beard, winked at me when he checked my ID and said "step inside sugar-buns, you're my special little pork chop for tonight".
Ah, Beergarden. Everyone who's ever visited has a love/hate relationship with you. First of all, you'll always packed, with some sort of metal band turned up loud.
Then there's the balcony full of punk teenagers with their shoes sticking to the floor, and guys who will get kicked out for no reason. But it's kind of fun.
Beergarden gets a bad reputation around the Gold Coast because it's rough. But personally, I think it's a lot rougher (mentally) to dance in a packed nightclub filled with sweat and Top 40 junk.
Anyways, after Beergarden I went next door to the kebab shop and got a lamb kebab with hot chilli and garlic aioli, caught a cab home, and immediately went to sleep. I felt nothing. The Gold Coast has something going on, but you have to be from elsewhere to enjoy it.
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