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Top Places to Party in Cape Town
You may have all night to party, but you don't have all night to decide where to party
Last Updated: 2 June 2017
No matter what the season in Cape Town, nights are long and doors are open if you know where to go. So whether you’re underground or mainstream, old or young, dressed up or down, and spending big or begging for beers, there are plenty of places to get your party on in the Mother City.
The Long Street stretch
Cape Town’s hottest nightlife artery, the aptly named Long Street is what can feel like an endless stretch of bars, clubs and restaurants. It’s like an avenue in New York - it just doesn’t sleep. The good news: there’s something for almost every musical and social taste, every night of the week. The bad news: there’s so much you might just miss a few gems that really click with you, so keep a sharp eye out as you walk along. Keep an eye on your possessions, too, and make sure you cab and walk with a few of your party buddies for safety. Pop into Beerhouse (famously home to 99 brews) for a great happy hour, relax at the hidden speakeasy-style Gin Bar behind Honest Chocolate on Wale Street, or shake a tailfeather at the Waiting Room. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll come right on Cape Town’s most storied avenue of debauchery.
Long Street | City Centre | Cape Town
Fiction Bar has one of the best balconies on Long Street, and is an ideal spot to view the activities above. Serious party animals know not to go there before other less lively clubs close their doors, unless of course, the edgy alternative venue is hosting an exclusive gig, in which case you'll be there all night. Popular with scenesters and hipsters, it has enough room for everyone, and a bigger and better dance floor that pumps past midnight.
226 Long Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 422 0400
Aces 'n' Spades
If a head banging, fist pumping, pulse racing mosh pit is your idea of a fun night, this rock-edge dive bar is right up your alley (both figuratively and literally – it’s up an alley just off Long Street). Imagine a rowdy night of brandy shots, muscle cars and Jack White’s guitar solos screeching from the speakers.
On Wednesdays you can channel your inner Mick Jagger at the karaoke evening. Fridays are reserved for live band performances. You can attend both events absolutely free, leaving you more cash to spend on the happy hour special running between 8pm and 10pm on both days.
Warning: it might get loud!
62 Hout Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)76 070 4474
Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar
You’ll find Tjing Tjing above popular restaurant Dear Me on the third level of an almost 200-year-old house on Longmarket Street. While the views of the cityscape from the rooftop are certainly impressive, what you will love even more about this upscale bar is its interior. With a fire engine-red bar as a centrepiece, there are many elements of whimsy dotting this sexy spot which, though upmarket and trendy, still manages to feel warm and welcoming.
165 Longmarket Street | City Centre | Cape Town |+27 (0)21 422 4374
The product of a collaboration between various powerhouses in the South African nightlife industry known for setting up fine clubs such as the Bang Bang Club, Hush and Kong, Coco is one of the most luxurious and exclusive night spots in town. It is here that ‘the beautiful people’ make up the clientele; and models, fashionistas and some of Cape Town’s biggest names come together to mingle on the dance floor and by the bar. Guests are treated to five-star bottle service in the club’s designer interior. Friday nights see patrons dancing to commercial Hip Hop, Dancehall, RnB, whilst on Saturdays Coco dishes up house music along with a little bit of all that is current. So come dressed in your very best and be a part of the fashionable Coco crowd.
70 Loop Street | Cape Town | +27 (0)72 239 5508
Yet another popular, ultra plush dance club in the City Centre, Madison Avenue attracts crowds with its elegant setup, great party compilations and welcoming staff. Patrons report a short waiting time for reasonably-priced drinks at the bar and super clean bathrooms - we’ve all had our share of nights out on the town where we’ve faced long drinks queues and bathroom horrors, so these are definite point-winners! The dress code is strictly smart/casual, which means no open shoes, takkies, beanies or anything else that you wouldn’t wear to a fairly fancy 21st. It’s all about the glamour! The club is open on Fridays and Saturdays, and comprises six bars, two dancefloors and one VIP area for extra-snazzy cats.
11 Mechau Street | Cape Town | firstname.lastname@example.org
Another posh celebrity haunt, Saint Champagne Bar & Lounge has a seasonal bar and, you guessed it, excellent champagne. Special guest DJs entertain well-dressed guests on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays when the Lounge is open.
37 Harrington Street | Cape Town City Centre | +27 (0)73 531 6312
This first-rate nightlife complex originally comprises of a trio of spots on 61 Harrington Street that each have a different style to suit different people.
Surfa Rosa: this is a small surf-style bar which manages to be at once stylish (with an edge of punk) and welcoming to all. Laid-back, unpretentious and the definition of cool, you can chill out inside, dance to tunes played by the in-house DJ, or socialise with a drink in the outside area. This is definitely one of the most-well rounded and genuinely enjoyable places to spend a night out- come as you are, dressed up or down.
District: a full-on nightclub with events happening some nights. Leather booths, a DJ on the decks playing electronica styles of music most nights and a slamming dance floor make this a great venue for a time out on the town.
Harringtons: A prime cocktail lounge, bar and exclusive nightclub with five-star service and a quality range of drinks. Make no mistake about it - ‘upmarket’ is an understatement if it’s how you describe this place and the outfits you can see here are pure classy sexiness. Just dress up and mingle with the upper sect of Cape Town - it’s the playground of the wealthy and fabulous - you may even spot a few famous faces.
61 Harrington Street | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 465 7286
Shimmy Beach Club
The Mother City’s deluxe Shimmy Beach Club at the V&A Waterfront, managed by Director Malcolm Moodie, is Cape Town’s own world-class seaside club that sits right on the water’s edge. Housed in a premier venue, the nightclub features its own private beach, a large alfresco deck, a lounge apt for relaxing in, a champagne bar and a sparkling rim-flow pool.
12 South Arm Road | V&A Waterfront Harbour | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 200 7778
Jade Lounge & Champagne Bar
Discreetly perched above Main Road Green Point, Jade Lounge & Champagne Bar wakes from its early week slumber and comes alive every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with bumping beats and a beautiful clientele. The intimate nightclub lures a stylish older crowd (no under-23s are admitted), and revellers have a choice of unwinding with bottle service on lounge-style furniture, breaking it down on the adjacent dance floor or mingling on the expansive balcony that looks out at the Cape Town Stadium. In a nutshell, this is a nightclub experience outside of a nightclub environment. Best of all, there’s no cover charge! Keep an eye out for the regular disco-riffic MoFunk parties, as well.
39 Main Road | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 439 4108
Originally in Woodstock, Decodance now calls Sea Point home. Wear your 'alternative' outfit and head on down to an underground venue that specialises in 70s, 80s and 90s hits. Ladies’ entrance is free before 10pm.
120 Main Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 434 3437
Camps Bay crawl
Take your pick of clubs, bars and restaurants with breathtaking sunset or starlit views of the open Atlantic Ocean. If you enjoy bumping into celebrities, models and sports stars, you'll be comfortable here. Camps Bay is an international hotspot for talent scouting, chardonnay sipping and soaking up the high life.
Main Road | Camps Bay | Cape Town
Eat, drink and play in sophisticated beach style at Café Caprice. The trendy space on the sidewalk is busy at the best of times. Driving past, you'll hear hip beats and see stylish patrons spilling into the streets. There's always the buzz of conversation between party people who like to see and be seen. Yes, it's a casual bar, but don't go in your beach towel if you want to relax.
37 Victoria Road | Camps Bay | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 438 8315
Lower Main Road in Observatory
This is another unmissable little stretch of places to party in Cape Town, with a hint of grunge. If you’re not a fan of clubbing in general but prefer a night where you can sip your drink whilst playing pool or seeing live local bands play in a (pleasantly) darkened bar, then head to Observatory for a low-key night out. The collection of bars here match the quirky feel of the district, one where you’ll find creative wall art, secondhand vintage shops and colourful characters traipsing in and out of the older-era buildings.
Try some craft beer at the Forex Bar (also called ‘Foreign Exchange’) and chat to overseas visitors and locals alike; look out for the live music nights they host sometimes as well as their beer pong nights! Trenchtown, situated directly below Forex, is a venue that includes a bar, dance floor, casual restaurant and beer garden. They frequently host live music events that see newly emerging indie Capetonian bands coming to play. Armchair hosts artists at times too and is a small and relaxed pub-style bar. Stones, on the other hand, is filled with pool tables. You can always depend on Stones to play all those rock songs you know and to announce drinks specials at regular intervals during the night. If you’re a dedicated rocker, however, Gandalf’s is the place to go for a night of hardcore tunes.
Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town
Pig & Swizzle
Formerly named the Pig & Whistle, this sports bar-cum-nightclub has great prices for drinks and regular specials on offer so is unsurprisingly another student haunt. Here you can find a large space with lots of sofas for watching games on the bar’s big screens, or for sharing hubbly (also called ‘shisha’) with your gang. There is also a jukebox and gaming machines. Some nights see in-house DJs playing and even foam parties and other themed bashes!
24a Main Road | Rondebosch | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 689 1915
Claremont Main Road
Claremont is a rather notorious name in Cape Town due to the raucous students that often flood the Main Road and its various nightclubs, and the messy nights that are often had. That having been said, there’s something addictive about going here that leaves you craving more wildness. The Latino cocktail and cigar bar, Cubana, is a bit of an anomaly on this stretch and is the place to go to if you’re looking for a more laid back crowd and sophisticated atmosphere. Stones is also fairly relaxed with pool tables and foosball to play as well as drinks deals throughout the night.
However, if you need a good dirty night of clubbing, Claremont has more than a few places to satiate your thirst (literally, too - there are always insanely good drinks specials to be found). Tin Roof, Boogie (where you can find 80s and 90s party tunes) and Zhivago are all popular spots. You can be a part of the enthusiastic crowd of students as well as young professionals dancing to radio favourites played by in-house DJs, taking a twirl on a few clubs’ stripper poles, and eventually heading to the Shell petrol station at 2am for a drunk steak pie.
Stretch between Aska House and 103 Main Road | Main Road | Claremont | Cape Town
Brass Bell Bar & Bikini Deck
The Brass Bell is somewhere worth spending your whole evening at, from sunset until the early morn. Situated literally on the ocean shore next to the railway line, you can sip a beer at the Bikini Deck or restaurant and watch the sun go down and the sea rush into the tidal pools surrounding it. Sometimes the waves can even be seen slapping against the restaurant windows at high tide!
The Brass Bell plays host to all kinds of fun evenings, from karaoke nights to live entertainment from indie and alternative bands like the Nomadic Orchestra, to some of South Africa’s big stars such as Arno Carstens. Here you can also order food and drinks - we recommend the cocktails menu.
Main Road | Kalk Bay | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 788 5455
Premium Sports Bar
Something of a home away from home for its regulars, this often overlooked, inconspicuous venue has got an authentic comfy pub feel. It’s everything a sports bar ought to be: a place to sip some cold ones and watch the game with your tjommies on large plasma screens, nosh on some quality pizza and other grub, and even to see top quality live music from local musicians. There’s a weekly event most days: Mondays are Dart Competition nights, Tuesdays see the pub erupting with laughter during its weekly Comedy Night, and soccer fans gather to play FIFA Tournaments on Thursdays.
1 Avocado Street | Mitchells Plain | Cape Town | +27 (0)79 821 2398
Banned Rock Lounge
Play foosball or pool, sit back with a cold one (it’s never just one, of course), or simply jump and scream along to some rock and metal. This lounge has indoor and outdoor seating areas and it’s worth checking the particular drinks specials on offer for the night when you go (you might be lucky enough to be able to get a double whisky for just R25!). If you get a turn on the jukebox, your choice may not be popular all round but everyone’s guaranteed to have a good time (and a turn to play their own favourites). All in all, it’s a tribute to heavier rock music that you’re unlikely to find in most of Cape Town’s night spots.
10 Marine Circle, Unit 6 | Table View | Western Cape | +27 (0)73 307 4429 / +27 (0)78 219 2866
This Northern Suburbs branch of the Stones chain on the trendy Edward Street manages to mix a club vibe with that of a chilled bar; on the one hand, there are pool tables; on the other hand, there is a dance floor, complete with strobe lights and stripper poles. They have weekly drinks specials nights like Cheezy Tuesdays (R6 shots are just a few of their great offerings) and Wacky Wednesdays (student night), as well as party nights with accompanying DJs. Try out their various colourful cocktails served in jam jars with a straw and garnishings for something sweet.
1st Floor in the Omnipark Building | 102 Edward Street | Bellville | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 919 4075
This upmarket nightclub is perfect for those who want to get all dressed up for a night on the town. Nu’Bar attracts both students from the Stellenbosch University as well as an older crowd of party animals who like to bust some moves on the dance floor. It has a dress code (your worn-to-death takkies may have to stay at home) and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights are generally big ones. The club purposefully aims to be a safe space for students (and all of its other patrons) to have a good time in.
51 Plein Street | Stellenbosch | Western Cape | +27 (0)21 886 8998