My 7 Favorite Beach Bars

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If there’s one thing I can appreciate more than an ice cold beer or a fruity cocktail, it’s an ice cold beer or a fruity cocktail on a sun-drenched beach surrounded by nubile nymphettes wearing just enough to pass as modest.

And less if I play my cards right. Alas, I rarely do.

I’ve had the pleasure of sipping suds underneath coconut palms in Fiji; sneaking a bottle of wine down to a crowded Sydney beach; and slinging mud while downing Mudslides on the windswept shores of the Yellow Sea. But I’ve barely scratched the surfaces of the world’s best beach bars, so feel free to educate me.


#8 – 4 Pines Brewery, Manly, Australia

It’s a short walk from iconic Manly Beach, but I’ll give 4 Pines Brewery the nod as one of my beach bars due to being right by the Manly Wharf where ferries tie up after making the beautiful journey across from Sydney’s Circular Quay.

I’m a sucker for a good boutique beer and the 4 Pines Kolsch ranks amongst my favorites here in Sydney. And with a balcony overlooking the harbour beyond and allowing the warm summer breezes to tussle your hair as you drink, there are few bars in Sydney with a more fetching view.

I’m not just a regular at 4 Pines due to the beer though. The place boasts a pretty bloody stellar (if not pricey) food menu that includes gourmet burgers, a killer ploughman’s platter, and daily specials that come with a pint of the local brew as well.

A selection of boutique beers at 4 Pines brewery
The mouth-watering selection of beers at 4 Pines Brewery. The Kolsch is a favorite.


Friends gathered around the table at 4 Pines Brewery
Enjoying lunch and beers at 4 Pines Brewery in January 2010

#7 – Tangalooma Bar, Moreton Island, Australia

I’ll preface all of what follows by saying that Tangalooma’s bar doesn’t boast much of a selection and charges prices that would make a Sydneysider grimace for what they do stock.

Tangalooma’s only bar makes the cut not because of the food or the beer or the price, but because its location is second to none. Sitting on the sand of beautiful Moreton Island, the bar is a handful of meters from the beach volleyball court and the crystal clear waters beyond where you’ll spot dolphins at play if you’re lucky.

During my week long visit to Tangalooma I spent a good deal of time (and money) sinking beers out underneath the umbrellas with the other guests and the wonderfully warm and social staff. If your travels do take you to Tangalooma Island Resort (and they should), there are worse ways to spend a lazy afternoon than nursing a beer in the warm sands out from of one of my favorite beach bars.

A pretty girl drinking beer on Tangalooma
Sherridin sipping a cider on the beach during my October visit to Tangalooma
Beautiful beach at Tangalooma, Moreton Island
The view from the dock as I arrived at Tangalooma. Gorgeous!
Volleyball in the sunset
Ben poses on the beach volleyball court as the sun sets behind him

#6 – The Moody Marlin, Coral Coast, Fiji

The open air cabana at Mango Bay Resort on Fiji’s coral coast was the first of three stops my brothers and I made during our Fijian travels earlier this year. Part restaurant, part bar, part pool hall, and part sometime cinema – the Moody Marlin was the hub of all of our activities during our five night stay at the beautiful (if not disappointingly quiet during our visit) beach-side resort.

Right by the pool and a short walk from the shell-strewn beach, the Moody Marlin’s biggest perks were the presence of Vonu towers and the pretty damn fantastic food the kitchen churned out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Hell, we liked our time there so much that we’re all headed back there sometime in 2012.

The pool at Mango Bay, Fiji
The view of the pool from the Moody Marlin bar


The boys enjoying some fruity cocktails at Mango Bay, Fiji
My brothers sipping cocktails at the Moody Marlin
Live music at the Moody Marlin Bar, Mango Bay, Fiji
Live music to serenade the diners (and drinkers) at the Moody Marlin

#5  – The Entire Beach, Boryeong, South Korea

I swear, I talk more on this about the Boryeong Mud Festival than I do about anything else.

Except maybe sex.

For two weeks every summer the streets, restaurants, convenience stores, and beach of Boryeong transform into one giant bar/night club. Foreigners and Koreans mingle on the mud dampened sands and out in the typhoon conjured breakers while K-Pop bands grace the main stage. Mud wrestling pits, mud slides, and mud painting booths dot the seaside street and every inch of spare floor space in the usually sleepy town is claimed by revelers to sleep off hangovers.

My two visits to the Boryeong Mud Festival stand out as some of my best traveling memories. I can’t recall how much beer, soju, or Mudfest Mudslides (soju mixed with a cookies ‘n cream milkshake in a pouch) I consumed during my six days of drinking, wrestling, and socializing on that stretch of beach.

Posing at the 2008 Mud Festival
My friends and I all muddied up for the 2008 Mud Festival. Photo by Crystal Speedie.
crowd at the boryeong mud festival
A crowd of foreigners gather around the main stage at the 2008 Mud Festival. Photo by Crystal Speedie.
mud festival mud wrestlers
A pair of foreigners wrestling at the Mud Festival. Photo by Crystal Speedie.

#4 – Thursday Party, Gwangalli Beach, South Korea

The very cool Thursday Party chain boasts bars all over Busan, but my personal favorites are the twin Gwangalli locations that are separated by only a few metres and one troublesome storefront.

Sitting across the road from the beautiful Gwangalli Beach with its view of the stunning Gwangan Bridge, the country’s lack of an open bottle law means that a night of fun inevitably spills out onto the street and across onto the white sandy beach. Fairy lights twinkle overhead and a string of nearby noraebangs, convenience stores, and restaurants (including Mexican food at Fuzzy Navel) ensure the party needn’t exist solely within the smoky confines of the bar.

Electronic darts and beer pong mean there’s more to a night at Thursday Party than simple boozing and striking out with impossibly pretty Koreans, and the staff are all ridiculously nice guys. If there’s one thing I miss more about my life in Busan than anything else, it’s nights out at Thursday Party with my friends Anne, Crystal, Inhee, and Jinho. Good, good times.

A Korean man plays darts in a bar
Jinho steps up in high stakes electronic darts
Gwangan Bridge in Busan, South Korea
Gwangan bridge is beautiful when lit up by night
American boys playing beer pong in Korea
Matt and Kenny step up for some Thursday Party beer pong

#3 – Tea Gardens Hotel, Tea Gardens, Australia

It’s more riverside than beachside, but the Tea Gardens Hotel holds a special place in my heart after my recent road trip to Tea Gardens introduced me to the beautiful little village nestled at the heart of a marine park.

My friends and I had a whale of a time drinking cheap beers (as only country towns can provide) and watching the rugby while interacting with the locals who had filled the town’s only pub for our Saturday night visit.

The nearest beach is a short walk away, but the river itself is bordered by a wonderfully picturesque grassy walkway from which you can spot wild dolphins playing in the waters. It’s a little slice of paradise.

Locals drinking at the Tea Gardens Pub
My good friends (including Wayward Traveller) drinking with the locals in Tea Gardens
Four friends in a rusty boat behind a pub
My friends and I drunk and boating behind the Tea Gardens Hotel

#2 – Nameless Cocktail Bar, Sanya, China

My week long visit to Hainan in 2008 was more about the fantastic company than anything else. My friends Brenda, Tracey, and Rebecca made for a spectacularly fun week of red wine with breakfast, cocktails on the beach, and occasional sight-seeing that still stick with me three years on.

We did a lot of drinking at our hotel, but our main site for liberal lashings of libations was a nameless little bamboo bar that sat on the boardwalk that overlooked the stretch of beach we claimed as our own.

We started most mornings stretched out on deck chairs beneath palm umbrellas with all manner of brightly colored but poorly made cocktails while leafing through dog-eared paperbacks and avoiding the lecherous advances of the resident Russian expat who seemed determined to have hsi way with one or all of us.

But probably only the girls. I don’t flatter myself.

We might have had to explain how to make a Rum & Coke, but the service or the quality of the drinks didn’t matter. We were sunning ourselves on China’s most beautiful beach and alternating our cocktail consumption with coconut milk. Life was good.

A Russian man at a bar in Sanya, Hainan, China
The aforementioned lecherous Russian
A beautiful girl sipping a cocktail on the beach
My friend Brenda sipping a cocktail on the beach
Drinking from a coconut
I sip from a coconut on the beach
Blue Hawaian
The worst cocktail ever. Tasted like mouth-wash.

#1  – Robinson Crusoe Bar, Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji

My New Year’s in Fiji was a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand we were lazing in hammocks in paradise while drinking ridiculously cheap cocktails, but on the other hand Robinson Crusoe Island Resort was the final stop on my epic Break-Up Tour with my partner of two years.

A short river boat ride from Port Denarau, Robinson Crusoe Island Resort holds the distinction of being my favorite of the five resorts I stayed out during my two and a half week stint in Fiji.

The beach overlooks the sandy ‘courtyard’ around which picnic tables act as the meal hall come dinner time. There’s something to be said for eating traditional Fijian food underneath the stars with the still warm sand underneath your feet.

The bar hosts a good selection of beers and wines as well as a pretty impressive selection of cocktails. I lost count of how many of those bad boys I consumed over the course of three nights (including one crazy cross-dressing New Year’s Eve) on the island, but the sinking feeling I felt when I paid my tab was an indication of a good time.

And racking up a big bill is no mean feat when you consider how cheap the drinks were…

All of the photos below are by Charlotte Mohn.

Backpackers partying on Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji
Some of the groovy people I met while partying on Robinson Crusoe Island
Cross dressing for New Year's on Fiji
I cut a saucy figure for Robinson Crusoe Island's gender bender New Year's party in 2010.

What about you?

There are countless brilliant beachside bars out there, I’m sure. Despite my love of a drink and my love of the beach, I’ve managed to make it to precious few.

So this is where you come in – where is your favorite beachside bar? Any bars on your beach drinking wishlist? Let me know!



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