The 15 Best Wine Bars in Cape Town + Stellenbosch

The 15 Best Wine Bars in Cape Town + Stellenbosch Bartinney Wine & Champagne Bar

Chic watering holes for by-the-glass quaffing and top-notch nibbles.

They’re popping up everywhere like champagne corks on New Year’s Eve… Wine bars are having a moment and importantly answering the call to serve great wines by the glass (no more settling for the “house” brand), in stylish and wonderfully sociable settings, with fabulous food to match. It’s where an end-of-day wind-down easily turns into a great night out. These are our favourite wine bars in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

Which are yours? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Wine Bars in Cape Town
Wine Bars in Stellenbosch

Cape Town

Culture

Wine Bars 2022: Culture Wine Bar Entrance

Adjacent to chef Matt Manning’s popular Grub & Vine bistro on Bree Street is Culture Wine Bar, stocked with the finest SA wines, including rare gems and cult classics, and globally sourced picks from the “Wanderlist” (a special black-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 their weekly Vine Night, Culture Club and other bespoke wine events – sans the snobbery.
Food pairing The fabulous bistro kitchen takes care of the gourmet bites to enjoy with your wine – such as the famous Culture Dog, Welsh rarebit, oysters, beef carpaccio and tempura prawn po’boy.
Good to know There are a couple of beers and spirits on offer, plus live music on weekend nights.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 2am
Contact 076 256 8654, wine@culturewinebar.com
Where to find it 103 Bree St, Cape Town City Centre
Book through DinePlan

Publik

Wine Bars 2022: Publik Indoor Bar

This little bar on Kloof Nek Road – with its irresistible row of barstools outside a pavement window-counter – is the stuff (sustainable) vino dreams are made of. With a slew of bottles from local organic farms and small artisans, as well as a few ‘new wave’ European wines, you can be sure of tasting something new and exciting each time you visit. There’s a lively, down-to-earth vibe, with everyone from suits to 20-somethings looking for a place to whet their whistle. 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.
Food pairing A great selection of cured meats, cheeses, burgers and small plates (white anchovies, burrata, lamb belly strips) to snack on. Plus the occasional food-and-wine pairing dinner with a guest chef.
Good to know As with any good hipster joint, there’s also a selection of craft beers and spirits.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4pm – 11pm; Saturday, 3pm – 8pm
Contact No phone, winebar@publik.co.za
Where to find it 11D Kloofnek Road, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town

Openwine

Wine Bars 2022: Openwine Street View

This cosy, sophisticated locale on Wale Street is oenophile heaven. The Italian concept store (or enoteca) was opened by Raphael Paterniti and Marta Gobbo back in 2016, and was the first of its kind in Cape Town. They wanted to serve South African wines “in the French/Italian way”. Not only does it stock an extensive selection of bottles for purchase, but also invites visitors to taste an array of meticulously sourced fine local wines. 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 downstairs cellar where you can enjoy an informative tasting, plus live jazz jams on Sunday afternoons.
Food pairing To go with your wine, a fine selection of antipasti, of course! A constantly changing blackboard menu pairs dishes with specific wines (think gnocchi fondue, beef tartare, arancini, fish rolls on grilled aubergine), plus there’s a pizza oven.
Good to know Openwine also stocks a range of craft beers and gins.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 11.30am – 11pm; Sunday, 1pm – 11pm
Contact 079 944 2754, info@openwineza.co.za
Where to find it 72 Wale Street, Cape Town

Penny Noire Winebar

Wine Bars 2022: Penny Noire Sommelier

Zambian-born sommelier Penny Setti (formerly of Canteen and Chefs Warehouse) likes all things unusual, independent, quirky and unsung, and her little wine bar at Heritage Square presents a constantly changing line-up of her favourite finds. It’s not much more than shelves lined with bottles and a long counter, but it’s at the very heart of LOCAL – foodie heaven in an 18th-century stone-walled courtyard in the innercity (where, appropriately, the oldest vine in the city, planted back in the 1770s, still grows). You couldn’t find more atmosphere if you hired a Hollywood set decorator…
Food pairing A half-dozen eateries offer something for every craving, from Italian antipasti and Lebanese tapas to yakitori (Japanese kebabs) and fried pizza, all enjoyed in the courtyard.
Good to know There’s live music on Wednesday nights, and a cocktail bar hidden upstairs.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – late
Contact 021 424 4646, info@localheritage.co.za 
Where to find it Corner of Shortmarket, Bree and Buitengracht Streets, Cape Town

Cellar Club

Wine Bars 2022: Cellar Club Wine Tunnel

It’s something worth celebrating when a 160-year-old harbour tunnel is put to good use – in this case, as a super-atmospheric place to taste the very best South African wines. It’s hidden in plain sight at the V&A Waterfront – down an alley beside the Ulundi parking garage, looking out at the Cape Wheel. Visitors who are fortunate enough to stumble upon it can settle in at a wine-barrel table (or outside in wicker chairs under brollies) and try the daily tasting of four wines, or enjoy any wine or cap classique of their choice by the glass.
Food pairing Delicious canapés to match the wines.
Good to know The CellarClub offers exclusive masterclasses with winemakers on Thursday nights, limited to just 35 people, so booking is essential.
Opening times Thursday – Saturday, 12pm – 7pm
Contact 082 737 9578, info@cellarclub.co.za
Where to find it 9 Dock Rd, V&Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town

Bouchon

Wine Bars 2022: Bouchon Cellar Seating

The Mother City boasts its own little innercity winery, hidden away on Hout Street. Expat Frenchman Christophe Durand began as a wine-barrel supplier, then started importing wines and eventually producing his own under the Dorrance Wines label. Simple tastings are available in his charming cellar; however, we’d recommend the wonderfully atmospheric tapas-and-wine experience at the adjoining Bouchon Wine Bar & Bistro, amid the wine-soaked barrels and gold-flecked wallpaper. It’s a place to get your fill of good vino and la belle vie.
Food pairing There’s a changing selection of small plates such as oxtail gnocchi, artichoke and pea risotto, beef cheek ravioli, Asian crispy squid and twice-cooked pork belly.
Good to know There’s also a gin trolley that gets rolled up to your table, to design your own perfect G&T.
Opening times Monday + Tuesday, 6pm – 11pm; Wednesday – Saturday, 4pm – 11pm
Contact 021 422 0695, info@bouchon.co.za
Where to find it 95 Hout Street, Cape Town

Leo’s

Wine Bars 2022: Leo's Outdoor Seating

Come 5pm and with a flicker of the neon sign, Max Bagels in Bree Street transforms into an edgy wine bar, where you’re likely to be lured into sipping on a glass of pét-nat on the streetside terrace or inside (if you can grab one of the 10-or-so seats). The focus is on natural, limited-edition, “new wave” wines (though there are higher-end, fancier labels hidden away on a top shelf) – all available to purchase for at-home enjoyment. Around 20 wines are available every evening, and sometimes they play music to match from a winemaker’s playlist.
Food pairing Snack on a pizza bagel, bagel chips or dips and olives – or whatever has popped up for the evening (Leo’s loves collabs – which extends to artwork and merchandise).
Good to know Selected beer and ciders are also available.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 5pm – 11pm
Contact 076 042 0224, matthew@leoswinebar.com
Where to find it 120 Bree Street, Cape Town

Stellenbosch

Le Grand Domaine Enoteca

Wine Bars 2022: Le Grand Domaine Enoteca Inside Bar

As an urban alternative to a farm visit, this Devon Valley estate’s stylish emporium on Stellenbosch’s buzzing Church Street is an atmospheric spot for aficionados (and novices) to indulge their passion, with more than 30 wines available by tasting portion, glass or bottle. It’s a beautifully adorned space, with copper, leather, decorative tiles and dark wood detailing – and a wine-library of shelves showcasing the boutique Le Grand Vin de Stellenbosch range and Stellenview portfolio. Look out for the “secret magnums” on offer every now and then. On weekday evenings, you can sip your chosen vino to a soundtrack of chilled singer-songwriters.
Food pairing A seasonal bistro-style menu features bold classics with a twist: chipotle Patagonian squid, wild-mushroom risotto, steak Florentine and peri-peri prawns. There are also platters of local artisanal cheese and charcuterie. Or simply order fresh oysters and a glass of bubbly to enjoy at a sidewalk table under the oaks.
Good to know There’s also coffee (espresso, cappuccino, latte etc), and a happy hour featuring a “Vin de Maison” from 4pm – 6pm.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 11.30am – 11pm
Contact 021 300 3279, enoteca@granddomaine.co.za
Where to find it 7 Church Street, Stellenbosch

The Wine Glass

Wine Bars 2022: The Wine Glass Stellies

The Stellies sibling of the highly rated wine bar in Hermanus offers a taste of (just about) all of this region’s nectar – by glass, bottle or a tasting flight of six – in one convenient location on Ryneveld Street. It’s an elegant, modern space in a heritage building, with suede banquette seating and fireside tables, a bar-lounge called The Jungle Room and a cool courtyard – home to a statue called Lady Temptation. Indeed, with over 130 choices of wine, repeat visits will be essential.
Food pairing The local-global food menu (including seafood, steak and lamb dishes) sings with the wines, plus there’s tapas, cheese and charcuterie platters, desserts and seasonal highlights.
Good to know Craft beers, spirits, cocktails and coffees also get a nod.
Opening times Monday, 4pm – 10pm; Tuesday – Saturday, 8am – 10pm; Sunday, 11am – 10pm
Contact 082 555 2332, foh@twgstellies.co.za
Where to find it 13 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch

Qbar

Wine Bars 2022: Qbar Red Wine
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Shaded by plane trees and canvas umbrellas, the sophisticated yet relaxed Qbar evokes the grand style of Quoin Rock wine estate on a smaller scale. Marble-topped tables and green-and-gold velvet banquettes take centre stage in the small but perfectly elegant interior, with comfy raw-wood chairs spreading out into the hidden courtyard. Here you can sample all their wines (and take them home at cellar-door prices), accompanied by utterly delicious fine-dining tapas by chef Jack Coetzee. Don’t leave before you’ve had a glass of the Black Series MCC or the grappa-esque Husk Spirit.
Food pairing Appetising bar snacks (think crispy tempura shimeji mushrooms), plus a menu that might include trout gravadlax, pea risotto or seared wildebeest topped with chimichurri.
Good to know Knorhoek’s range of small-batch gins shine in Qbar’s seven signature cocktails.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 1am
Contact 021 888 4740, info@quoinrock.co.za
Where to find it De Wet Centre Courtyard, Church St, Stellenbosch Central

Stellenbosch Wine Bar

Wine Bars 2022: Stellenbosch Wine Bar Indoor

Do you drink Afrikaans? Well, you can – it’s the name of a wine at this wine bar focusing on the Stellenbosch Collection wines (from high-end Rust en Vrede to easy-drinking Guardian Peak and Donkiesbaai wines from the West Coast). Also available is the Stellenbosch Reserve range, a love letter to these Winelands and representing all seven main varietals. This means there’s something for everyone here, by the glass or bottle. Take a seat in the casual, minimalist interior, or under the oaks on the long stoep at the corner of Andringa and Church streets, and watch the world (and fellow wine-bar hoppers) go by.
Food pairing Rust en Vrede’s celebrated chef Fabio Daniel channels his heritage in the small Mediterranean menu, featuring the likes of beef tartare bruschetta with Parmesan, herb arancini, salt-and-pepper squid and Angus steak.
Good to know It’s a first-come-first-served set-up, so arrive early. You can order wine at cellar-door prices for delivery countrywide.
Opening times Monday –  Saturday, 11am – 10pm; Sunday 11am – 8pm
Contact 063 646 3207, winebar@thestellenboschcollection.com
Where to find it Church Street, Stellenbosch

Simon Wine Bar

Wine Bars 2022: Simon Wine Bar

This hybrid lounge/bar/eatery in Stellenbosch’s 300-year-old De Warenmarkt building offers an intimate atmosphere where you can savour wine or cap classique and dine on tasty tapas or hearty meals. With the opening of the new Simon Wine Emporium, it stocks an expertly curated range of the wine route’s best (150+ wines from 73 estates), including exclusive and old-vine wines (see the “Legends” list – pure history in a bottle). Relax on a couch, prop up a stool at the bar, linger near the fireplace or sit outside on the sunny patio. Food-and-wine pairings and tastings hosted by top local winemakers, and the Emporium’s daily themed tastings (and wines for purchase at cellar-door prices), add depth to the experience.
Food pairing Carefully curated sharing plates to match the wines, plus the classic combination of oysters with SA’s first bubbly, Kaapse Vonkel.
Good to know There’s also a good list of beers, ciders, whiskies and spirits (with a separate G&T selection).
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11am – 10pm; Sunday, 11pm – 3pm
Emporium: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm; Sunday, 11pm – 3pm
Contact 021 883 2274, info@dewarenmarkt.com, info@simonwine.co.za
Where to find it 20 Ryneveld Street (corner of Van Riebeeck Street), Stellenbosch

Bartinney Wine & Champagne Bar

Wine Bars 2022: Bartinney Wine & Champagne Bar Outdoor Seating

Tucked away on Bird Street, the first, original wine bar in Stellenbosch (which now boasts more than a dozen) serves Bartinney’s range of six small-batch wines and cap classiques, as well as a small selection of imported bubbly. It’s a cosy, earthy showcase of the estate, with a marvellous chandelier made from old vines, repurposed oak-barrel wood panelling, vintage armchairs and touches of fynbos. Enjoy your glass – perhaps the “Sexy Sip of the Day” (R30) – with nibbles at the old wooden bar counter, at a table next to the log fire or out on the terrace.
Food pairing Strictly snacks – olives, nuts, cheese and meat platters.
Good to know New glam sibling Plaisir Wine & Gin Lounge next door offers wine, cocktails and fabulous tapas sharing plates.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 1pm – 9pm; Saturday, 11am – 7pm; Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Contact 076 348 5374, winebar@bartinney.co.za
Where to find it 5 Bird Street, Stellenbosch

Bertha Wine Bar

Wine Bars 2022: Bertha Wine Bar

The newest bar to join the bouquet, this super-elegant, Parisian-chic spot is attached to Meraki Café. It’s a showcase for the small range of Bertha wines (a sauvignon blanc, semillon, shiraz and rosé) produced on Weltevreden estate, but also includes a dozen exclusive bottles from some of the best winemakers in the region. The clean, light-filled space (50 shades of white with touches of grey, black and neutrals) has a lovely streetside terrace under the oaks that catches the golden late-afternoon light, making it the perfect place to wind down in style after a busy day. It’s all about slow, beautiful living here.
Food pairing From 4pm, there are nibbles (olives, nuts, biltong), tapas (camembert in puff pastry, Italian meatballs, wild mushroom arancini) as well as early dinner options including rump steak, salt and pepper squid or salmon – each paired with a Bertha wine. Gorgeous baked goodies from the café fill in for dessert.
Good to know Gin lovers have two craft options, plus the café does great coffee.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am – 7pm (bar menu from 4pm)
Contact 021 065 0192, cafe@meraki-living.co.za
Where to find it 43 Church Street (corner of Ryneveld Street), Stellenbosch

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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: 05 May 2022