Cocktails are quite simply one of those indulgences that need to be enjoyed in aesthetically pleasing surroundings, whether it’s a trendy rooftop restaurant with panoramic city views, a tucked-away bar with charming décor and a nostalgic atmosphere, or a beachfront restaurant where the crashing of the waves serves as background white music. Cape Town, with her gorgeous natural heritage and powerful undercurrent of creativity, has an abundance of all three.
Here are the best places to enjoy a leisurely cocktail (or four) in Cape Town this summer:
The Twankey Bar
The Twankey Bar is a sophisticated, yet edgy bar located on the corner of Wale and Adderley streets in Cape Town’s city centre, sitting practically opposite the historic Company Gardens. Award-winning mixologist, AJ Snetler, is the proverbial captain of the ship and the genius behind their extensive list of decadent cocktails. If you want to appreciate cocktails as an art form, rather than just a way to get your buzz on, head over to Twankey Bar where the cocktails are mixed in a variety of curious ways, such as teapot brewing and wood-chip smoking.
Where: Taj Cape Town, 1 Wale Street, Cape Town
Phone: 021 819 2000
Seta, meaning “silk” in Italian, is a stylish and trendy Italian-Asian fusion cocktail lounge and the perfect place to whet your appetite before dinner or head for a nightcap afterwards. Here, you’ll find a variety of innovative and unusual (yet delicious) cocktails like the Viento (passion fruit, coconut, and two different rums) and the Yuzutini (traditional sake, lemon grass, honey, and Beefeater Gin). Also available are a bevy of small sharing plates that have been put together by resident chef Michelangelo D’Oria – a good idea if you plan on walking out of Seta with a measure of grace.
Where: 47 Bree Street, Cape Town (above Villa 47)
Phone: 021 418 2740
The Grand Africa Café & Beach
The Grand is a favourite of Cape Town that, on beautiful summer days, often sees in excess of a thousand guests! Located in an abandoned warehouse off the main road on Granger Bay (on a man-made beach), The Grand offers a sublime ocean-side setting where you can enjoy your cocktails with a glorious sea breeze in your face. The outdoor seating area is huge and perennially popular, so don’t expect fast service, but do expect delicious pizza and cocktails.
Where: Haul Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Phone: 021 425 0551
La Parada Del Mar
La Parada del Mar, the newest member of the La Parada family, stands on the ever-popular and super trendy Camps Bay beachfront restaurant and bar strip. This establishment offers a variety of delightful places to sit and sip on a signature cocktail: al fresco at the café tables located on the street or upstairs, where panoramic views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean can be enjoyed. The beautifully mosaicked bar has been sponsored by Bombay Sapphire gin so you can expect to find a variety of devilish gin cocktails on La Parada’s menu. Try their signature Gin & Tonic Del De Barra: a classic G&T featuring grapefruit, lemon zest, mango, and rosemary.
Where: 35 Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Phone: 021 286 2106
Daddy Cool Bar at the Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel
The Daddy Cool Bar is a complete and utter escape from the mediocrity and the stress of everyday life and work. This quirky gem is located on the rooftop of the Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel where seven vintage Airstream trailers provide trendy accommodations for visitors. Think white leather, golden embellishments, and shiny surfaces: Daddy Cool is deliciously sparkly and boldly kitsch, backing up its surreal allure with a fabulous cocktail list, which you can work your way through while enjoying stunning views of the Mother City.
Where: 38 Long Street, Cape Town City Centre
Phone: 021 424 7247
Trendy, sultry, and romantic… Asoka is the perfect blend of comfort and style with its east-meets-west Oriental atmosphere and Victorian charm. The spectacular and enchanting venue itself is all the reason anyone would need to pay it a visit, but this legendary Cape Town haunt follows up its aesthetic with some seriously sensual cocktails. Asoka’s bar prides itself on delivering a high calibre cocktail experience using fresh ingredients to craft an extensive list of tried-and-tested classics, as well as signature creations that embody the soul of Asoka. Arrive early or book yourself a table in the candlelit courtyard around the historic olive tree!
Where: 68 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Phone: 021 422 0909
Tjing Tjing bar is a trendy rooftop space (part open rooftop, part attic) slap bang in the vibrant heart of Cape Town’s CBD. Located in a restored heritage building that’s two centuries old, the place oozes with a charming atmosphere and has become a total hit with locals. Tjing Tjing’s décor is stylish and foregoes the usual bar tunes in exchange for new indie music, making it the perfect place to unwind in after work. In addition to the usual variety of libations, Tjing Tjing is known and loved for its cocktails, which you can accompany with a few choice selections from their tapas menu. Check out their list of house-made Tanqueray G&T’s, featuring blackberry and apple, rooibos and honey, baobab and banana, passion fruit and mint, or hibiscus and orange!
Where: 165 Longmarket Street, Cape Town City Centre
Contact: 021 422 4374
Cape Royale’s Zenith Sky Bar
Cape Royale’s VIP Zenith Sky Bar offers one of the best and most breath-taking rooftop views in Cape Town. Featuring an outdoor pool (swimming permitted between 8am and 12pm), guests can lounge in the sun or enjoy the sunset with cocktail in hand from this magnificent vantage point. The Zenith Sky Bar also serves food, although it owes the lion’s share of its reputation to serving delicious cocktails with a view. If you do find yourself hungry, you could always head down to the Cape Royale’s restaurant for dinner afterwards.
Where: Cape Royale Hotel, 47 Main Road, Green Point
Phone: 021 430 0500
Tobago’s Bar and Terrace, Radisson Hotel
It’s been voted Cape Town’s “Best Seaside Bar” by House and Garden magazine and for very good reason! A part of the Radisson Blu Hotel’s (V&A Waterfront) offering, the trendy Tobago’s Bar and Terrace has a sweeping view of Table Bay, Robben Island, and the Cape Town harbour. The cocktails are generous, opulent, and served by attentive staff. Keep an eye on the water because the ocean here is frequented by seals and even schools of dolphins!
Where: Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Beach Road, Granger Bay
Phone: 021 441 3414
Café Caprice, Camps Bay
Open since 1999, Café Caprice has been the go-to hot spot for locals and tourists for so long that it has rightly become considered an institution. This beach themed bar looks right out over Camps Bay beach and offers a handsome menu of delicious artisan cocktails, which you can enjoy in the relaxing lounge areas or outside on the trendy sidewalk seating, perfect for people watching. Also on offer is a café-style menu and, from Thursday to Sunday, a DJ spinning chilled deep house music.
Where: 37 Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Phone: 021 438 8315
Located inside the recently launched upmarket Bilboa restaurant on the trendy and ever-popular Camps Bay Promenade, the Chinchilla Sky Bar is an incredible venue for sunset cocktails. Three floors up, this comfortable, atmospheric, and “Boho-chic” bar affords guests sweeping views of the Twelve Apostles, Lion’s Head, the Camps Bay strip, its beach, and the Atlantic beyond so you’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful outlook in the entire city. Chinchilla also has a delicious tapas menu and a bevvy of signature cocktail creations to satisfy any craving.
Where: 120, 2nd Floor, The Promenade Building, Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Phone: 021 286 5075