What are the Gold Coast lock outs and how do they work?

Jared Jeffery

22 Mar, 2022, 2:55 pm



We’ve all had those nights where the drinks keep flowing well after the sun sets and sometimes the beverages are even still being poured when the sun starts to rise the next morning too. Whether you’re boogying on the dancefloor, toasting to good times with your mates or meeting new people at the bar, there’s something special in the air after-dark. 

While it’s an age-old pastime to stay out all night long, recent changes across the globe, particularly in Australia, mean you’re sometimes limited by where you can go as the hours pass and when some of your favourite places close their doors. If you’re new to the Aussie nightlife scene, we’re talking about lock out laws. They’re in-place across most major cities across Australia and dictate exactly what you can and can’t do in bars, clubs and restaurants after-hours.  


What are lock out laws? 

Known as ‘lock outs’, these legislations were first introduced across the country around 2014 to curb alcohol-fuelled violence. In most places, this means restrictions on when venues must close their doors to new party-goers and what time they need to stop serving alcohol too. 

On July 1, 2016 the Queensland government came to agreement to pass new lockout laws for the entire state – including the Gold Coast. After these laws were passed, all venues were required to stop serving alcohol at 2am and close their doors to new patrons at 3am, although they were allowed to remain open until 5am to people already inside. 

However, the government also created 15 designated Safe Night Out precincts, which were allowed to serve alcohol up until 3am. Luckily for Gold Coast nightlife lovers and travellers, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach’s bar precincts were both included in this list! 


How do these laws work? 

After being introduced, the government went back and forth on a few different elements of the laws. Today, there are a number of requirements that all Gold Coast venues must abide by. This includes: 

  • There is still a halt on serving alcohol in licensed venues in party precincts from 3am onwards. However, the venue can still let people in and remain open. 
  • ID scanners are mandatory for all Queensland venues who have a permanent license to open after midnight. 

For venue managers and owners, there are some pretty hefty penalties that come from not abiding by the law. On the Gold Coast, it’s a fine of up to $5,514! With this in mind, you can understand why bars and clubs are pretty strict on their rules. If you’re heading to the Gold Coast on a night out, read on for our top tips on getting the most out of your night – even with lock down laws!


How to party around Gold Coast’s lockout laws 

Don’t be afraid to start early 

With such a beautiful landscape, the Gold Coast is home to more beachfront venues than you’ll likely find anywhere else. From surf clubs to beachfront bars, there’s places across every suburb that will give you a front row seat to the ocean while you’re enjoying all your favourite beverages. While the glitter strip is undoubtedly an after-hours playground, there’s still so much fun that can be had while the sun’s up. 

Consider heading down to one of these locations for a sunset drink, long-lunch or even an early dinner. From here, you can kick on and keep the vibes high – without having to stay up until 4am the next day. For something a little more DIY, you can also start your night with a boozy picnic on one of the Coast’s iconic headlands. 


Kick on at home 

Partying in a Gold Coast apartment is practically a rite of passage. It is something introduced as early as 18-years-old to newly graduated school leavers and still attracts those celebrating bucks parties, milestone birthdays or end-of-season getaways. There are plenty of party-friendly accommodation options around the place that have more than enough soundproofing in their walls for you to truly let your hair down and have some fun, without waking up your neighbours and attracting any noise complaints. 

The beauty of kicks ons at home, is that you’ll have endless snack supplies at the ready and can easily roll into bed the minute you’re ready to hit the hay, without having to worry about how you’re getting back. It’s also a great way to end your night with some quality time spent with all your nearest and dearest. 


Spend your mornings exploring the Gold Coast 

The Gold Coast is postcard-perfect no matter where you turn. It’s filled with incredibly stunning landscapes and truly mesmerising views that will have you picking your own jaw up off the ground. If you call it a night relatively early while you’re partying on the Gold Coast, you’re much more likely to wake up feeling fresh and ready to explore the surrounding areas. 


Waking up at a reasonable hour also means you can treat yourself to an indulgent brekkie at one of the many beautiful cafes on the Gold Coast or debrief the night over a strong coffee with your mates.



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