Discover Emerald’s Must-Visit Hidden Bar  

October 4, 2023
The lush oasis of Hops & Vine tapas bar in Emerald, Queensland with pendant lights and a hanging garden

Nestled in the heart of Emerald, Queensland lies a secret establishment known only to locals and savvy visitors. It’s called Hops & Vine Tapas Bar, and it’s quickly earned a reputation as one of Emerald’s best bars and a must-visit for anyone looking for Emerald’s best restaurant experiences.  

Hidden behind unassuming wrought-iron gates, the bar is more than just a place to grab a drink—it’s a journey into a world of sophisticated cocktails, personable service and culinary delights.  

The Journey Begins 

Imagine walking through large iron gates and descending a ramp, where you’re transported into a lush oasis. Leather lounges invite you to sink in, pendant lights cast a warm glow, and a hanging garden, alongside sleek black tiles and an aged cast iron wall, set the scene for an evening of relaxation and conversation. This is Hops & Vine, a bar designed with a sophisticated audience in mind, where the hustle of daily life fades away, and the focus shifts to catching up over a drink or a meal that tantalises your taste buds. 

A Labour of Love 

Shawn Michelmore, a proud Emerald local, opened Hops & Vine in October 2020 amidst the challenges of COVID. His vision was clear: to introduce something unique to his beloved hometown, which was previously home to just four traditional pubs. With Hops & Vine, Shawn has not only added a vibrant spot to Emerald’s nightlife but has also introduced a tapas-style menu that is unique in the area. 

Unique Flavours Await 

The tapas at Hops & Vine are a revelation, boasting dishes you won’t find anywhere else in Emerald. Must-tries include the sweet and sour lamb ribs; baked Brie with strawberry vinegarette; and toasted garlic and cheese hummus naan, each dish promising a burst of flavour and a memorable dining experience. It would remiss not to also mention the signature dessert, the cast iron cookie, which is baked in a cast iron dish and served warm. The flavours rotate monthly, and this month’s Easter-inspired iteration is a chocolate chip cookie served with vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce and an Easter egg.  

However, the uniqueness doesn’t stop at the food. Hops & Vine prides itself on its selection of craft beers from across Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales. Favourites like Burleigh Big Head, Twisted Palms, and Young Henrys make an appearance, with a feature beer on tap that changes up monthly. For wine lovers, there’s an array of specialty wines, the likes of which you won’t find at your local BWS including a Malbec from Argentina, Grenache from Adelaide’s McLaren Vale or a Barbera from Italy.  

A Cocktail Lover’s Haven 

It only takes a quick scan of the cocktail menu to realise this venue means business. Hops & Vine offers an impressive list of 53 cocktails, including both signature and classic options. The bar is particularly known for its take on a French martini, while other signature cocktails like the Sour Candy Slushie and Chilli Margaritas, made with house-made chilli-infused tequila, are sure to delight. 

Tech No Thursday: Unplug and Play  

In an era dominated by screens, Hops & Vine introduces “Tech No Thursday,” a night dedicated to unplugging and reconnecting. Guests are encouraged to set aside their devices and engage in hotly contested matches of Scrabble, Uno, or Pictionary while they feast on Hops & Vine’s phenomenal fare, perfectly complemented by a curated selection of cocktails, specialty wines and craft beers.  

More Than Just a Bar

Shawn’s love for Emerald shines through in everything Hops & Vine offers. He appreciates the town’s convenience, community spirit, and the balance it strikes between peaceful country living and access to larger city amenities. Hops & Vine embodies this balance, providing a sophisticated yet welcoming space where locals and visitors alike can enjoy top-notch food and drinks. 

Eat, Relax & Explore: Emerald, Queensland  

Local Tips with Hops & Vine owner, Shawn Michelmore 

Casual Eats & Takeaway:

King’s Coffee House – Located in The Plaza shopping centre, King’s is my go-to for a quick, tasty lunch, BLTs or a chicken wrap. 

Blah, Blah Sandwich Bar – Great for quick eats and a coffee. 


The Botanic Gardens – There are so many nice picnic spots by the river which flows through the park. If it’s a beautiful day out you can order takeaway tapas or a wood fired pizza from Hops & Vine and enjoy it by the river in the gardens. Order via the Bopple app for added convenience!

Local’s Tip:

Hops & Vine serves food all day – not just during the lunch and dinner windows – so you won’t get caught out if you’re looking to sate your appetite in the late afternoon or evening.

When to visit

Hops & Vine 
6-12 Opal St, Emerald 
Open Wednesday and Thursday 5.00pm – 9.00pm, Friday and Saturday 12noon until late, Sunday 12noon until 8.00pm 

The Travellers’ Series brings you, our valued guests, recommendations for the incredible local cafes, restaurants, attractions and other businesses that make regional centres unique. 

It’s difficult to fully describe the high quality of our stay. For a start the unit was immaculate with everything supplied for a long stay…

– Bill and Nonie

Was very impressed by the service on arrival and the rooms were very modern and most importantly clean. Thank you for a great stay.

– George M

Nothing was a bother for the staff, they were friendly and helpful. I would recommend staying here especially for family holidays.

– Donna H

Only stayed one night for an event, but can’t say enough about this little gem. I’ve come to expect poor pillows in hotels be was very happily proved wrong here.

– Lisa S

The apartment was very well equipped with everything you could need – coffee machine, washer and dryer, full kitchen. Perfect!

– Janne K

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