Most Capetonians have their tried-and-tested favourites: those watering holes you can rely on to deliver cocktails tailored to your liking, food within your budget, an ambiance to improve your mood, and a beverage selection that caters to your need to forget how bad the work week was. Yet, the Mother City is home to a plethora of truly awesome bars, some of which take their offering one step further: they make you feel as though you’re on the beach! These bars are air conditioned by sea breezes, perfumed by fresh ocean air, and offer gorgeous unobstructed views of the glittering water, beach, and sunset.
So, whether you’re a local looking for a change of venue for those after work or weekend drinks, or a tourist wanting to experience Cape Town at her quintessential best, here are some of the best beach bars our city has to offer…
Shimmy Beach Club, V&A Waterfront
Shimmy Beach Club is a super trendy spot that has a perennial holiday vibe, fantastic cocktails and top-notch food. They have also quite literally recreated a private beach in their own backyard but in place of an actual ocean to dip your toes in, they’ve got a central paddling pool, loads of easy chairs, and, of course, stunning ocean views all the way towards Robben Island. Shimmy Beach Club combines all the benefits of being on the beach (sun-bathing on the sand) with being in a bar (drinks on demand), club (live music or DJ), and restaurant (delicious food).
Where: 12 S Arm Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday (11:00 to 04:00am, latest), Sunday (11:00 to 02:00am), kitchen closes at 23:00
Contact: 021 200 7778, email@example.com
Tobago’s Bar & Terrace, V&A Waterfront
House and Garden magazine called Tobago’s Cape Town’s “Best Seaside Bar” and after a sunset cocktail and evening meal here, one can only agree! The trendy Tobago Bar & Terrace is a part of the Radisson Blu Hotel and offers some really interesting signature cocktails, absolutely beautiful food, and sweeping views of the Cape Town harbour and Table Bay. The only thing that separates this bar from the ocean is an iron railing, and dolphins and seals can frequently be seen cavorting in the kelp beds right next to the outdoor tables.
Where: Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Beach Road, Granger Bay
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 12:30 to 15:00 – 18:30 to 22:30
Contact: 021 441 3414, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Leopard Bar at 12 Apostles
The Leopard Bar, located at the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa, is a beautiful and sophisticated venue at which to unwind. Perched on the foothills of the Cape’s dramatic 12 Apostles Mountain range, the Leopard Bar offers spectacular views over the Atlantic and the waves crashing against the coast a mere stone’s throw below. The bar itself is well-stocked and has professional bar-tenders serving up a grand assortment of cocktails, cognacs, beers, wines, ports, and more. The Leopard Bar is also quite famous for its “Tea by the Sea” offering – afternoon tea with a wide selection of delicious eats and treats, all enjoyed with a side of fresh sea air.
Where: The Twelve Apostles, Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 07h00 to 02h00am
Contact: 021 437 9029
Chinchilla Rooftop Café & Bar, Camps Bay
Perched on the vivacious and trendy Camps Bay beachfront, on top of its sister restaurant, Bilboa, you’ll find Chinchilla Rooftop Café and Bar. This “Boho-chic” inspired, laid-back beach bar is fun, colourful and, with spectacular uninterrupted views across Camps Bay to Lion’s Head, is the perfect spot to head for after work and weekend drinks. Chinchilla also offers guests a menu of delicious eats to prevent you from falling, rather than walking back down the stairs afterwards.
Where: Shop 120, Second Floor, The Promenade Building, Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday (12:00 to 22:00)
Contact: 021 286 5075, email@example.com
The Boardhouse, Table View
With that iconic view of Table Mountain from across Table Bay and its prime location along Blouberg’s beach front, The Boardhouse offers a fantastic venue for anytime drinks. Here, the bartenders are vivacious and skilled, the beers ice cold, and the music tailored to wash away work stress. The Boardhouse also offers a wonderful selection of spaces in which to socialise, from the outdoor deck and braai area (with its great views) to the cosy, indoor couches and fireplace, which is always lit in winter.
Where: Shop 12, Beach Boulevard, Table View
Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday (10:00 to 02:00am); Sunday (10:00 to 24:00)
Contact: 083 330 4473, 079 067 5801
Cape to Cuba, Kalk Bay
Cape to Cuba is a long-standing institution in Kalk Bay with beautiful views over the harbour and Atlantic Ocean beyond. The bar itself (and outdoor seating area) has beach sand for carpeting and serves up a kaleidoscopic selection of cocktails, while the restaurant is all about delicious, Cuban inspired fare with Cajun (French Acadian) influences. Cape to Cuba’s décor, ambiance, and music make you feel as though you’re on a Caribbean island and they often stage live music events.
Where: 165 Main Road, Kalk Bay
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday (11:00 until late)
Contact: 021 788 1566
The Bungalow, Clifton
The old La Med served as a thriving social platform in Camps Bay and Clifton for almost two decades. The reins were then handed over and its new management and sparkly new name – The Bungalow – revitalised and polished this already popular beach hangout to the prime spot it is today. The Bungalow’s sun-dappled deck has it all: gorgeous views, a delectable cocktail menu, live music, cold beer, and an electric vibe that is loved by everyone, from mingling singles and large groups of friends to families with children.
The Blue Peter Hotel, Bloubergstrand
A mere stone’s throw from the sugary white sand of Blouberg beach you’ll find the Blue Peter Hotel, which has become a favourite beach-vibe weekend hangout for locals. They are famous for their delicious pizzas, but also serve the usual fish and chips, burgers, pastas, and desserts. Bring a picnic blanket so that you can sprawl out on their ocean-facing lawns and, when you’re ready for more drinks, head inside to order directly from the bar. Blue Peter becomes incredibly popular on Saturday and Sunday afternoons when they have live music playing, so make sure you get there early to secure a spot!
Grand Africa Café & Beach
With a private beach that sprawls all the way to the water’s edge and the who’s who of Cape Town gracing its tables, the Grand Café & Beach is one of the city’s established and better-known beach bars and restaurants. Located next to the V&A Waterfront, the Grand Café gets exceptionally busy over weekends, especially when the weather plays along, but it can accommodate up to 1,000 guests so you will be seated eventually. Just don’t expect lightning fast service and if you want an ocean-side table (and nearby parking) it’s best to get here before 12.
Café Caprice, Camps Bay
Think relaxing lounges, sidewalk tables, DJs playing deep house music, artisan cocktails, café-style menu, and views out over Camps Bay’s palm-lined beachfront and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. This is Café Caprice, which has earned its well-deserved reputation as one of Camps Bay’s favourite beach hangout spots. Located right on the promenade, Café Caprice has been serving up quality cocktails, food, views, and music since 1999 so if you haven’t yet been, rethink your weekend plans!
La Parada Del Mar, Camps Bay
Yet another Camps Bay promenade favourite is La Parada Del Mar. This tapas restaurant and bar is one of the few locations where the beautifully styled interior captures as much attention as the gorgeous sea views. It has a blue mosaic bar, fresh whitewashed walls, black and white Moroccan floor tiles, a Mediterranean inspired tapas menu and an upper floor with stunning ocean views. La Parada Del Mar enjoys a prime spot that is literally across the road from Camps Bay beach; an absolute must-try for any local or visitor to Cape Town.
The Brass Bell, Kalk Bay
The Brass Bell has been serving fresh, delicious seafood for several decades and, with such an impressive run under its belt (and still going strong), it has earned the right to be called a “landmark”. Located in the charming fishing village of Kalk Bay, the Brass Bell is a fabulous bar and restaurant with eight different indoor and outdoor sitting areas to enjoy great food, booze, and views. They also have a private sandy beach area and paddle pool, which is fed directly by the ocean upon which the restaurant sits. Seriously, it’s right on the ocean.