Affectionately known as South Africa’s ‘Mother City’, this multi-faceted region champions dramatic coastlines, pristine beaches and iconic views of majestic Table Mountain. It also happens to offer some of the best hospitality in the country – from cutting edge gastronomy and swish wine bars to classic pub grub served in traditional watering holes.
Here’s a rundown of a few suggested spots where you can get amongst it like a local!
A hip, new ‘resto-bar’ on Bree Street, Arcade oozes an urban coolness perfect for a younger crowd, the Grand Daddy Hotel Sky Bar is great for an early cocktail (before you retire into one of their vintage Airstream trailer for the night) and Long Street Café is one of the city’s ‘sundowner’ institutions, offering a great selection of thirst quenchers in a vibey setting.
If a brew or two is more your style, head for the aptly named Beerhouse in Long Street (their wares come from over 13 countries), combine a lager with a crazy view of Table Mountain at the Jackal and Hide, or chow down on some traditional Irish nosh (washed down with a creamy ale of course) at The Dubliner.
Relax by the pool deck at the Strand Tower Hotel with a Friday arvo bevvy in hand, before heading to the Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar, where you can sample 82 varieties of the stuff that’s no longer a sideboard staple of your grandparents. The Waiting Room offers a great detour with live music (or token DJ) on offer, before ending the night with a cheap and cheerful game of pool at Stones.
Heading North, the Parisian inspired Stella Café and Bar serves up an extensive wine menu that can be perfectly savoured on the pool terrace, the Park-Inn trumps with stunning views of Table Mountain and if you’re after harbour views at sunset, hot tail it to the Alba Lounge.
More views await at the Shimmy Beach Club or if you prefer urban outlooks, sample a ‘cocktail of the month’ 11 floors up at Harald’s Bar & Terrace, before ending the night with a boogie under the stars at Casablanca.
If you fancy a bit of jazz, slide on over to Jackson Hall, a New Orleans themed cocktail bar with live music most nights of the week, or immerse yourself in the froth of a good old fashioned brewski at The Taproom. Situated at the foot of Devils’ Peak, it’s one of the best spots in Cape Town to sample a craft beer, or if you’re after a shot at something else, they also offer hand crafted liquors and hard-to-find spirits.
Short on a rand or two? The Caribbean-themed Banana Jam will pack a punch with its 30-odd tap beers (and 80 bottled) and one of the best rum collections in town, or if you’re after a student-friendly spot, check out the Foreign Exchange for beer pong and Jerry’s Burger Bar for its laid back vibe and colourful décor.
Live music fans will love The Assembly with its warehouse exterior and alternative crowd and passionate sportos will definitely qualify as losers if they miss the big screens and the atmosphere of the frenzied fans that head to the Oblivion after a game.
Enjoy a post-golfing pint at the Slug & Lettuce in Observatory, bag a craft beer and a shady patio overlooking the vineyards at the Merry Monk Bar or head to ‘Forries’, one of South Africa’s oldest pubs, where you can chitty chat about footy with the locals under the shade of a towering oak tree. Caffé Verdi in Wynberg has a sunny courtyard perfect for an aperitif and Peddlars & Co offers casual, outdoor dining with scrumptious meals served courtesy of their in-house chef.
Sink a couple with the mates pub-style at The Local at Peddlar’s, watch the game outside over a coldie at the Speakeasy Saloon, or for a fancier choice, take a trip to the Hollow Tree for a drink and a meal within the splendour of a South African heritage building.
Laid back lunching (with stunning views) is the activity of choice at Rick’s Café Americain, Zepi Grill & Bar offers terraced indulgence in the sunny suburb of Gardens and for flashier encounters, get your zen on at the Asian inspired Asoka or embrace your inner artiste (and blabber mouth) at the Blah Blah Bar.
Tourists and Westies alike flock to the Fireman’s Arms around game time for a front row gander at the game (they have 46-inch flat screens) and Ferryman’s offers traditional pub grub and exclusively brewed ales that will go down a treat.
Cocktails abound at the more upmarket Piano Bar in Green Point, and the Jade Champagne Bar & Lounge offers uber-stylish interiors where you can laze about with some bubbles in hand. Make the most of the South African summer at the Zenith’s Sky Bar & Pool Deck, or if you’re keen to get your gear off, head to Randy Warthog Bar & Grill for a one-size-fits-all pool party.
And for some of the country’s best views of the Atlantic Ocean, check out the Cape Royale VIP Sky Bar, the Sunset Deck (be there for Happy Hour!), Harveys at the Winchester Mansions Hotel and Tobago’s Bar & Terrace at the Radisson Blu.
The Grand Café next to the V&A Waterfront is also a pearler, opening onto a private beach where you can enjoy a lazy pina colada with front row seats to a dazzling sunset.
Around 20km south of the city, lies Hout Bay, which is situated in a valley on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsular. Here you’ll find Chapmans Peak Hotel, where you can enjoy an ice-cold beer with a side of pan-fried calamari while you watch the surf lazily roll up the beachfront.
Dune’s Beach Bar and Restaurant thoroughly suits a post-refreshment stroll and the Woodcutters Arms’ traditional English pub atmosphere will get you in the mood for an afternoon sesh over a few draught beers.
Finally, Cape to Cuba in Kalk Bay is tops for a post-dinner dance-off and south west of the city, lap up the classic beach vibe at Café Caprice in Camps Bay, get to know the sun-kissed locals at the Red Herring and rub shoulders with a Springbok or two at The Toad in the hippied-up town of Noordhoek.
Everything said, Cape Town is a great place to enjoy yourself – so get stuck into it!