The Best Cocktail Bars in Noosa, According to Miss Moneypenny’s Mixologist

Noosa’s bar scene boasts skilled bartenders making delicious cocktails.
Noosa’s bar scene boasts skilled bartenders making delicious cocktails. | Courtesy of Village Bicycle
Mandi Keighran

Noosa, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, is a popular beachside getaway – and it has a flourishing cocktail scene that offers the perfect end to long, lazy days at the beach. Award-winning mixologist Ben Walsh opened Miss Moneypenny’s in 2013, and the Hastings Street bar has quickly become one of the most celebrated cocktail destinations in town. This is his pick of the best cocktail bars in and around Noosa.

“I think Noosa is the best place in Australia to live,” Ben Walsh tells Culture Trip. “You can always find an empty spot on the beach for your own space. There is so much exceptional natural beauty and, despite having a laid-back village vibe, Noosa boasts an amazing food and drinks scene.”

Ben Walsh, the award-winning mixologist and founder of Miss Moneypenny’s, discusses Noosa’s flourishing cocktail bar scene

Ben had holidayed in Noosa for years before moving to the beachside resort town in 2013, when he founded Miss Moneypenny’s. Bringing with him more than 20 years’ experience in hospitality and countless accolades – including third place in the Mixology Masters in Amsterdam and winner of the Suntory Australia Bartender of the Year – he wanted to create a chilled-out bar on the Sunshine Coast to celebrate his passion for the art of cocktail creation. Last year, based on the success of Miss Moneypenny’s, he expanded down the coast to Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.

“The cocktail scene on the Sunshine Coast is flourishing,” Ben says. “It’s an up-and-coming scene with a lot of really enthusiastic bartenders who are starting to take bartending very seriously and mimicking successful Sydney and Melbourne bars.”

Want to enjoy a cocktail in this relaxed beachside town? These are Ben Walsh’s favourite bars in and around Noosa.

1. Miss Moneypenny’s

Bar, Restaurant, Italian, Australian

Courtesy of Miss Moneypenny’s
There’s plenty to love about a visit to Miss Moneypenny’s on Noosa’s vibrant Hastings Street – the sunset deck overlooking the street, the cosy bar lounge and the intimate dining area, which boasts a delectable menu with a focus on shared plates such as barbecued snapper and lamb shoulder. “The hardest part is choosing which cocktail to order,” says Ben. “We take the art of cocktail making seriously and our extensive list is updated with seasonal cocktails made using fresh, local produce.” If you can’t decide what to order from the extensive menu, take a recommendation from the mixology master. “My favourite cocktail is the Hemingway daiquiri,” says Ben. “It’s the perfect balance of sour, sweet and dry – and it’s quite refreshing.” Or, try the pineapple pulp daiquiri, which brings pineapple, rosemary tincture and tropical spices to the mix.

2. Catalina Noosa

Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Cocktails

Catalina Noosa
Courtesy of Catalina Noosa

Get a different perspective of Noosa aboard the Catalina Noosa, a luxe boat cruise that departs from Noosaville. “The Saltwater Sundays sunset cruise is really spectacular, travelling down the Noosa River with DJ beats and delicious cocktails,” says Ben. “You really experience the magic of Noosa River and get an understanding of why it is an A-rated river system.” The weekly event includes food from the seasonal menu, and cocktails can be purchased from the onboard bar – a new favourite is the Limon Fizz, a summery mix of limoncello, Grey Goose vodka, rosemary and lemon. Check all departure and return times, as the schedule changes seasonally to best capture the sunset.

3. Village Bicycle

Cocktail Bar, Bar, Restaurant, Cocktails, Beer, Fast Food

Courtesy of Village Bicycle

“Head over the Noosa Hill to the Noosa Junction to visit the Village Bicycle and try one of its beer cocktails,” recommends Ben. “Set in an urban landscape, the Bike has some very cool laid-back vibes.” Founded by Trevor Aylward and Luke Czajkowskyj to give locals somewhere to enjoy “food, booze and good times” after 9pm, the restaurant and bar has become something of an institution in Noosa. The graffiti-covered beer garden offers a colourful setting to enjoy a burger, tacos or a ‘hot diggity dog’ (that’s a hotdog) alongside a craft beer on tap or an expertly crafted cocktail, which include traditional margaritas, mojitos and spicy bloody marys.

4. Whisky Boy

Cocktail Bar, Bar, Cocktails

©iStock / Getty Images Plus

One of Ben’s favourite spots to bar-hop in Noosa is on Gympie Terrace, alongside the Noosa River. “With a stunning outlook, set on the river esplanade, there are so many little bars and restaurants to try,” he says. A local favourite is Whisky Boy, which has over 75 different whiskies on the menu from around the world, as well as more than 20 gins. Unsurprisingly, the cocktail menu is big on the dark stuff. Authentic tipples, including the traditional old fashioned and the whisky sour, sit alongside signature offerings, such as the How Ya Like Them Apples, a tasty concoction of apple-infused Old Forester bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth, apple saccharum and aromatic bitters. Match the whisky with an Australian steak cooked over a volcanic chargrill.

5. Sunset Bar at Noosa Boathouse

Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, Australian, Cocktails

Noosa Boathouse
© Andrew Maccoll / Courtesy of Noosa Boathouse
“One of my favourite sunset spots in Noosa is the rooftop bar at the Noosa Boathouse,” says Ben. “The sunsets from this location are incredible.” Indeed, it would be harder to find a better location for a sundowner – the glass-fronted bistro is literally floating on the Noosa River and the top-deck bar offers spectacular water views. Get there when it opens at 4pm and snag a corner table, then relax as the sun goes down with a signature Noosa River Sling cocktail and a mellow soundtrack. The bistro serves up simple sharing plates, such as chilled Mooloolaba prawns and oysters with a dressing made from Australian bushfood, finger limes. The salt and pepper calamari is also popular.

6. Marble Bar Bistro

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Australian, Pub Grub

Marble Bar Bistro
Courtesy of Marble Bar Bistro

Located on the far side of the Noosa National Park headland and a short 10-minute drive from Noosa Heads, Sunshine Beach is well worth a trip. Ben recommends heading to Marble Bar Bistro, which was recently voted Best Pub & Bar in Sunshine Beach by Restaurant Guru. “Marble Bar Bistro has a very relaxed village atmosphere,” he says. “You’ll find a lot of Noosa locals holding the bar up and it’s a great spot for a drink to start the night off.” Drop by on weekdays from 4pm to 5.30pm for happy hour specials – including selected cocktails for just 12 Australian dollars (£6.30). Just around the corner is another popular spot, modern Asian and yum cha restaurant, Embassy XO. Try the Double Island Iced T, made with locally distilled Noosa vodka and gin, red tea, citrus and soda.

7. Ricky’s River Bar and Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, Australian, Vegetarian

Ricky’s is a longstanding fine-dining institution on Noosa River – and the elegant River Bar is a relaxed, if slightly pricey, spot to grab a drink. There’s an excellent selection of local craft beers, as well as an extensive cocktail list featuring both timeless classics and signature drinks. The Violette Negroni is a refreshing twist on a traditional tipple, featuring Ink gin, violette liqueur, white vermouth and lemon juice; or match a colourful sunset martini with the setting sun. The alcohol-free mocktail menu is just as inspiring – think amaretto Lyer’s with lemon and orange juice and egg white. Aspiring mixologists should keep an eye out for the regular cocktail masterclasses.

8. Paradise Arcade

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican

Paradise Arcade
Courtesy of Paradise Arcade

Local craft beer and margaritas on tap, alongside some seriously good Mexican food, are on the menu at this little slice of Mexico on the Sunshine Coast. It feels like summer all year round in the tiny space at Noosa Junction thanks to Mexican tile tables, neon signage, light-strung palm trees and colourful interiors with a mural of Frida Kahlo. The Californian-inspired Mexican menu features antojitos (Mexican street food), tostadas, tacos and desserts, and an inspired cocktail list that celebrates mezcal and tequila – the bar serves over 120. If you want to take a deep dive into the world of tequila, opt for a flight of four different tequilas. Salud!

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