Sweeping ocean views, vibrant social atmospheres, and the dulcet sound of the cocktail shaker shakin’ up innovative creations that span every colour of the rainbow: these are Cape Town’s best establishments in which to enjoy a cocktail, whether it’s because of the view, the setting, the innovative drinks menu, or all of the above!
Harringtons Cocktail Lounge
The super sultry and oh-so sexy Harrington’s Cocktail Lounge serves up delicious cocktails and food in a venue dressed in warm woods, plush sofas, botanical art, and trendy music. It’s an opulent yet laid-back lounge – really popular amongst locals, particularly for after-work cocktails – located smack bang in the centre of Cape Town on the up-and-coming Harrington Street.
Where: 61B Harrington St, Zonnebloem, Cape Town
Contact: 021 461 2276
The Stack, Gardens
Cliché or not, there’s simply no better way to describe The Stack other than to call it a “hidden gem”. The Stack is, all at once, a restaurant, bar, cocktail lounge, and member’s club but to those who frequent this flamboyantly designed establishment, it’s the best cocktail in Cape Town and a smiling barman who knows you by name. The cocktails here are as varied as they are innovative and they’re on sale for half-price from 15:00 to 18:00, Mondays to Saturdays.
Where: 7 Weltevreden Street, Gardens Cape Town
Contact: 021 286 0187
The Twankey Bar, CBD
The Twankey Bar is a sophisticated, yet edgy bar located in the Taj Hotel on the corner of Wale and Adderley streets, right 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: The Taj Hotel, 1 Wale Street, Cape Town
Contact: 021 819 2000
Website: View here.
Cause Effect, Gardens
Cause Effect Cocktail Lounge & Brandy Bar is to cocktails what fine dining is to food. Located on Park Street in the heart of Cape Town, this trendy establishment specialises in innovative mixology, the likes, flavours, colours, and aromas of which – it’s safe to say – you’ve never experienced before. They also serve old favourites wholly reimagined and executed with remarkable skill, precision, and passion with a shot of the bartender’s personality thrown in.
Where: 2A Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town
Contact: 021 422 0266
Website: View the Facebook Page
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 cocktails 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. There’s even an indoor smoking room with a duke box!
Where: Shop 12, Beach Blvd, Table View
Contact: 083 330 4473 or 079 067 5801
Seta, Bree Street
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
Contact: 021 418 2740
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 (cocktails on demand), club (live music or DJ), and restaurant (delicious food).
Where: 12 S Arm Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town
Contact: 021 200 7778
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 Rd, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Contact: 021 425 0551
La Parada, V&A Waterfront
To say that La Parada occupies prime real estate at the V&A Waterfront is a monumental understatement. Situated right at the water’s edge, this Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant boasts uncompromised views of Devil’s Peak, Lion’s Head, and Table Mountain and the comings and goings of the luxury yachts that seem to have the run of this portion of the harbour. Like the cuisine, the décor at La Parada is Spanish inspired and the interior is a delightful and colourful hodgepodge of design features, elements, and embellishments. The vibe and atmosphere is unbeatable, the food delicious and reasonably priced, and the cocktails a fiesta for the palate!
Where: 1 Dock Rd, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Contact: 021 418 3003
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 St, Cape Town City Centre
Contact: 021 424 7247
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 Rd, Kalk Bay
Contact: 021 788 1566
Web: View the Facebook Page
Asoka, Kloof Street
Trendy, sultry, and romantic… Asoka is the perfect blend of comfort and style with its East-meets-West 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 St, Gardens, Cape Town
Contact: 021 422 0909
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.
Where: Glen Country Club, 3 Victoria Road, Clifton
Contact: 021 438 2018
Tjing Tjing, CBD
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. 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 St, Cape Town City Centre
Contact: 021 422 4374
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 Hotel Blu’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 Rd, Granger Bay
Contact: 021 441 3414
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 cocktails, 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!
Where: 8 Popham St, Bloubergstrand, Cape Town
Contact: 021 554 1956
HQ, Shortmarket Street
HQ, short for Headquarters, is a trendy, intimate restaurant located in the beating heart of Cape Town’s historic centre. The establishment is hard to miss with its ostentatious signage and opulent glass and chandelier-lit entrance. Once inside, HQ becomes a sort of rabbit warren of intimate, low-lit spaces, the most romantic of which has got to be the lounge area, with its comfortable wall seating, low coffee tables, and blazing fireplace. It’s the perfect place to work your way through their creative cocktail list.
Where: 100 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town
Contact: 021 424 6373
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 Rd, Camps Bay
Contact: 021 438 8315
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.
Where: Main Rd, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
Contact: 021 788 5455
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.
Where: The Twelve Apostles, Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town
Contact: 021 437 9029
Chinchilla Rooftop Bar, Camps Bay
Located inside the upmarket Bilboa restaurant on the trendy and ever-popular Camps Bay Promenade, the Chinchilla Sky Bar is an incredible venue for sunset cocktails. Sweeping views of the Twelve Apostles and Table Mountain, a delicious tapas menu, and cocktail creations to satisfy any craving, Chinchilla is the perfect antidote to a hard day in the office.
Where: The Promenade Building, Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Contact: 021 286 5075
Primal Eatery is a wood-fired grill concept that is far from your average steakhouse. In fact, they have banned the word from their vocabulary! Primal is a “Meatery” – a restaurant that is meat centric, using live fire, innovative cooking techniques, and creative food styling to provide guests with the ultimate sensory experience. Their bespoke cocktail list upholds this philosophy, serving up delicious, colourful, and sensational creations.
Where: 50 New Church Street, Gardens Cape Town
Contact: 021 422 3232
Burger & Lobster
Born in 2016 in the heart of Cape Town’s foodie hub, Bree Street, Burger & Lobster offers guests a simple but perfectly crafted menu, a strong modern brand, a delicious and creative cocktail menu, and a trendy atmosphere in which to get together for lunch, after work drinks, and/or dinner. Every day from 16h00 to 19h00, they run two-for-one specials on signature cocktails, draught beer, and wine by the glass!
Where: 105 Bree Street, Cape Town City Centre
Contact: 021 422 4297
Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, Bree Street
Located on Bree Street, Orphanage is a speakeasy-style bar and dining room with a vintage theme. In other words, it’s the perfect spot for pre-night out drinks and a bite to eat. Here, the cocktails are exceptional, the food focused on sharing, the tunes chilled, and the service efficient and friendly.
Where: 227 Bree Street, Cape Town
Contact: 071 534 0266
Website: View the Facebook Page