The 40 Best Bars in Cape Town 2023

The 40 Best Bars in Cape Town 2023

There’s no shortage of hopping watering holes in the Mother City.

From speakeasy-style dives and boisterous pubs to swanky hotel lounges and rooftop gardens, we’ve rounded up the coolest bars in the city for all tastes and occasions.

Do you have a favourite? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Hotspots
Leftfield bars
Sophisticated bars
Rooftop bars
Rocking bars

Hotspots

The Athletic Club & Social

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: The Athletic Club and Social

Refined yet edgy, this three-storey venue has stirred up the nightlife scene in downtown Cape Town. Inside the grand old building, a labyrinth of nooks invites exploration: there’s The Trapezaria (a restaurant serving fantastic Greek fare), three distinct but equally stunning bars (with a separate canapé menu) and a speakeasy-like basement, The Trophy Room, where live jazz creates sexy magic. Staircases lead up to a balcony with views of Signal Hill and a maze of rooms, each more sumptuous and “extra” than the last – a whimsical design fantasy of colonial-meets-modern. This is a place with a story… get to know it and you’ll understand the name.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 12pm – 11pm
Friday – Saturday, 12pm – 2am (kitchen closes at 10pm)
Contact 021 012 5331, info@theathletic.co.za
Where to find it 35 Buitengracht Street, CBD, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

The Gin Bar

The Gin Bar Bars in Cape Town

Every good gin bar should have a good story. This innercity gem is hidden behind a chocolate shop, housed in a heritage building that used to be a mortuary – which, in a good way, informs the drinks menu and interiors. Take a seat in the Chapel Room or the charming courtyard, and order one of the five “medicinal” remedies (cocktails). If you’d rather go for a straight-up G&T, there are over 100 gins to choose from (80 of which are local). Gin not your thing? There’s wine and beer, too, plus the Bubbly Bar – tucked away in a corner, in what used to be the Embalming Room, it showcases the best of local cap classiques, including small lesser-known producers.
Opening times Monday – Wednesday, 5pm – late
Thursday – Saturday, 3pm – late
Contact 071 241 2277, hello@theginbar.co.za
Where to find it 64A Wale Street, CBD, Cape Town

The Blue Room

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: The Blue Room

This cocktail lounge and jazz club is a magnet for a “grown-up” night out that ticks all the boxes: top-notch drinks, fantastic food and great music. Expect sets by some of the country’s best musicians in an atmospheric speakeasy space – think candlelight, mirrors, leather seating and a curvy wooden ceiling. Patrons can settle in early with exquisite cocktails and small sharing plates, or enjoy a proper dinner (here or upstairs at chef Matt Manning’s Grub & Vine bistro), then disappear behind the blue curtains to enjoy the show.
Good to know The Saturday Brunch Club offers bottomless bubbly and a toe-tapping soundtrack to ease into the weekend.
Opening times Wednesday– Saturday, 6pm – late
Happy hour: Wednesday – Saturday, 4pm – 6pm
Saturday Brunch Club: 11am – 3pm
Contact 087 153 5244, info@mattmanningchef.com
Where to find it 103 Bree St, CBD, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

Hacienda

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Hacienda

The humming vibe, flowing tequila and toe-tapping playlist of cool Latin tracks at Hacienda all lean towards a memorable evening out. Luckily, there’s a roomy bar counter where you can settle in for the evening, as you work your way through the tipples. This cool “coastal Mexican” eatery has turned up the heat on Bree Street, with its gaucho-chic interiors (leather booths, dark-wood panelling, mosaic-tiled floors, ceramic drinkware) and its spice-flecked dishes and drinks (even the margaritas come in tajin spice-rimmed glasses). The menu is made to be shared, with the colourful trio of totopos (tortilla-like chips), served with three addictive salsas, making the ideal “bar snacks”… but you won’t want to stop there.
Good to know There are half-price margaritas from 4pm to 5.30pm, plus tequila and mezcal tastings, as well as a set food menu paired with tequila.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – late (kitchen closes at 10.30pm)
Contact 021 422 0128
Where to find it 92 Bree Street, CBD, Cape Town
Book through Dineplan

Asoka

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Asoka

Despite so many cool spots vying for attention on the Kloof Street strip, Asoka stands out – as it has for over a decade – for its intoxicating vibe and decadent food and drinks. That’s besides the fact that it’s built around a 150-year-old olive tree… Eastern, minimalist décor and candlelight provide the perfect backdrop for an evening of dining, drinking and dancing (Tuesdays is live jazz and house, and on weekends a selection of DJs hit the decks). The menu, inspired by the five elements, consists of delectable sharing plates, the perfect accompaniment for fresh cocktails. Come for dinner, stay for the rest! After all, asoka means “painless, without sorrow”…
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 2am (depends on curfew)
Contact 021 422 0909, info@asoka.za.com
Where to find it 68 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Publik

Publik Wine: Best Bars in Cape Town

This little bar is the stuff (sustainable) vino dreams are made of. With a slew of bottles from local organic farms and small artisans, you can be sure of tasting something new and exciting each time you visit. The vibe is lively, with everyone from suits to 20-somethings looking for a place to whet their whistle. And there’s a great selection of cured meats, cheeses and gourmet small plates (white anchovies, burrata, lamb belly strips) to snack on. If you want to learn while you sip, ask one of the resident connoisseurs for a breakdown of all things tannin-, tone- and nose-related.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4pm – 11pm
Saturday, 3pm – 8pm
Contact winebar@publik.co.za
Where to find it 11D Kloof Nek Road, Gardens, Cape Town

Grand Africa Café & Beach

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Grand Africa Cafe and Beach
Laura McCullagh

It’s the location that lures people here – to discover a beachside idyll unlike any other in Cape Town. There are stunning sea views, yes, but its private beach is what sets it apart, where you can eat, drink (and play) – Ibiza-style – with your toes in the sand. Housed in a restored boathouse, the interiors smack of old-world romanticism and laidback glamour. The menu offers all the popular classics (pizza, steak, pasta), while five bars ensure patrons have their choice of cocktails, bubbly, craft beer and excellent Cape wines. Add a star-studded DJ lineup, and it’s no wonder the crowds flock here for lunch, sundowners, dinner and after-dark beats under the swaying palms.
Good to know Reserve a table via Dineplan.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 11pm
Contact 021 425 0551, beach@grandafrica.com
Where to find it Granger Bay Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

The Art of Duplicity

Art of Duplicity: Best Bars in Cape Town

You don’t have to love cocktails to love this bar – but it helps! And not just your standard martini, but tipples concocted by barkeeps with a love of rare spirits, experimentation and molecular gastronomy. The drinks change often, but they’ve included ingredients such as butter-washed gin, grape air, quail eggs and bacon. Housed in a Victorian warehouse, moodily furnished to evoke a 1920s speakeasy, access is via a secret password and address clues are supplied when you book online. Patrons are encouraged to dress the part. It’s a little like being an extra in a movie and, in fact, the bar hosts vintage-movie nights, live jazz and blues bands.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 12am
Contact theartofduplicity@170120.co.za
Where to find it Now, that would be telling.

Talking to Strangers

New Restaurants: Talking to Strangers

There’s a new gathering place in town for fab cocktails, street food and great conversations. Talking to Strangers is the long-time-coming dream of bartender Nicholas Crouse (remember his inspired cocktails at the Café Noir pop-up at Origin last year?). He’s renovated a heritage building on Loop Street, brought in fellow master mixologist Leighton Rathbone, and in the kitchen chef MG Mzoneli cooks up tasty street food bites of deliciousness.
Nick says: “All the best people in my life I’ve met in a bar. It’s a magical place where there’s no pretence and you get to know people in a way that no other environment allows.” Head down to Loop and be introduced to the team’s favourite cocktails from the Boulevardier to the Acapulco Flor… and, er, get talking to strangers while you’re there.
Opened 1 June 2023
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – late
Contact 067 404 7343, info@talkingtostrangersbar.com
Where to find it 61 Loop Street, Cape Town

Aperitif

New Restaurant: Aperitif

The Italian aperitivo culture has a new home at the top of Bree Street. Aperitif is a chic but understated new bar from the guys behind Pizza Shed (on the same block of heritage cottages), and the focus is on stylish and relaxed cocktails and classic aperitivo spritzers (not to mention the house favourite – a cocoa Negroni served with caramelised orange dipped in chocolate). With its marble topped tables, sumptuous leather seats and crystal decanters it’s a Cape Town incarnation of la dolce vita and spills out onto the wide pavement for stylish summer streetside sipping.
Good to know There’s a wine list of small local producers and a snack menu of tapas-bites including bruschetta. And brunch on Sundays.
Opening times Tuesday – Thursday, 3pm – 11pm
Friday + Saturday, 12pm – 12pm
Sunday, 10am – 9pm
Contact 081 805 5312
Where to find it 227 Bree St, Cape Town

Leftfield bars

The House of Machines

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: The House of Machines

No cocktail umbrellas here… THoM is a motorbike workshop, men’s apparel shop and cool coffee shop by day, and a hipster cocktail bar by night – serving only the finest barrel-aged spirits, along with craft beer. With weathered beams, exposed bricks, subway tiles and a bike theme throughout, the mash-up pays homage to a bygone era while remaining decidedly of the moment. The service is lively yet always polished, and the eclectic soundtrack of (free) live bands every night makes it one of the Mother City’s finest music venues. Plus: bar snacks on Fridays come courtesy of Mochi Mochi.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 7am – late
Saturday, 9am – late
Contact 021 422 0946, workshop@thehouseofmachines.com
Where to find it 84 Shortmarket Street, CBD, Cape Town

Dust and Dynamite

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Dust and Dynamite Saloon

Stepping through the swing-doors into this candlelit bart, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled onto the set of a Tarantino movie. Decorated from head to toe in Wild West paraphernalia – an old honky-tonk piano against a wall, red theatre curtains and wood panelling everywhere – the bar has been described as the perfect place to sip a cold beer, relax and let your hair down after a long week. With a rocking alternative playlist (and occasional live bands) to match the interiors, and cowboy hats for guests to get into character, we recommend you push open those doors – not just for a beer but for an entire experience.
Opening times Tuesday – Friday, 3pm – 2am
Saturday, 6pm – 2am
Contact 076 677 2947, wayne@waynekeet.co.za
Where to find it 27 Caledon Street, East City, Cape Town

Leo’s Wine Bar

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Leo's Wine Bar

A low-key, wine-loving hangout with no delusions of grandeur, Leo’s Wine Bar takes over the Max Bagels premises on Bree Street at night, focusing on low-intervention wines from smaller local producers. The continuously changing winelist always has a strong selection of natural wines by the glass. Of course, the bar food menu features pizza bagels, as well as other snacks. Casual bench seating fills the pavement outside and the space regularly hosts cool foodie pop-ups and takeovers. Come for serious wines, and an easygoing ambience.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 5pm – 11pm
Contact 076 042 0224, matthew@leoswinebar.com
Where to find it 120 Bree Street, CBD, Cape Town

The Dark Horse

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: The Dark Horse

Once you’ve taken your first sip of a tongue-wagging cocktail and had a look around, you’ll realise this watering hole offers an eclectic cornucopia of delights. Electric-blue walls lined with vintage art, a large, sumptuous velvet couch, backlit bar, mirrored ceiling and a scattering of small tables create a plush yet whimsical atmosphere. The streetside patio is ideal for people-watching, while the rooftop deck has stunning views of Table Mountain. And there’s no need to leave this lovely spot to have dinner elsewhere – as the sibling of nearby Black Sheep restaurant, the menu has a selection of scrumptious (sustainably sourced) small plates.
Opening times Tuesday – Thursday, 4pm – 10pm
Friday & Saturday, 1pm – 10pm
Contact 021 422 0825, info@darkhorsebar.co.za
Where to find it 145 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town

Roxy Late Night

Roxy Late Night Bars in Cape Town

One of Cape Town’s coolest and longest-running haunts (it’s been rocking since the 70s) is the ever-popular Roxy’s. The easy-going boho café – a favourite among local artists and creatives – keeps things real with its down-to-earth vibe and friendly staff. Courtyard drinks in the early evening are always lovely, after which you might feel up to tackling the treacherously steep wooden stairs for a game of pool. The fact that it’s the only place in Cape Town whose kitchen stays open until 2am makes it our go-to spot for post-jol munchies.
Good to know There’s a daily R15 beer special (4pm – 6pm and 12am – 2am), plus there’s 2-for-1 tequila shots, margaritas and nachos on Tuesdays, and other regular specials.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 8am – 2am
Sunday, 12m – 10pm
Contact 021 461 8507, info@roxylatenight.com
Where to find it 14 Wandel Street, Dunkley Square, Gardens, Cape Town

The Power & The Glory

Power and the Glory: Best Bars in Cape Town

This heaving bistro is where locals gather to let off steam, down a few ales and listen to cool tunes. The bar section (aka The Black Ram), which opens at 5pm and pumps till late, is essentially a low-lit chill zone for smokers, but the vibe throughout is boisterously festive – especially in summer, when the sidewalk seating area heaves. Get here early if you want a seat. And do try the German-style hot dogs, which go down a treat with the thirst-quenching selection of craft beers. And the signature Pickle Back shooter (bourbon and pickle juice).
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 8am – 1am
Contact 021 213 1213 / 021 422 2108, accounts@thepowerandtheglory.co.za
Where to find it 13D Kloof Nek Road, Gardens, Cape Town

The Striped Horse

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: The Striped Horse

A few steps across the railway line from Surfers Corner, this is a true neighbourhood saloon. “Gypsy meets pirate shanty” is how the owner describes it, a place where overstaying your welcome is not only recommended, it’s encouraged! The mix of floral bordello couches and kitsch collectables, coupled with a Haldane Martin-designed bar counter, all add to the eclectic vibe. The large selection of tequila and mezcal comes all the way from Mexico; the cold craft beer on tap is local and lekker. Do try the Striped Horse Lager and the Twakkie Vuil Ale, inspired by the bar’s cute mutt.
Good to know There’s a regular, eclectic line-up of live bands or DJs.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 11am – late
Saturday, 11am – 1am; Sunday, 11am – 10pm
Contact 063 661 5713, info@thestripedhorse.co.za
Where to find it 12 York Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town

Rick’s Cafe Americain

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Rick's Cafe Americain

Inspired by the iconic movie Casablanca, Rick’s combines tasty food (mezze, tapas, steak, seafood, tagines, burgers) with retro and Moroccan decor in a grand old Victorian villa on one of Cape Town’s buzziest streets. It’s filled with cool corners to chill out in… The indoor dining rooms and moody piano lounge lead out onto a balcony over the street below, and the rooftop deck, with its couches, bench tables and views of Table Mountain, is the best spot for sundowners. However, having entered Rick’s via the aviator-themed bar on street level, you may end up going no further, as it boasts a 20-page drinks menu.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am – late
Kitchen: 12pm – 10pm (last order)
Happy hour: 3pm – 6pm, 10pm – 12am
Contact 021 822 1100, info@rickscafe.co.za
Where to find it 103 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

Cause | Effect Cocktail Kitchen

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Cause and Effect

Kurt Schlechter, James Phillips and their trusty band of mixologists are known for bold, expertly crafted tipples (earning them the No. 53 slot on the world’s best bar list for 2022). The inspired cocktail menu turns the traditional on its head, featuring adventurous flavour combos and interactive presentations that tell stories about Cape Town, channelling the fynbos, mountain, ocean and vineyards into a memorable experience. Sit at the bar and watch the maestros create liquid magic in contemporary surrounds – think copper stools, a stone-clad bar counter, hefty wooden tables and lush indoor hanging plants. The food menu features canapés, sliders, sharing boards and mains, with a comprehensive winelist. There are also four DIY tastings to explore, themed around Franschhoek spirits, craft gins and Cape brandies.
Good to know The Schweppes Lab offers a private 3-course cocktail and food pairing (R550).
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 1am
Contact 021 422 0266, info@causeandeffect.co.za
Where to find it The Rocket Shed, 280 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Sophisticated bars

The Drinkery

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: The Drinkery

Like all good speakeasies, you’ll find this one hidden away – above the courtyard of Heritage Square. Think ancient brick walls, seductive lighting, loungey seating and funky artworks (Ncumisa Spelling’s paintings often include regular patrons). New owners Aidan Mautschke and Günter Boisits – who’ve notched up years on the city’s nightlife scene – have reinvented the place with a focus on premium cocktails (around 20 signature tipples containing the likes of Japanese whisky, absinthe, mezcal, fruit liqueurs and floral gins) and a small winelist that draws connoisseurs. There’s also a snacking menu and a Martini Terrace, perfect for those trending negronis, aperitivos and spritzers… The soundtrack is fittingly jazzy, of course.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4pm – late
Saturday, 2pm – late
Contact 079 329 7026 or 082 464 4866, thedrinkerycapetown@gmail.com 
Where to find it Heritage Square, 100 Shortmarket Street, CBD, Cape Town

Taj Lobby Bar + Lounge

Taj Cape Town: New Refurb Lobby Lounge and Bar Lead

Step from the city streets into a world of fluted marble pillars, high vaulted ceilings and marble floors… the Taj hotel’s impressive grandeur dates from its history as Cape Town’s old Reserve Bank. Updated with a dash of contemporary colour and a patina of glamour, with opulent furnishings and armchairs you’ll want to sink deep into, it promises to be a sophisticated meeting place this season. Signature and classic cocktails (and mocktails), a curated menu of wines by the glass, draught beers, craft gins – your every sipping pleasure is shaken or stirred to perfection. Hungry? Order from a menu of often-Indian-inspired small plates and treats.
Good to know The adjoining whisky and cigar bar is a sophisticated space to browse the extensive collection and contemplate the finer things in life.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 8am – 10pm
Happy Hour: Monday – Friday, 5pm – 7pm
Contact 021 819 2000, restaurants.capetown@tajhotels.com
Where to find it 1 Wale Street, corner of St Georges Mall, CBD, Cape Town

Culture Wine Bar

Adjacent to Grub & Vine bistro on Bree Street is Culture Wine Bar, stocked with one of the most extensive collections of the finest SA wines, including rare gems and cult classics, and globally sourced picks from the “Wanderlist” (a special leather-covered menu available on request). The bar is sophisticated, cosy and moody – all leather booths and exposed brickwork – making it a wonderful spot to unwind with friends over a glass or two. Try something new, learn more about wine and engage with the sommelier and other fundis at the weekly Vine Night, Culture Club and other bespoke events – sans the snobbery. The fabulous bistro kitchen takes care of the gourmet bites to enjoy with your wine. There are beers and spirits on offer too.
Good to know If you’re truly, madly, deeply in love with wine culture, sign up for membership of The Wine Library upstairs.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 2am
Contact 076 256 8654, wine@culturewinebar.com
Where to find it 103 Bree St, CBD, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

Vermouth

This vibey new cocktail and tapas joint in the city centre, in one of the last-remaining heritage buildings in this area, is the latest addition to Johnny Papadakis’ stable of lively watering holes (he’s the hospitality entrepreneur behind Hank’s Olde Irish and Love Thy Neighbour). As its name suggests, Vermouth shines the spotlight on aperitifs and superb cocktails, with a thoughtful winelist and short menu of classic tapas enhancing the offering. Think oysters with martinis; crayfish tails on brioche with negronis; chimichurri beef skewers with gin slings. Or just kick off an evening in town sipping Aperol spritz or Pimm’s with a side order of moody lighting and urban cool.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 5pm – 12am
Contact 082 341 0669, @vermouth_on_strand
Where to find it 78 Strand Street, CBD, Cape Town

Incognito

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Incognito Bar

This chic, modern bar (housed on the terrace in a steel-and-glass pergola of sorts) is a buzzy addition to the perfectly manicured gardens and historic architecture of the Alphen Boutique Hotel. The lovely views, plush décor and superb selection of cocktails and wines (most available by the glass) make it a fab spot for special celebrations, after-work drinks, pre-dinner palate warmers or sophisticated date nights. The food menu offers an array of lip-smacking options, from nibbles and small plates to sliders, platters and pizza, and there’s live music or DJs to kick off the weekend sundowners.
Good to know Book for one of the low-key daytime pool parties on Saturdays and Sundays in summer, complete with DJs and waiter service.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4pm –11pm
Saturday + Sunday, 12pm – 11pm
Contact 021 795 6300, managers@incognitobar.co.za
Where to find it Alphen Drive, Constantia, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

The Planet Bar

Chic, laidback and unfailingly luxe, this bar at the iconic Mount Nelson hotel is just as suitable for spontaneous after-work drinks as it is for special occasions. People-watch from the terrace with a glass of champers in summer, soaking up the majestic views of the beautiful gardens or the starry night sky. Or curl up by the fire in one of the plush celestial-themed alcoves in winter. In addition to a superb and comprehensive list of wines, spirits and cocktails (taste signature drinks from famed Belmond hotels around the world), the bar snacks menu is one of the best in town – it even includes delectable pairings of cognac with chocolate. Service, of course, is always warm and professional.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – late
Contact 021 483 1000, restaurantreservations.mnh@belmond.com
Where to find it 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town

Grand Pavilion

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Grand Pavillion

Bringing a slice of the Riviera to Sea Point, Grand Pavilion is one of those places where morning, noon and night seem to blend seamlessly into one another. The beautifully decked-out space on Beach Road overlooks the Promenade and is all the rage for brunches, mid-afternoon coffee, after-work drinks and vibey dinners. It has two sections that are like night and day: the glass-fronted Pavilion in front, all fresh, light and greenery-filled, with sofas and tables; and Harry’s at the back, a 1920s-style bar-restaurant with a decadent, moodier feel.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am – 11pm
Contact 021 206 6360, info@grandpavilion.co.za 
Where to find it Mimosa Court, 277 Beach Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

OpenWine

Wine Bars 2022: Openwine Street View

This cosy locale on Wale Street is oenophile heaven. The Italian concept store (or enoteca) was opened back in 2016, the first of its kind in Cape Town – serving South African wines “in the French/Italian way”. Sit at the convivial bar or in a pavement-facing window seat, or cosy up in the plush lounge, with a bottle or glass of your choice (from over 200 options!). There’s also a cellar downstairs where you can enjoy an informative tasting, plus live jazz jams on Sunday afternoons. To go with your wine, a selection of antipasti, of course! A constantly changing blackboard menu pairs dishes with specific wines, plus there’s a pizza oven. Openwine also stocks a range of craft beers and spirits.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 11pm
Sunday, 2pm – 11pm
Contact 079 944 2754, info@openwineza.co.za
Where to find it 72 Wale Street, CBD, Cape Town

Kloof Street House

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Kloof Street House

Housed in a grande dame Victorian house, this cool courtyard restaurant, set back from the busy high street, is like stepping into the pages of The Great Gatsby. Hidden from view, you might miss it but, once inside, you’ll be happy you didn’t. The twinkling fairy lights and velvet cushions that line the garden seating area, together with the warmly lit, cosy interiors, make this one of Kloof Street’s most romantic haunts for a special occasion, date night or a no-excuses-needed drinks party. Relax under the trees in the magical garden with a cool cocktail and a seafood platter to share, or settle into a plush chair in one of the dining rooms for a brasserie-style meal.
Good to know “Never-ending mimosas” with brunch (until 12pm), or a lunchtime live-jazz set on Sunday, have the makings of an unforgettable afternoon in the innercity.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – late (kitchen closes 11.30pm)
Monday, 12pm – late
Contact 021 423 4413, info@kloofstreethouse.co.za
Where to find it 30 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Rooftop bars

Gigi Rooftop

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Gigi

Perched atop Gorgeous George (a designer hotel in the innercity, whose name says it all), this chic watering hole centres around an inviting, emerald-green swimming pool. Its oasis-like deck, coupled with exquisite interior design (courtesy of some of the city’s hottest talents), evokes the home of a world traveller. Mixologist Leighton Rathbone’s African-inspired cocktails (from alcoholic to zero ABV) are the perfect accompaniment to whiling away an afternoon. Then stay for sunset, and party until late under the fairylights.
Good to know A food menu is available if you’re feeling peckish, including mezze, sharing plates and coal-grilled meats.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 7am – late
Restaurant: Monday – Sunday, 7am – late
Contact 021 612 0999, hello@gorgeousgeorge.co.za
Where to find it 118 St George’s Mall, CBD, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Tjing Tjing

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: Tjing Tjing

This 200-year-old building in the city centre unfolds a string of cool surprises and beautiful spaces. Head to the third floor – the attic – for a hidden-gem rooftop bar, a splendid spot to socialise and watch the world go by to the sounds of ice-cool electro-indie beats. The terrace is small and cosy, only adding to the sense of having stumbled upon a secret club. Order your drinks from a red shrine-inspired bar (the list includes Japanese whisky, sake and gin). Enjoy them with street food typically found in yokocho (alleys) and soak up the unique atmosphere and Tokyo subculture decor that makes this one a stand-out.
Good to know At street level, you’ll find Tjing Tjing Torii for Japanese street food; on the middle floor is reservations-only Momiji Restaurant (for a seasonal set menu) and its Momiji Lounge, an intimate bar that seats 20.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 4pm – late
Kitchen closes at 10pm
Contact 021 422 4374, info@tjingtjing.co.za
Where to find it 165 Longmarket Street, CBD, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

Skye Rooftop Bar

Skye Rooftop Bar Hyde Hotel

You probably won’t find a better spot for sundowners in Sea Point than this slick bar, secretly perched seven floors above the humming streets. It beckons with a sparkling pool deck, 360-degree views, tasty food, crafty cocktails and an upbeat vibe. A scattering of tables, with unhindered views of the Atlantic Ocean, is covered by a retractable roof (when needed, shelter from UV rays or rain). In addition to wine, beers, bubbly and spirits, there’s a vast cocktail list of classics and innovative creations, such as Hyde gimlets, blueberry gin sours and red pepper caipirinhas. If the views, drinks and nibbly bits aren’t enough to twist your arm, there’s an array of specials every day of the week.
Good to know Skye Bar offers a dining menu that pays homage to owner Rod Hemphill’s Mozambican roots – think prawn-and-chorizo pasta and gourmet prego rolls.
Opening times Monday – Friday + Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Friday + Saturday, 12pm – 2am
Happy hour: 5pm – 7pm
Contact 021 434 0205, fb@thehydehotel.com
Where to find it The Hyde Hotel, 13 London Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

RED Roof Bar

Red Roof at the Radisson Red Hotel

No hotel is complete without a good bar – but this one takes it to the next level (or should we say 7th level?). We’re talking about a red-hot venue atop the no-ordinary Radisson RED hotel in the Silo District. This vibrant rooftop sun terrace with its sexy sliver of a lap pool boasts killer views – of city, ocean, mountain and Zeitz MOCAA’s incredible glasswork – making it the perfect spot for a sundowner soirée. The bright red bar truck serves beers on tap, cocktails and smoothies, and you can order delectable bites like cheese and jalapeno balls, wraps, pizza and spare ribs.
Good to know Check out the Gin Dispensary in the hotel’s OUIBar, for tastings and blending your own botanical mix.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 12am
Contact 087 086 1578, baxter@radissonred.com
Where to find it Silo Square, S Arm Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Chinchilla

Chinchilla Bar

This cool and contemporary rooftop bar on the Camps Bay strip, with its killer views of the beach and ocean a stone’s throw away, is the ideal place to while away the hours sipping on cocktails and listening to cool beats. With its greenery, natural materials (wood, rattan, cane, basketry) and pops of colour, it feels like a bohemian tropical beach shack – just more well-heeled. A menu of sushi, “bar bites”, platters and café classics (seafood, steaks, burgers) means that you can stay fuelled up.
Good to know On Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, resident DJs spin cool tunes from 5pm to 9pm. No admission for under-18s after 4pm.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4pm – 10pm
Saturday + Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Contact 021 286 5075, managers@chinchillarooftop.co.za
Where to find it The Promenade, 201 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

Rocking bars

fable

Fable Cape Town

The Smoking Devil, the Watcher of the South, the Flying Dutchman, the Karoo Beauty… all local legends, and now legendary cocktails. The inventive line-up of drinks at fable pulls in a discerning crowd with its novel approach to lighting up the night. Not only do the drinks push the envelope, the entire place is a story waiting to unfold… layered, multidimensional and full of surprises. You don’t only come here to drink – you come for the vibe: when the DJs ramp up the beats, the atmosphere goes into hyperdrive as punters pivot from cocktails to Jagerbombs. A serious buzz ensues. There’s a small food menu to match the party state-of-mind (think bourbon grilled cheese with bitters-infused butter; sake-glazed sticky chicken wings; a burger with Grand Marnier-infused aioli and bitters-pickled onions).
Opening times Tuesday – Thursday, 5pm – late
Friday + Saturday, 4pm – late
Contact 066 009 7786, info@fablecocktailbar.capetown 
Where to find it Corner of Bree and Wale Streets, CBD, Cape Town
Book Through DinePlan

Tiki Tomb Bar

Best Bars: Tiki Tomb Bar

Tropical island vibes on Bree Street? Tiki Tomb pays homage to the originators of Tiki culture, with an eclectic, vintage-inspired hand-built bar filled with intriguing objects from around the world. Hidden away downstairs, below Boma on Bree, this exotic bar is taking Tiki energy to the next level with drinks served in anything from a bowl shaped like a shrunken monkey skull, a Tiki head or a coconut. So walk into a land that time forgot, relax, get your hula on and escape in spirit to a tropical island getaway, sipping lavish tiki-inspired cocktails – think a Mai Tai, Zombie, Pina Colada or perhaps a Singapore Sling…
Opening 5 October 2023
Opening times Wednesday – Saturday, 5pm – late
Contact 076 070 4474
Where to find it 107A Bree Street, CBD, Cape Town

The Jagger Lounge

Best Bars in Cape Town 2022: The Jagger Lounge

This pumping bar and restaurant on Shortmarket Street offers a vibey atmosphere in which to enjoy live performances from talented hip-hop and RnB artists and DJs (it’s owned by a trio of real-life music industry stalwarts). Flattering lighting, velvety surfaces and booth seating combine into a glam package. Along with a tasty menu of favourites (pizza, burgers, pasta, prawns, steak, spicy chicken wings), the hotspot also has an extensive selection of spirits and cocktails. Add signature Tribe coffee, and a Sunday braai party with music, and it’s no wonder it’s a hit around the clock.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 7am – 2am
Contact 061 475 1046, info@thejaggerlounge.com
Where to find it 74 Shortmarket Street, CBD, Cape Town

Cabo Beach Club

Swaying palm trees, a walk-in pool, cool beats, powdery sand underfoot, endless sea views and the whiff of piña coladas in the air… Cabo is an unexpectedly gorgeous set-up in the midst of Cape Town’s docklands. The space draws inspiration from the international beach club scene (Ibiza, Cancún, Mykonos, Bali) merged with its uniquely South African setting. Think flokati sofas and striped cabanas, exquisite sculptural lighting and a bar inspired by sea-weathered rock. The menu, a collaboration between head chef Ashwin Isaacs and culinary director Ryan Cole, is upscale yet accessible – from luxurious seafood platters to the more casual burgers and sandwiches. The open-plan sushi bar doles out delicious morsels, while Neapolitan-style pizzas are served hot from the wood-fired pizza oven on the beach.
Opening times Friday – Saturday, 12pm – 11pm
Sunday, 12pm – 5pm
Contact 021 137 5401, 071 419 8806 (WhatsApp), info@cabobeachclub.co.za
Where to find it 12 S Arm Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Anthem

New Restaurants: Anthem

Big Apple meets Japan in Cape Town! Three New Yorkers are bringing a vibey cocktail and eating experience to Loop Street, renovating the historic building and injecting it with the energy and pizzazz of their New York background, and an overlay of traditional Japanese style. Bartender Tetsuo Hasegawa and business partner DJ Shigefumi Kabashima have a long history of legendary Japanese bars in NY and craft cocktails. Co-owner New York chef Elyas Popa is creating a small plates food menu, (focussed on local ingredients with Japanese preparations and techniques), designed to pair with the cocktails. Expect live jazz and blues and a new evenings-only hotspot to add to the Cape Town scene.
Opening October 2023
Where to find it 63 Loop Street, Cape Town

Discover all of the Cape’s hidden gems – subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Add new comment

Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 10 November 2022

3 Responses to “The 40 Best Bars in Cape Town 2023”

  1. Ilse Wocke

    Please subscribe me – thanks Ilse

    Reply
  2. Joseph Neethling

    You left out one of the finest whiskey bars in Capetown. BASCULE WHISKY BAR at the Cape Grace hotel. Why?

    Reply
  3. Jennifer Crocker

    Kind of surprised not to see Cafe Noir on this list?

    Reply