The old pub was knocked down and rebuilt in 2006, resulting in a modernised version that's been pretty popular with locals and tourists alike. All the old favourites – the pool tables, the views, the famous tree – remain in a fresh new venue that uses colours and curves to emulate the oceanside location. And, as I mentioned in my 2012 article, that view deserves to be seen from a beautiful location.
The atmosphere hasn't changed much. The Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel is still the sort of place you can head to straight from the beach; thongs are permitted and wet hair and bikinis under clothing are practically part of the dress code. The staff are friendly but, as with any good establishment in a laid back coastal town, don't expect to be served quickly. You're on Straddie time now.
Onto the Bistro, serving up decent pub food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My partner and I ordered the chicken and pineapple burger, and a seafood pizza. The burger was gigantic and tasty, but in my opinion, the pizza was the real showstopper. I believe that the measure of a good pizza is in its messiness – it should be so crammed full of toppings that each bite creates an avalanche. The Bistro's pizza passed the test, and with a crispy base that provided just enough crunch.
But the food, the service, the drinks, none of that really matters. The Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel wasn't built to be the best gastronomic experience of your life; it was built for summer days. So long as the days are hot and the beers are cold, you can easily spend a day here enjoying the view and watching the world pass you by.