If the thought of a cocktail on the sand while taking in all that the Gold Coast has to offer sounds like paradise, a new ‘beach bar’ concept in Queensland will have you feeling like you’re in Greece in no time.
In a bid to reinvigorate the hard-hit tourism sector amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate hopes to establish ‘beach bars’ at select locations along region’s 55km of sandy coastline.
These bars, while only in the development stage, would allow beachgoers to have a drink and a light snack without having to walk off the sand to a nearby bar or pub.
It’s a concept that’s already working for Adelaide, which launched the European-inspired ‘Mosley Beach Club’ for South Australians to visit and enjoy during the summer months.
A spokesperson for Mr Tate said their ‘beach bar’ idea wouldn’t be far off what’s been developed in Glenelg, with easy-to-move deckchairs, barriers and umbrellas installed rather than solid structures on the sand.
Gold Coast Council is pushing for a two-year trial for beach bars to be established in selected areas along the coastline, such as Burleigh or Miami Beach, pointing to a hopeful launch date of December 1.
But Deputy Premier Steven Miles said holiday-makers to the region shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet, given the initial concept design still had a long way to go prior to approval.
“We [State Government] are all for considering innovative ideas that will draw more people to our tourism centres, but they need to be done right and very carefully,” Mr Miles told media Tuesday.
“The reputation of our beaches and the Gold Coast worldwide is very important so we cannot jeopardise that.
“A proposal is under active consideration … and we will consider them very closely.”
Mr Miles said the design process of the beach bars and how they will function accordingly remained up for debate.
“There’s a wide range of planning regulations at play that we need to consider … impact on the beach, amenity, erosion … as well as the permanency of any structures,” he said.
Mr Tate said in a statement to news.com.au that the beach bar concept would be a welcome addition to the Gold Coast, that would only compliment the region’s “reputation as the number one domestic tourism capital of Australia”.
“We need to renew our tourism products,” Mr Tate said.
“A beach bar trial will showcase the 55km of open beaches at our doorstep and give visitors the chance to kick off their shoes, enjoy a light meal and a quiet drink as the sun sets behind the hinterland.
“I will absolutely rule out any commercial activation of our beaches beyond the enclosed trial area. This trial will bring us up to speed with other states that have established beach bars, drawing in thousands of tourists and locals annually.
“Once Council has finalised the concept (next three months), we will be calling on the State to approve the trial so we can look at starting in the 2021-22 summer break.’’
Last year, a similar albeit more permanent concept was floated at Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
Sydneysiders were urged to sign a petition that would see part of the iconic beach privatised for people with a “high net worth” such as doctors, bankers and models.
Amalfi Beach Club submitted a proposal to Waverley Council to block off a section of the beach, add in seating and serve customers food and alcohol right on the sand as they cannot “sojourn to Europe” amid the pandemic.
The proposal states the business would target people with a “high net worth” and a taste for luxury.
The proposal included an outline of the type of professionals that would possibly frequent the facilities, likely to be doctors, surgeons, bankers, investors, professional directors and business entrepreneurs.
The organisers had initially asked for the business to be run between November and February but that was knocked back, with Waverley Council deeming it “unsuitable based on Council policies and in the interest of our local community”.
The proposal was denied due to Council policies not supporting events on the sand during December and January, Bondi Beach being an alcohol prohibited area and the safety concerns around mixing drinking with swimming.