When the golden hour hits, it can only mean one thing: it’s rooftop time in the Mother City! Perched high above the sweltering, traffic-infested streets, these sky-high watering holes provide vertical respite from the world below, offering fresh air, stellar views, a lively atmosphere, and a selection of crafty cocktails, to boot.
We’ve rounded up our favourites in the Mother City. Warning: One sip, and you may never come down…
1. RED Roof at the Radisson RED Hotel
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 RED Roof bar – an it sits atop the newly opened 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 – 10pm; Saturday – Sunday, 10.30am – 12am
Contact 087 086 1578, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Radisson RED Hotel, South Arm Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
2. UP YOURS at Yours Truly Café
Buzzy Kloof Street has no shortage of cool venues, but this one takes things to another level (pun totally intended). Situated next to a backpackers’ lodge, it’s a popular hangout for student travellers, the beard-and-tattoo brigade, and those who enjoy sizzling summer beats. Downstairs is a café that serves coffee, gourmet sandwiches and tasty pizzas.
Insider tip From 5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, enjoy live DJ sessions.
Good to know The bar does not take reservations on weekends (reservations can only be made from Monday to Thursday).
Opening times Daily, 3pm – 10pm
Contact 021 426 2587, 079 624 3043 (reservations, whatsapp only), email@example.com
Location Yours Truly Café and Bar, 73 Kloof Street, Cape Town
3. The Sky Bar at the Grand Daddy Hotel
The refurbished 1895 Grand Daddy Hotel on Long Street has been setting the standard for rooftop bars in Cape Town for years. The Sky Bar is situated among the vintage Airstream trailers (which double as hotel rooms) to give you an otherworldly feel while you enjoy a drink and the amazing view on the wooden deck. And since the installation of a permanent tented roof, not even the southeaster will put a dampener on your plans.
Insider tip Don’t miss Monday night movies at the Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema.
Good to know The rooftop can be booked for private events and movie screenings.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 2pm – 8.30pm
Contact 021 424 7247, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location The Grand Daddy Hotel, 38 Long Street, Cape Town
4. The Silo Rooftop Bar
There are views of Cape Town, and then there are VIEWS of Cape Town, the latter of which will blow your hair back and leave you gasping. The Silo Rooftop Bar is what we’re talking about, and you’ll find it on the top floor of the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Silo Hotel that opened on 1 March 2017. Order a salad, a plate of charcuterie, crudité or oysters, or some tasty tempura bites to go with the unbeatable urban panorama (food is served from midday until 7pm daily).
Good to know If you’re not staying at the hotel, you need to phone and book.
Opening times Daily, 11am – 7pm
Contact 021 670 0500, email@example.com
Location The Silo Hotel, Silo Square, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town
5. The Waiting Room
Whether you come dressed up or super-casual, you’ll fit right in with the locals at this cool city spot. Bringing relief from the innercity streets (and the venue downstairs), the rooftop area offers fab views over the city below..
Insider tip Live bands and DJ play cool tunes from Tuesdays to Thursdays, and Upper Cut on Fridays is a regular hip-hop event.
Need to know The Royale Eatery below serves some of the best burgers and ’shakes in town!
Opening times Check their Facebook page.
Contact 021 422 4536, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 273 Long St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
6. Rick’s Café Américain Rooftop Bar
Taking inspiration from the piano bar of the same name that featured in the classic movie Casablanca, this popular spot is housed in a 100-year-old Victorian building. The decor and setting hark back to a bygone era, and there’s even a live jazz band to add to the colonial-era ambience. The loft lounge and cocktail bar leads onto a roof deck with amazing views of Table Mountain and surrounds.
Good to know Happy Hour is everyday from 3pm to 7pm – with up to 30% off all cocktails and Beers on tap. Other great deals include two-for-one El Jimador tequilas (R28), a jug of margarita (R235), and a 1-litre Jug of mojito (R195).
You might also like the daily lunchtimes specials for R75
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11am – 2am
Contact 021 424 1100 or 021 822 1100, email@example.com
Location Ricks Café Américain, 2 Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town
7. The Ghibli Bar and Terrace
With stunning urban panoramas, plush decor, and the most inviting sun loungers, The Ghibli Bar and Pool at the Radisson Blu hotel is every cocktail-lover’s dream. Chaises longues surround the sparkling swimming pool, creating the perfect summertime invitation to arrive, recline, and sip exotic cocktails, while nibbling on delicious snacks.
Good to know The food service runs daily from 12pm – 5pm.
Opening times Daily, 8am – 11pm
Contact 021 467 4000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, 22 Riebeek Street, Cape Town
8. The Champagne Bar at The Ritz
After an extensive multi-million-rand refurbishment, this landmark hotel on Sea Point’s main drag re-opened in December 2017, inviting locals and travellers to soak up its delicious South Beach-esque scene (think: banana-leaf wallpaper, white-marble table tops and gold palms). The Champagne Bar on the first-floor pool deck is where you’ll find us quaffing top-drawer bubbly in one of the tropical outdoor cabanas. It’s conveniently located outside Casa Restaurant & Cabanas, whose all-day menu tempts with sushi, wood-fired pizzas and a range of brasserie classics.
Good to know There’s also a decadent Champagne Bar on the 22nd floor, where you can enjoy a glass (or bottle) of bubbly to accompany the breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean and city.
Good to know Parents, hear this! There is a kiddies’ area opening soon! Fun times ahead!
Need to know The pool is open to the public if you order off the menu. The beautiful limited cabanas can be rented for R2 500, which includes a delicious sushi platter and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot!
Opening times Daily, 11am – 10pm (kitchen), the area will stay open later depending on how busy it gets.
Contact 021 439 6010
Location The Ritz Hotel, Corner of Main Road and Camberwell Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
9. La Bottega
Popular as a breakfast and lunch spot for professionals working in Woodstock, La Bottega also attracts an after-dark crowd, who gather upstairs in the buzzy rooftop bar. Offering a refreshing reprieve from the buzzy streets below, La Bottega serves lip-smacking pizzas – according to the owner: “The constant flow of Italians is your best clue”.
Insider tip Free wi-fi, private off street parking, and its convenient location between the CBD and the suburbs make it a great spot for business lunches.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 8am – 6pm; Friday, 8am – 10pm
Contact 021 461 9731, email@example.com
Location La Bottega, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock
10. Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar
On one of the hottest corners in Cape Town, you’ll find at the Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar atop a boutique hotel of the same name. With jaw-dropping 360-degree panoramas of Cape Town and an utterly Instrgrammable shot of Table Mountain, it’s the perfect setting to enjoy refreshing cocktails and a scrumptious sourdough pizza.
Insider tip The sparkling blue plunge pool is the perfect cool-down spot on a hot summer afternoon.
Good to know The venue can be hired out for private functions.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 1pm – 11pm; Sunday, 1pm – 10pm
Contact 021 424 0291, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Cloud 9 Boutique Hotel & Spa, 12 Kloof Nek Road, Gardens, Cape Town
11. The Vue Sky Bar & Lounge
This elegant rooftop venue provides spectacular panoramic views of Cape Town, the Waterfront and Table Mountain. In addition, guests can enjoy tasty tapas and equally delicious cocktails. The drinks aren’t cheap, but the swish surrounds are worth it, and for cocktail functions and after-work drinks with friends, it’s hard to beat.
Good to know The kitchen closes at around 10pm, but the bar stays open until late, depending on how busy it is.
Opening times Daily 11am – 1am
Contact 021 418 3065, email@example.com
Location The Vue Sky Bar & Lounge, Floor 15, 40 Chiappini Street
12. Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar
Located on the third level of a 200-year-old building in the city centre’s Longmarket Street, Tjing Tjing is a great spot to watch the world below go by. The moody interiors (leather seats and red-lacquered accents) give the bar a decidedly metropolitan vibe, perfect for a relaxed sundowner or a celebratory drink.
We love the modern Japanese-inspired bar menu, including delicacies such as exotic mushroom tempura, tuna tataki, and pork hirata.
Good to know You’ll pass Tjing Tjing Torii on your way up. It’s on the first floor, and serves sensational Japanese-inspired dishes. Make a booking; you won’t be disappointed.
Opening times Tuesday – Friday, 4pm – 2am
Saturday, 6.30pm – 2am
Contact 021 422 4920, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Tjing Tjing Bar, 165 Longmarket Street, Cape Town
13. Sky Bar at The Grey Boutique Hotel
Conveniently located on top of the Grey Boutique Hotel, The Sky Bar is a comfortable yet sophisticated boasting panoramic views of the mountain and the city. The fact that it’s in the same building as Shio, one of our favourite eateries in the city, makes it a handy choice for pre- or post-dinner cocktails.
Good to know Did we mention that Shio is downstairs? There’s also Osteria Tarantino for lip-smacking Italian food, and The Piano Bar for live jazz.
Need to know For tables bigger than 12 people, bookings are necessary.
Opening times Daily, 11am – 10.30pm
Contact 021 418 1096, email@example.com
Location The Grey Boutique Hotel, 49 Napier Street, De Waterkant, Green Point
This southern suburbs hotspot has revamped its rooftop area in time for summer. Bask in the sun and enjoy mountain views, while downing an ice cold ale, and something tasty to eat (restaurant stays open until late).
Good to know Fridays and Saturdays rock, so book a table to make sure you get a place.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 8am – 12am; Friday – Saturday, 9am – 2am; Sunday, 9am – 12am
Contact 021 671 8522, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 22 Chichester Road, Harfield Village, Cape Town
15. Harald’s Bar Terrace
Perched on the 11th floor, in the heart of the city, this vibey bar boasts spectacular views of Table Mountain and the majestic Mother City. The brightly decorated terrace adorned with colourful lights and a slimline splash pool makes it a great place to spend an evening and seek respite from the heat of the city.
Good to know There’s a live DJ every Friday from 6pm to 9pm.
Opening times Daily, 11am – 10.30pm
Contact 021 427 4800, email@example.com
Location Park Inn by Radisson, 29 Heerengracht Street, Foreshore
16. 14 Stories Rooftop Bar at the Tsogo Sun Hotel
Towering over the city centre, this beautifully decked out rooftop bar on the 14th floor of the Tsogo Sun is a cool place to soak up the last rays, while enjoying finger food, tasty cocktails, and stunning mountain and sea views.
Need to know The pool is, sadly, only for the use of hotel guests.
Opening times Daily, 4pm – 12am
Contact 021 492 9999, SunSquareCityBowl.Reservations@tsogosun.com
Location Tsogo Sun, 23 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town City Centre
Research by Simone Michaelis
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