The 40 Best Bars in Cape Town 2019

The 40 Best Bars in Cape Town 2019 Bobo's Brasserie

When it comes to watering holes, there’s no shortage of them in the Mother City. These are our favourites…

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

If you know of an awesome hangout you think we should know about, please let us know in the comments below.

Perennially hot

1. The Athletic Club & Social

Athletic Club: The Best Bars in Cape Town

With tasselled bucket chairs covered in velvet, herringbone wooden floors decked with layers of Persian rugs, leather booths and marble tabletops, this sophisticated watering hole feels like a dream you can touch. Housed in a restored three-storey heritage building dating back to 1900, it’s home to three bars and a restaurant. Drenched in history, the building once served as an underground speakeasy of sorts where people from all walks could socialise (without being arrested for violating the Group Areas Act during apartheid).
As for the food (Mediterranean-style tapas), it’s excellent, as is the service and ambience.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 12pm – 11pm
Friday – Saturday, 12pm – 2am (kitchen closes at 10pm)
Contact 021 012 533,
Where to find it 35 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town

2. The Art of Duplicity

Art of Duplicity: Best Bars in Cape Town

Hidden in a former warehouse at the back of an 1894 storefront, this roaring speakeasy in Cape Town’s East City takes its cue from the prohibition Twenties, an era during which illegal establishments thrived on high society’s debaucherous lifestyles. As such, you’ll find Mae West and Al Capone lookalikes enjoying the vibe – and top-drawer tipples – though the dress code is not obligatory.
The drinks Mixology god Brent Perremore is behind some of the best cocktail menus in Cape Town, and has upped the ante with a selection that has as much substance as it has style. Alas, the best does come at a price. Cocktails range between R120 and R160.
The food If you’re hungry, we recommend the charcuterie and cheese platter. It’s divine.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 12am
Where to find it Now, that would be telling…

3. The House of Machines

House of Machines: The Best Bars in Cape Town

THoM or The House, as it’s affectionately known, is a motorbike workshop, café, and men’s apparel shop by day; and a cultishly cool cocktail bar by night. And, somehow, added to this eclectic mix, is a much loved café. It doesn’t get more nonconformist than a speakeasy-themed space selling coffee, café racers, collared shirts and classic cocktails all under one dimly lit roof!
The eclectic decor – weathered wooden beams, exposed bricks and a bike theme throughout – pays homage to a bygone era while remaining decidedly contemporary. The service is lively, a little hammed up during cocktail hour yet always polished. Chill with an Old Fashioned on the paved sidewalk, and soak up the scene.
Good to know As if The House of Machines wasn’t hot enough, a branch opened in the States in 2018, on the streets of Los Angeles, no less, as well as in Tokyo.The LA kitchen is managed by Bruce Kalman, a well-known restaurateur on the Los Angeles food scene, and a current contestant on Top Chef! While the bar is headed by the legendary Amanda Colom (aka Bad Birdy), whose 142 000+ Instagram followers are testament to her serious skills, down-to-earth attitude, and cool energy. The theme of the restaurant takes inspiration from the Cape Town original, a favourite for motorcycle patrons who prize good music, savvy design, industrial-strength coffee and quality tipples. Rumour has it that THoM will be opening in other cities across the globe in the next few months…
Opening times Monday – Friday, 7am – late
Saturday, 9am – late
Contact 021 426 1400,
Where to find it 84 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

4. The Gin Bar

Gin Bar: The Best Bars in Cape Town

Tucked neatly behind Honest Chocolate Café in the CBD, this dedicated gin bar is all about quality rather than quantity. The menu comprises five cocktails (Hope, Head, Ambition, Heart, and Soul) and, of course, G&Ts for the purists – where you get to choose the tonic water of your choice (the owners believe that the accompanying tonic is just as essential to the mix as the spirit is). There’s a charming courtyard out back, and a downstairs section that’s currently being turned into something exciting. Subscribe to our newsletter, and we’ll keep you posted.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 5pm – 12am
Friday – Saturday, 3pm – 1.30am
Contact 071 241 2277,
Where to find it 64A, Wale Street, Cape Town

5. The Power and The Glory

Power and the Glory: Best Bars in Cape Town
City by Mouth

This heaving bistro on Kloofnek is where locals and cool kids gather to let off steam, down a few ales, and listen to cool tunes. The bar section, which opens at 5pm and pumps till late, is essentially a low-lit chill zone for smokers, but the vibe throughout is boisterously festive. You must try the German-style hot dogs, which go down a treat with the thirst-quenching selection of craft beers.
Insider tip: Get there early on Friday nights, when revellers spill onto the pavement.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 8am – 1am
Saturday, 9am – 1am
Contact 021 422 2108,
Where to find it 13B Kloof Nek Road, Cape Town

6. La Parada Constantia Nek

La Parada Constantia Nek: Best Bars in Cape Town

The iconic century-old building at the Constantia Nek circle is home to La Parada, where Spanish-style tapas and an extensive bar menu keep guests satisfied from noon till late every day. Come Sundays, the spacious outside area becomes Party Central when DJ René spins a set of familiar upbeat tunes, accompanied by his trusty percussionists, attracting Capetonians (and foreigners) from far and wide.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 9am – 12am
Friday – Sunday, 8am – 12am
Contact 021 795 0620, book through DinePlan
Where to find it 1 Hout Bay Road, Constantia, Cape Town

8. Yours Truly/ Up Yours

Yours Truly: The Best Bars in Cape Town

Shrouded in greenery, Yours Truly is a chilled bar-café on the ever-buzzy Kloof Street, which allows revellers to truly feel the rhythm and energy of the Mother City. Situated next to a backpackers’ lodge, it’s a popular hangout for student travellers, the beard-and-tattoo brigade, and anyone who enjoys delicious pizzas (the Deluxe is a personal favourite), tangy sandwiches, and cold beer on tap.
As the sun starts setting and the place fills up, move on up to the Up Yours rooftop terrace, where super-cool local DJs and live acoustic sessions take things to the next level (pun intended). If you’re lucky, resident bulldog Molly, who is just the cutest, might make a guest appearance.
Insider tip No reservations, so come early.
Opening times Yours Truly Kloof Street: Monday – Sunday, 7am – 12pm
Up Yours: Monday – Sunday 3pm – 10pm
Contact 021 426 2587,
Where to find it 73 Kloof Street, Cape Town

9. The Commissary

Commissary: Best Bars in Cape Town

From the international-award-winning team behind The Shortmarket Club, comes this no-fuss casual bar and eatery where unfathomably delicious dishes and top-notch tipples are the order of the evening. Under the mentorship of Luke Dale Roberts, talented chef Wesley Randles of The Shortmarket Club heads the kitchen, with seasoned restaurateur Simon Widdison overseeing the front of house.
Located in the space formerly occupied by Outrage of Modesty, the colourful 45-seater is well-suited to modern diners who have things to do and places to go.
Whet your whistle with a vast selection of wines, innovative cocktails, and local beers. And, if you’re hungry, tuck into casual, flavour-packed plates, such as fig-leaf baked ricotta, octopus sliders, beef tartare, Korean-fried chicken, Massaman lamb-curry roti, pork katsu sliders, and panna cotta with peaches.
Good to know No reservations are taken to prior to arrival as tables are seated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Opening times
Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 422 2902,
Where to find it 88 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

10. Tiger’s Milk Kloof Street

Tiger's Milk Kloof Street: Best Bars in Cape Town

This popular Kloof Street hotspot is a firm favourite for its vibey atmosphere, cool cocktails and satisfying snacks. Whether you’re in the mood for a post-work wind-down in the shape of an Aperol Spritz, or are looking for an buzzy spot to share a plate of nachos and a cold beer while watching the rugby with friends, TM won’t disappoint.
Good to know The road-facing Bar Splendido is littered with an intimate number of small tables, offering a more relaxed experience. Or, if you’re less of a town rat and more of scenery-seeker, then visit their Muizenberg branch for the same tasty grub and tipples, but in a surfer-dotted, seaside setting.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 12am
Contact 021 286 2209,
Where to find it 55 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town

11. Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar

Tjing Tjing: Best Bars in Cape Town

Located on the third level of a 200-year-old building in Longmarket Street, the rooftop bar at Tjing Tjing is a great spot to watch the world below go by. The ice-cool beats and Japanese snacks make this metropolitan locale, perfect for a relaxed sundowner or a celebratory drink.
Insider tip At street level, you’ll find Torii, where the pulsating pace, ultra-cool electro-indie beats, Harajuku-inspired decor and on-the-ball service are the perfect backdrop for flavour-popping, Japanese street food.
The first floor is home to the low-slung, reservations-only Momiji Lounge & Bar, and the cool and composed Momiji restaurant, where diners can enjoy a multiple-course menu that pays homage to the seasons.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, from 5pm until late
Contact 021 422 4920,
Where to find it 165 Longmarket Street, Cape Town

12. RED Roof at the Radisson Red Hotel

Red Rooftop: Best Bars in Cape Town

No hotel is complete without a good bar – but we’re don’t mean those stuffy places where suits gather for a drink before going to bed; we’re talking about a red-hot venue where some of the best parties in town go down! It’s called the RED Roof Bar – and it sits atop the Radisson RED Hotel in the buzzed-about Silo District. More than just a bar, this rooftop sun terrace and pool deck boasts killer views – of the sea and Table Mountain – making it the perfect place for sunset cocktails.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 10.30am – 11pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 12am
Contact 087 086 1578,
Where to find it Radisson RED Hotel, South Arm Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

For a lick of grunge and grit

1. Dust and Dynamite

Dust and Dynamite: The Best Bars in Cape Town

Stepping into this rocking, rodeo-style saloon on Caledon Street, you’ll feel like you’ve been dropped onto the set of a Spaghetti Western. Decorated from head to toe in all kinds of Wild West paraphernalia – cowboy hats dangling from the ceiling, swinging saloon doors, bright-red theatre curtains, an old honky-tonk piano against a wall, and wood panelling everywhere – the bar has been described by La Tête’s Giles Edwards as “the perfect place to sip a cold beer and relax after a long week in the kitchen”.
With a rocking playlist to match the interiors, we recommend you swing open the saloon doors – not just for a beer but for an entire experience.
Opening times Tuesday – Friday, 3pm – 2am
Saturday, 6pm – 2am
Contact 076 677 2947,
Where to find it 27 Caledon Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

2. Lefty’s Dive Bar

Lefty's Dive Bar: Best Bars in Cape Town
City by Mouth

A rustic boozer with lorry loads of character, this dark and smokey dive bar might not be for everyone, but could be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re after a hole-in-the-wall vibe, off the beaten path. We love the ribs, widely known as the best in town, as well as their American-style fried chicken on waffles with syrup.
Insider tip Feel like a bowl of ramen or a bao? Walk upstairs to Downtown Ramen for some tasty Asian street food.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 11pm
Contact 021 461 0407,
Where to find it 105 Harrington Street, Cape Town

3. Roxy Late Night

Roxy Late Night: Best Bars in Cape Town

One of Dunkley Square’s oldest and coolest haunts is the ever-popular Roxy’s. The easygoing 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 like to attempt the treacherously steep wooden staircase 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 a post-jol snack.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 8am – 2am
Contact 021 461 8507,
Where to find it Roxy Late Night, 14 Wandel Street, Cape Town

4. Aces n Spades

Aces n Spades: Best Bars in Cape Town
Laura McCullagh

A veritable Cape Town institution since its opening in 2012, this rock ’n roll bar in the centre of the city is where locals either begin their night, end their night, or spend their night! Forever packed to the brim with crowds of music enthusiasts, groups of friends looking to catch up over a cold beer, and night owls in the mood to dance away their troubles, this famed bar is the obvious answer to any “‘where should we go next?” whispers.
Good to know Happy Hour is from 4pm to 8pm: half-price on selected drinks. Each day between between 1pm and 4pm, you can get a pizza plus a cider, rosé, or beer for just R65! Pizza is also served each night until 10pm. Songbirds, don’t miss their Rock ’n Roll Karaoke Wednesdays.
Opening times Wednesday – Friday, 1pm until late
Saturday, 8pm to late
Contact 021 424 1620,
Where to find it 62 Hout Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

5. Dark Horse Bar

Dark Horse: Best Bars in Cape Town

When this new kid on the Kloof Street block opened towards the end of 2018, locals’ ears were pricking up all over town. From the same owners as the popular Black Sheep across the way, the aptly named watering hole serves a selection of tasty tipples (think lemon-drop martinis, gin fizz and classic Manhattans) and delectable tapas-inspired dishes. The interior is plush and moody décor, with front benches offering the perfect place to people watch, and an outside deck boasting wonderful views of the mountain.
Opening times Wednesday – Saturday, 4pm until late
Contact 021 422 0825,
Where to find it 145 Kloof Street, Cape town

6. The Striped Horse Bar & Grill

Striped Horse: The Best Bars in Cape Town

“Gypsy-meets-pirate-shanty” is how the owner of this saloon bar describes The Striped Horse, where overstaying your welcome is not only recommended, it’s encouraged! The mixture of floral bordello couches and kitsch paraphernalia, coupled with a Haldane Martin-designed bar counter all add to the eclectic vibe.
The food is simple and delicious, while the tequila comes all the way from Mexico, and the cold craft beer on tap is local and lekker. You must try the Striped Horse Lager, which has its own African fable attached: a wild white horse that battled a baboon for control of a fresh watering hole.
Good to know Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the latest events. Stop by on Taco Thursdays: two tacos, a pint of beer and a tequila for R100!
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 10am to late
Friday, 12pm – 1am
Saturday, 11am – 1am
Sunday, 11am – 9pm
Contact 021 788 2979,
Where to find it Striped Horse, 12-14 York Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town

7. The Village Idiot

Laura McCullagh

From the duo behind Aces ’n’ Spades, this neighbourhood pub-style eatery just up the road attracts crowds by day and night, for all occasions. The large space is divided into a bar area that’s presided by an oversized ostrich named Oskar, lounge, dining area and pool(table) room. The spot absolutely hums in the evenings, especially on weekends, when both the dancefloor and outside balcony heaves with Cape Town’s most avid revellers, while the relaxed vibe during the day is just the thing to take the edge off a hard day’s work. And the food is surprisingly good!
Good to know On Saturdays, Happy Hour is from 4pm to 6pm: all drinks are half price! Enquire about their weekday specials.
Opening times Tuesday – Thursday, 3pm to late
Friday – Saturday, 12pm until late
Contact 021 418 1548,
Where to find it 32 Loop Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

For a sophisticated night out

1. Bobo’s Brasserie

The newest member of the Kove Collection has just hit the Mouille Point strip, but you’d be forgiven in thinking you’ve arrived on an utterly stylish slice of the French Riviera. In addition to sweeping views of the sparkling Atlantic, an extremely Insta-worthy (no to mention on-trend) interior, a cool playlist, and a chichi vibe, this cosmopolitan hotspot serves a wonderful selection of cocktails, wines and spirits inspired by the Capetonian summer. The best part? There’s a  fabulous menu of modern bistro-inspired fare, should you get snacky during or after cocktail hour!
Whether you relax on the spacious terrace, fire up a tête-à-tête in the plush, old-world library-bar-and-lounge, or enjoy a meal in the elegant restaurant section, you’ll leave feeling sated, with your pleasure tank in the black.
Opening Times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 10.30pm
Contact  021 439 9027, email
Where to find it 1 Two Oceans Beach, Beach Rd, Mouille Point, Cape Town, 8001

2. The Planet Bar at The Mount Nelson

Planet Bar at Belmond Mount Nelson: Best Bars in Cape Town

Chic, laidback and unfailingly luxe, the Planet Bar is just as suitable for spontaneous after-work drinks with colleagues as it is for special-occasion sundowners. People-watch from the terrace with a glass of pre-dinner bubbly in summer, soaking up the majestic views of Signal Hill and the beautiful gardens, or curl up by the fire inside one of the plush celestial-themed alcoves in winter.
In addition to a superb list of wines, spirits, cocktails and light snacks including biltong, caviar and beef carpaccio, there’s also a choice selection of Cuban cigars in the designated smoking area. Service is always warm and professional.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 2am
Contact 021 483 1000,
Where to find it Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town

3. The Stack

The Stack: Best Bars in Cape Town
Claire Gunn

Part brasserie and bar, part private members’ club, The Stack is where you’ll find the city’s cool creatives enjoying good food and excellent drinks in the comfort of this plush, double-decker venue, housed in the historic Leinster Hall. The sumptuous bar and deep verandah are perfect for sunset G&Ts, big nights out or chilled light bites with friends. Problem is… you may never want to leave.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 8am – 11pm
Saturday, 10am – 11pm
Sunday, 11pm – 5pm
Contact 021 286 0187
Where to find it Leinster Hall, 7 Weltevreden Street, Gardens, Cape Town

4. The Willaston Bar at The Silo Hotel

Willaston Bar at Silo Hotel: The Best Bars in Cape Town

Boasting one of the most spectacular views of Cape Town, The Willaston Bar on the sixth floor of The Silo Hotel is stylish and chic, and the perfect place to wind down with a digestif after a meal at The Granary Café (on the same floor).
Named after the very first ship to export grain from The Silo Building back in 1924, the bar offers a wide selection of classic cocktails, wine, gin and whiskey to be enjoyed with stunning panoramic views out of the Thomas Heatherwick-designed, Instagram-famous geometric windows (and an assortment of delicious bar snacks, of course).
Please note No reservations are possible at The Willaston Bar, but you need to book in advance for The Granary Café.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am to late
Contact 021 670 0500,
Where to find it The Silo Hotel, Silo Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

5. Harringtons Cocktail Lounge

Harringtons Cocktail Lounge: The Best Bars in Cape Town

If JFK were to take Jackie out for pre-theatre drinks, this swanky cocktail lounge in Cape Town’s East City is where they’d go! Draped velvet curtains and velvet-covered booths give the venue an ornate, plush, and decidedly glam feel.
The striking L-shaped bar that wraps around half the venue, bares exposed brick behind rows of spirits. Order a cocktail (some of the city’s best), and a plate of tapas to share, then sit back and enjoy the opulent surrounds.
Good to know Happy Hour is from 5pm till 7pm, and features selected half-price drinks.
You can also choose any four tapas for R200, every Wednesday to Saturday, from 5pm to 8pm!
Opening times Wednesday – Saturday, 3pm until late
Contact 021 461 2276,
Where to find it Harringtons Cocktail Lounge, 0061b Harrington Street, Cape Town

6. Chinchilla

Chinchilla: Best Bars in Cape Town

This cool and contemporary rooftop bar on the Camps Bay strip is brought to you by The Kove Collection (whose ever-expanding portfolio of restaurants and bars includes Bilboa, Lily’s, Blanko, Paranga, Incognito, Bobo’s and Bungalow, to name a few). With killer views of the ocean a stone’s throw away, it’s the ideal place to while away the hours sipping on refreshing cocktails and listening to the coolest beats spun by Cape Town’s finest DJs. A menu of seaside café classics means that you can stay for a light dinner, too.
Insider tip On Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, resident DJs take you on a musical journey, as they spin cool tunes from 6pm till 10pm.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 4pm – 10pm
Contact 021 286 5075,
Where to find it Shop 120, Second Floor, The Promenade Building, Victoria Road, Camps Bay

7. Frogitt & Vonkel

Frogitt and Vonkel: Best Bars in Cape Town

Set in a 200-year-old heritage building that drips with character and charm, this Bree Street bar is an absolute must-visit for anyone who’s serious about good-quality, limited-edition, small-batch wines. With over over 30 boutique wines available by the glass, and a selection of local artisanal spirits and Striped Horse draft beers, passionate and knowledgeable owner John Woodward will tantalise your taste buds with some absolute pearlers.
We love The neighbourly Cheers vibe. John greets his customers by name, and they, in turn, leave with a proposed return date: “See you on Friday.
Good to know If you’re peckish, order a cheese and charcuterie board to accompany your tipples. If you’re more than peckish, pop across the corridor to Grub & Vine, a fabulous bistro that serves honest, made-to-perfection dishes.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 12am
Sunday, 12pm – 6pm
Contact 087 898 2206,
Where to find it 103 Bree Street, Cape Town

8. The Leopard Bar at The Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles: Best Bars in Cape Town
Five Star Alliance

With its breathtaking ocean views, comfy seating (inside and out), and a delicious drinks selection, this cocoon of slick luxury should feature on everybody’s to-do list. And guess what? You won’t have to break the bank. It’s the perfect spot for special-occasion drinks, relaxed get-togethers with friends, family or even colleagues, or a vibey night out in shore-hugging style.
Good to know More of a teetotaller? Try Tea by the Sea or the Vegan High Tea – a luxe afternoon tea with all the quintessential sweet treats. And, if you like live music, arrive between 6pm and 9.30pm (Monday to Thursday, and Saturday) for a variety of vocalists.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 7am – 2am
Contact 021 437 9000,
Where to find it The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town

9. Incognito

Incognito: Best Bars in Cape Town

This chic, rambling bar is a buzzy addition to the exquisite, manicured gardens and historic architecture of The Alphen Boutique Hotel. The stunning views, swish décor and superb selection of curated cocktails and lip-smacking small bites make it a fab spot for after-work drinks, pre-dinner palate warmers, or sophisticated date nights with an edge.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4pm – 12am
Saturday, 12pm – 12am
Sunday, 12pm – 9pm
Contact 021 795 6300,
Where to find it Alphen Drive, Constantia, Cape Town

10. Cause Effect

Cause and Effect: Best Bars in Cape Town
Megumi Sawano

From owner Kurt Schlechter, and his righthand men James “Trigger” Phillips and Marshall Siavash, comes this exciting cocktail kitchen just off Kloof Street that turns traditional tipples on their heads: a must for cocktail-lovers who want to broaden their horizons.
Sit at the bar, and watch the maestros creating bold and expertly crafted tipples. We recommend starting with a light aperitif (including the extinct Caperitif, reborn in the Cause Effect kitchen), followed by a selection of traditional brandy-based cocktails infused with fynbos flavours, homemade tinctures and fresh herbs. And end with a jaw-dropping experiential cocktail!
Opening times Tuesday – Friday, 12pm – 1:30am
Saturday,12pm – 1.30am
Contact 021 422 0266,
Where to find it 2A Park Road, MLT House, Gardens, Cape Town

11. Bascule Bar

Bascule: Best Bars in Cape Town

On a private quay, uniquely poised between Cape Town’s vibrant V&A Waterfront and the tranquil yacht marina, Cape Grace Hotel is a decidedly genteel location from which to soak in the natural splendour of the Mother City. Rare-whisky enthusiasts will be in their element as they sample from one of the largest whisky collections in the southern hemisphere. With a selection of over 400 whiskies and fine wines available, this is a connoisseur’s paradise, to be sure.
Good to know The one-hour whisky tasting experience (Saturdays to Thursdays at 6pm), is a great way to sample premium malts from the Bascule collection.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 2am
Contact 021 410 7100,
Where to find it Cape Grace Hotel, West Quay Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

12. Botany

Botany: Best Bars in Cape Town

Hidden behind the courtyards of Patina and El Burro in the Newlands Quarter, this cosy-cocktail-lounge-meets-secret gin bar is the perfect spot to enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif, or an expertly crafted night cap with a selection of tapas, before heading off to dinner at one of the neighbouring restaurants.
A dimly lit interior, with plush couches, fireplaces in winter, wooden bar stools, and a ceiling draped in hanging ferns, creates a romantic atmosphere. A first of its kind in the southern suburbs, it’s no wonder this sophisticated spot is gaining daily traction among locals looking to whet their whistles in style.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 1pm – 12am
Contact 021 824 3367,
Where to find it Newlands Quarter, Corner of Dean and Main Street, Newlands, Cape Town

13. Martini Terrazza Lounge at Villa 47

Martini Terrazza Lounge: The Best Bars in Cape Town

Villa 47 – the three-in-one Italian Emporium housed in an iconic heritage building on Bree Street – is home to Martini Terrazza Courtyard Lounge, a sophisticated martini lounge where the Italian sensibilities of aperitivo entertaining are the order of the day. Here, patrons are encouraged to whet their appetites with (and make an occasion of) pre-dinner drinks.
While cutting-edge cocktails are the main event, at Martini Terrazza Lounge you’ll also be able to enjoy a selection of small plates with your drinks. Crafted by effervescent resident chef Clayton Bell, the designed-to-share dishes blend authentic Italian flavours with a hint of the Orient.
Good to know The downstairs restaurant Locanda is a favourite for made-with-love Italian dishes, while the spacious top floor is designated for functions and events.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 5pm until late
Contact 021 418 2740,
Where to find it 47 Bree Street, Cape Town City Centre

Good time guaranteed

1. Publik Wine Bar

Publik Wine: Best Bars in Cape Town

This dedicated winebar on Kloof Nek Road is the stuff (sustainable) vino dreams are made of. Boasting a slew of bottles from local, organic farms and vineyards, you can be sure you’re getting top-notch booze for your buck, and something new and exciting each time you visit.
The vibe is lively, with everyone from suits and connoisseurs to 20-something locals looking for a place to whet their whistle at this cool locale.
And, if you’re hungry, they have a great selection of local and imported cured meats and cheeses, as well as some gourmet small plates (such as meatballs, white anchovies in olive oil, burrata, and Frankie Fenner lamb belly strips) to fill the gap.
Good to know If you want to learn while you sip, ask one of the resident connoisseurs for a breakdown of all things tanin-, tone- and fragrance-related.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4pm – 11pm
Saturday, 12pm – 6pm
Where to find it 11D Kloof Nek Road, Gardens, Cape Town

2. Asoka

Asoka: The Best Bars in Cape Town

With its plethora of street-side cafés, bars and restaurants, Kloof Street is a favourite for a festive night out. One of the street’s most popular haunts is Asoka, where superb cocktails, top-drawer jazz and tasty sharing plates are the order of the day. Sit at one of the tables around the fairy-lit olive tree – which is 150 years old – and soak up the delicious vibe (with a side of deep-house beats every Tuesday to Saturday).
Good to know Asoka hosts live jazz every Tuesday and Sunday evening, with the kitchen open until midnight!
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 6pm – 2am
Contact 021 422 0909,
Where to find it 68 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town

3. Grand Africa Café & Beach

Grand Africa: The Best Bars in Cape Town

There’s hardly a better place on Earth to watch the sun being swallowed by the sea (delicious cocktail in hand, of course) than at Grand Africa Café & Beach, whose private beach sets it apart from other ocean-facing venues.
Inside, the vibe is a combination of old-world romanticism and laidback glamour, while outdoors you feel like you’ve stepped into Robinson Crusoe’s backyard. Palm trees, daybeds, private bars and a dedicated DJ booth set the scene, so order a glass of bubbly and a plate of oysters and forget about the world outside.
Good to know There are five bars to choose from: a Pongracz bubbly bar, an Ernest Hemingway-inspired craft beer bar, the Corona Bar, the Café Society Bar (for a sneaky G&T), and the Ibiza Beach Bar on the beach. So, pick your poison, and don’t waste any time queueing for something you don’t feel like drinking.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 11pm
Contact 071 382 7044,
Where to find it The Grand Africa, Granger Bay Road, Granger Bay, Cape Town

4. No Reservations

No Reservation: Best Bars in Cape Town
Claire Gunn

Situated in the downstairs area of the famed Chefs Warehouse & Canteen in Bree Street, this relaxed bar serves cool cocktails in a modern, laidback setting. Whether you choose to pop in for a drink before dinner, or decide to make an evening of it and spend a few hours savouring a range of designer tipples, No Reservations is a great first-come-first-served spot for any occasion.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 3pm – 9pm
Contact 021 422 0128,
Where to find it 92 Bree Street, Cape Town

5. Hanks Olde Irish

Hanks Olde Irish: Best Bars in Cape Town

This Irish-inspired bar and pub on Bree Street boasts a decidedly moody, underground feel, with the lure and style of a laidback speakeasy. Surrounded by exposed stone walls and laced in secret passageways leading to neighbouring bars (you didn’t hear it from us!), this popular watering hole is known not only for its unique atmosphere, but also for its extensive selection of fine whiskeys and top-class jazz musicians. In addition to malts and bourbons, the bar also offers various craft beer and wine to sip while you take in the smooth live jazz, or feel the vibe of the DJ ringing in the evening.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 5pm until late
Contact 071 549 8452,
Where to find it 110 Bree Street, Cape Town

6. Orphanage Cocktail Emporium

Orphanage Cocktail Emporium: The Best Bars in Cape Town

Some tall, some short, and some served in a teacup, the unique and delicious cocktails at Orphanage Cocktail Emporium are widely accepted as some of the best in town. Let the slick sounds of chilled lounge beats wash over you as you watch skilled barmen concoct tasty tipples. Champagne, good wine, craft beers, and an assortment of spirits and tasty snacks are also available at this vibey, low-lit joint that stays open until the wee hours.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 5pm – 2am
Contact 071 534 0266,
Where to find it 227 Bree Street, Corner of Bree and Orphan Street, Cape Town

7. Love Thy Neighbour

Love Thy NeighbourHanks Olde Irish: Best Bars in Cape Town
Daniel Freytag

In the space previously occupied by the wildly popular &Union, this relaxed space on Bree Street has attracted its own legion of fans, who flock to the lovely courtyard, lit up by fairy lights, for delicious Mediterranean-style food, beer and live music.
Inside is less rowdy, but both are great for after-work drinks, a casual dinner, or a fun evening out.
Insider tip A shared corridor leads to Hanks Olde Irish, where Tuesday-night jazz sessions are a riot.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 12am
Contact 021 422 2770,
Where to find it Love Thy Neighbour, 110 Bree Street, Cape Town

8. The Piano Bar

The Piano Bar: Best Bars in Cape Town
Zoey Black

From the moment you walk into this New York-inspired joint in De Waterkant, you feel like you’ve arrived. Not in an arrogant or pretentious way, but in a warm and homely kind of way. High Cape Dutch ceilings, dark-wood floors, dim lighting and live jazz set the perfect mood for an evening of wonderful cocktails and moreish tapas. Tiny round tables dotted here and there conjure scenes of 1950s New York martini bars, while the alcove bar sports an elite selection of spirits, with passionate mixologists putting on a show.
Good to know Did we mention that Shio is next door? There’s also Osteria Tarantino for tasty Italian food, and the Sky Bar for rooftop tipples and sweeping city views.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 7am – 11pm
Contact 021 007 5212,
Where to find it 47 Napier Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town

9. Unfiltered

Unfiltered: Best Bars in Cape Town

A collaboration between 24-year-old brewer James Williams (Rosebank Brewing Company) and Italian-food whizzes Matteo Santini and Maurizio Carlo (Woodlands Eatery), this new taproom on Kloof Street is, as its name implies, unadulterated and unpretentious – where excellent beer and uncomplicated, flavourful dishes do the talking.
“We initially wanted a very small menu,” says James, “but considering all the different types of people Kloof Street attracts, we had to be more eclectic with our food offering.” As such you’ll find thin-crust pizzas, tasty tacos, vibrant salads and juicy burgers.
Drinks-wise, there are currently eight craft beers on tap (with another eight in the pipeline), a selection of local wines, and fun cocktails.
Knockout nu-disco beats, coupled with simple interiors (of a characterful, heritage building) and friendly staff (who make their work look like such fun) make Unfiltered the perfect place for spontaneous after-work gatherings, rain or shine.
Don’t miss Unfiltered Fridays with a live DJ and mega vibes.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Contact 060 615 4917,
Where to find it 18 Kloof Street, Cape Town

Researched by Kent Cloete, Nikki Benatar, Michelle de Bruin, and Annabel Short

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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: 20 February 2019

3 Responses to “The 40 Best Bars in Cape Town 2019”

  1. Avatar

    Daniel Louw

    Please check out Casa Woodstock Bar

  2. Avatar


    Excellent collection! Thanks to writers for their selfless and thorough research!

  3. Avatar

    Janice Botha

    What about THE DRINKERY & Gallery – Heritage Square, Shortmarket Street. The most stylish cocktail bar in CT run by the equally stylish Shay Davis.