Putting Coolangatta, QLD on the map as a Number 1 tourist destination, here on Australia’s Gold Coast is a dream slowly turning into reality for local business owners Donna and Steve Archdeacon. And it’s no surprise. Living and breathing the Gold Coast lifestyle for most of their lives, they have combined their loves of surfing, hospitality, tourism and food with a work-life balance, truly ‘Living the Dream’. Stepping through the doors of Cafe d'bar, restaurant and art gallery, it becomes evident that they couldn't have picked a more perfect location to do this.
Coolangatta’s popularity continues to rise with its pristine beaches, modest attitude and laid-back lifestyle, somewhat reminiscent of 1990’s Byron Bay. Truly still a hidden gem to many and a far contrast to the glitz and glamour that its Northern neighbours boast, ‘Cooly’ is a place that many world-class surfers call home.
If the locals have a say, it will stay that way, first and foremost a beach town thriving on surf culture and the ‘seachange’ lifestyle that many city-dwellers chase. And that’s exactly why Donna and Steve turned what was once your standard fish ‘n’ chip shop into the thriving art gallery, café, restaurant and unique gift store that it is today.
They have maintained the condition of the original 1925 Queenslander (with a good lick of paint!) but after taking over Café d’bar 5 years ago, the energy that they have brought to the building has transformed it into one of Coolangatta’s must-visit destinations. Overlooking Duranbah beach and opposite the Point Danger Lookout, this is a ‘home’ for the local community that is frequented by surfing royalty both residents and those passing through.
The most unique aspect of this café is not just the surf and seaside culture lingering in its crevices but the ever evolving mood and feel as you discover each room. From the ‘Bird Watching’ bar to the relaxed café, alfresco dining and a gallery featuring an array of work by talented local artists, there is something for everyone combining all of the best aspects of the area in one place.
The menu is regularly refreshed with the most sought after ingredients available during the season. From local produce to regular trips to Melbourne and Indonesia for inspiration for the gallery and the restaurant, Donna and Steve even manage to pick up eclectic home furnishings along the way. In addition, employing talented baristas to serve their own brand of d’bar Coffee, the cafe is consistently exceeding expectations amongst visitors.
The gallery alone is well worth a visit. Local artists are showcased within the gallery and updated every 6 weeks ensuring that you will discover something new with each stop-in. The strong community tie is the most important aspect to Donna and Steve in regards to this venture. For many, themselves included, Coolangatta is a place to grow up, live, work and raise families, Café d’bar continuously gives back and also provides free wall space for the up and coming artists, selling pieces on their behalf.
Combine all of this with their great food, spectacular views, culture, fun and a laid-back approach that you may not find anywhere else on the Coast, you simply must take the time to turn off the Pacific Highway and visit this jewel – You may even be inspired to start living your own dream!