15 Best Bars in Cape Town, South Africa

Bascule Whisky Bar and Wine Cellar

V&A Waterfront

Built right on the water's edge adjacent to the yacht marina, Bascule Whisky Bar and Wine Cellar is a fancy watering hole for well-heeled, cigar-puffing locals. Its 400 whiskies are reputed to be the biggest selection in the Southern Hemisphere.

Caveau Wine Bar & Deli

Cape Town Central

Caveau Wine Bar & Deli is a hip yet unpretentious wine bar where you can sample a dizzying array of fabulous local wines by the glass while munching on excellent tapas or entrées. Extra seating is available in an inner courtyard.

Heritage Square, 92 Bree St., Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001, South Africa


Cape Town Central

District is the live music component of a three-part nighttime venue in the space formerly known as The Assembly. Catering to live-music and electronica, this space features everything from South African indie-rock to Afro-Brazilian electronica. The crowd is typically pretty young, with plenty of guests in their late teens, and smoking is allowed. Adjacent sister venues Harringtons Cocktail Lounge and SurfaRosa are an upscale drinks and punk-styled outdoor patio bar, respectively.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Green Dolphin Jazz Restaurant

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

On any old night, the Green Dolphin Jazz Restaurant attracts some of the best mainstream jazz musicians in the country, as well as a few from overseas. The cover charge is R30–R35. It's open nightly from 8:15 pm to midnight.

Harrington's Cocktail Lounge

Cape Town Central

A snazzy cocktail lounge, frequented by young professionals, Harrington's has comfortable velvet booths and a large selection of drinks, with a small food menu, including tapas. 


A key event on Cape Town's party calendar is December's MCQP, which started in 1993. It's part Mardi Gras, part Gay Pride, and all enormous fancy-dress party. Each year is themed, and people go all-out to create and strut fantastic outfits. All are welcome!

Mitchell's Scottish Ale House

V&A Waterfront

A traditional Scottish Pub outside the main mall, you can kick back and have a beer or two from a wide selection of brews. There's also a small food menu of burgers, pizza and other pub food. Occasional karaoke nights take place. 

Orphanage Cocktail Emporium

Cape Town Central

This upmarket contemporary cocktail bar on Bree Street is a great spot for a well-composed drink.

Selective Live

Cape Town Central

Unassuming from the outside, this new gem is a magical world of music, drinks, and food. Owned by the recording company Selective Hearing, this venue brings to life the live music scene that has been slowly fading away in recent years, and which took a major blow during the pandemic. They feature intimate performances by artists from all corners of Cape Town's music scene. It's also an option for laid-back sundowners with a beautiful view of the mountain and city center. 

The Athletic Club and Social

Cape Town Central

An upmarket, vintage, 3 story bar and restaurant in the city center overlooking Signal Hill, each floor of the Athletic Club has a distinct feel and decor, while sports memorabilia is littered throughout the venue. Enjoy some tapas in the restaurant before heading upstairs for drinks—the cocktail menu offers both the traditional and more avant-garde cocktails, with a good selection of wine, beer, and whiskey. There's occasional live music.

35 Buitengracht St., Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
nightlife Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

The Perseverance Tavern

Cape Town Central

Known locally as Percy's, South Africa's oldest pub is traditional and recommendable, with decent food and pizza, craft beers, and even an inviting outdoor area. Plus, you'll find plenty of TV screens to watch football. 

The Village Idiot

Cape Town Central

Styled with large leather benches and dark wooden tables, this vintage bar is laid back and jovial. A pool table, music, and a menu full of comfort foods draw crowds on the weekends. 

The Waiting Room

Cape Town Central

Find this old bar, club, and live music venue on top of Royale Eatery by climbing the narrow staircase. The grungy, yet hip, bar has a small dancefloor and a great balcony overlooking Long Street. Many nights have guest DJs playing themed music like 90s hip hop, 2000s, etc. It's also a queer-friendly venue. 

273 Long St., Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
nightlife Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Tues.

Ukhamba Beerworx Brewery

A proudly Southern African craft beer brewery, this venue has great beer, music, food, and vibes. Inspired by the history of African beer, the Ukhamba husband-and-wife team wanted to create a beer brand that celebrates that heritage. There's occasional live music, DJs, and events. 

Maker's Landing, The cruise terminal, Unknown
nightlife Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon.–Thurs.

Yobo Wine and Whiskey Bar

Cape Town Central

A laid-back, but sophisticated bar, offering a good selection of cocktails, wines and whiskeys. Small eats are sometimes available. 

86 Shortmarket St., Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
nightlife Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Tues.