If there’s one place that boasts an all-year-round buzzing nightlife scene, that’s the port city, Cape Town. It’s a party place that celebrates music, dancing, and drinking until the sun comes up. From beachfront bars to music clubs, Cape Town’s nightlife covers the expectations of the locals, the backpackers, as well as the affluent crowd.
There’s so much to explore in Cape Town nightlife that it will most likely blow your mind trying to choose one over the other. This is why we are here with suggestions for the best nightlife spots that you must try to cover when you are in the vibrant capital of South Africa.
1. Planet Bar
Located at the renowned Mount Nelson Hotel, the Planet Bar is tiny yet elegant. The champagne bar opens into a beautiful balcony that is separated from the main area by a glass-lined with fern. It’s the perfect place to catch up with your friends after work especially during weekends as it remains open till late at night. Of course, if you are traveling and want to stay at the extravagant hotel check this out to book your stay.
The cocktails that Planet Bar serves are not only innovative but come in a plethora of options for you to choose from. Also, they have a great selection of wine if that’s what you prefer. That food menu is as great as the drinks as you can get a variety of options starting from risotto and curry, to more exquisite items such as oysters and caviar.
Opening Hours: Everyday – 12 pm to 12 am (Bar); 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm (Restaurant)
Dress Code: Dressy or Casual
2. Fiction Music Bar
Fiction is one of the most popular bars in Long Street that captivates its visitors with a huge range of music starting from trance, electro, and disco, to indie and rock. The giant dance floors accommodate music lovers to groove away all night. But just in case you get tired of all the dancing you can shift to the bar upstairs for drinks and video games!
You can also enjoy the view of the vibrant streets from the balcony while you devour delicious food that the bar serves. If you’re too overwhelmed with young crowds, head over to Fiction on Tuesday nights to enjoy the time with a slightly older crowd.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sat – 10 pm to 4 am
Dress Code: Casual
3. The Piano Bar
If you are a fan of cozy bars that offer live music, the New York styled Piano Bar at Napier Street will be right up your alley. Every night, extremely talented artists perform a variety of genres including indie pop, jazz, classical piano, and more. The bar creates quite a relaxed atmosphere from Sunday to Thursday, while the crowd and the music pick up the tempo on Friday and Saturday.
The experience is enhanced by the mouthwatering food and excellent cocktails while you sit at the wraparound terrace with a beautiful fireplace. They also entertain happy hour every day from 4 pm to 6 pm.
Opening Hours: Every day – 12:30 pm till Late
Dress Code: Casual and Dressy
4. Tjing Tjing
Located in the Cape Town city center, Tjing Tjing is a Japanese themed rooftop bar in a 181-year-old heritage building. The cocktail bar offers upbeat music of the genres, indie, and electronica. Such soundtracks attract the local post-work groups as well as tourists that are staying in the hotels at proximity. The interior of the bar creates a cozy atmosphere with the curved timber ceiling and the crimson bar counter.
The sky above and the greenery in every nooks and cranny give it an earthy feel while you enjoy their signature lychee martini (a must-try!). Also, nothing can beat the stunning view of the lit-up streets when it’s complemented with delicious food and innovative cocktails.
Opening Hours: Tues-Fri – 4 pm to 2am; Sat – 6.30pm to 2am
Dress Code: Casual and Dressy Casual
5. Beer House
Beer House is another nightlife gem on the Long Street that focuses solely on Victorian styled décor. The bar is so big on beer that even the chandeliers are made of old beer bottles. Supporting the craft beer movement in South Africa as well as all over the world, this authentic bar serves twenty-five beers on tap and ninety-nine bottled beers from across the globe.
Beer House also specializes in a variety of spirits, wine, and cider so all the customers are satisfied. Also, let’s not forget the scrumptious onion rings, biltong, and pork that they offer. You can easily spend a few good hours at the Beer House and enjoy the overlooking lively street from the balcony.
Opening Hours: Every day – 11 am to 2 am
Dress Code: Casual
6. Shimmy Beach Club
The Shimmy Beach Club has its own man-made beach and it certainly doesn’t get better than this. Complemented by two bars, an infinity pool, and a pool deck, the Shimmy Beach Club is the perfect place to dance away to the DJ’s beats that satisfy the audience with both local and international music.
Especially popular on summer nights, the beachfront dance floor is filled with loud music, groovy moves, and flavorsome cocktails. There are separate private sections that are reserved for VIPs who enjoy the club until the sun comes up. However, the dance venue is well-known for extraordinary parties that anyone can relish.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat – 11 am to 4 am; Sunday – 11 am to 2 am
Dress Code: Smart Casual
7. The Orphanage
Also known as the Cocktail Emporium, the Orphanage is a stylish bar located in the upper Bree Street. A combination of a cozy vibe, excellent music, and traditional cocktails is what you’ll find in the Orphanage. The ambiance is usually laid-back with an increase in tempo only on the weekends.
They place is also known for the friendliest bartenders who serve artisanal cocktails to the visitors. But what’s fascinating is that these cocktails have the wittiest names such as “Childcatcher” which is a gin-based drink with grapefruit, blackberry, and elderflower. Another popular drink is the “Knicker Dropper” – whiskey with an overwhelming combination of fresh lemon, raspberry jam, egg whites, and sugar! It’s surprising how delicious it is; guess you’ll have to try and find out.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat – 4 pm to 2 am
Dress Code: Dressy
8. Alexander Bar
Alexander Bar is an eccentric nightlife spot in Cape Town that attracts an interesting crowd as the bar also comes with a theatre. The hour-long shows are usually enjoyed by the locals with a pre-theatre drink at the comfortable tables.
Although you can find a lot of restaurants to devour delicious meals, the bar also serves plenty of options that you can enjoy while you spend the evening with your friends. A unique touch to the décor (or functional décor) is the vintage telephones that are placed on every table. You can dial 9 on the phone to place an order.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat – 11 am to 1 am; Sun – 3 pm to 12 am
Dress Code: Casual
Located on the 31st floor of the stunning Absa Building, Cocoon is a chic nightclub that offers breathtaking views of the city below. The interior is an amazing mixture of glass casings and chandeliers that make the ceiling sparkle. The contemporary décor in the nightclub complements the sophisticated ambiance very well.
You’ll get to enjoy a variety of genres including electronic dance, hip hop, and house music to dance the night away. The glamorous settings of course call out for your best attire, so make sure you look your best as you enter the Cocoon.
Opening Hours: Fri-Sat – 10 pm to 4 am
Dress Code: Smart Casual
10. Jade Lounge & Champagne Bar
Jade Lounge & Champagne Bar is a classy nightlife venue located right above the Main Road Green Point. This is not a casual spot whatsoever, because you’ll see people dressed up in the most polished outfits as they party through the night.
Thursdays are the most crowded featuring R&B music, while Friday and Saturday are swept over by deep house parties. What’s great about this bar is there’s no entrance fee, but you have to be twenty-three or above to get access to this intimate nightlife spot of Cape Town.
Opening Hours: Wed-Sat – 8 pm to 2 am
Dress Code: Dressy
Cape Town is a city that never sleeps. Just a stroll through the bustling streets will present you an array of options to meet all your nightlife cravings, be it witnessing live performance accompanied by your favorite drinks, or dancing the night away to your preferred beats. So try the ones that appeal to you the most from the list that we have curated for you.