From lunches and carols to markets and meeting Santa
Sizzling Cape Town Sundowner Hotspots
Sip on cocktails in a rooftop greenhouse, by the sea, in a Caribbean haven + more
Last updated: 20 December 2022
Glitter or glam, rustic or sophisticated, intimate or bustling, Cape Town has no shortage of dazzling bars to offer. Celebrate summer at some of our favourite bars with a sea view, or dress up and prepare for an intimate cosy evening. Here’s where you’ll find some of the best cocktail spots in the city.
DINE ON SUSHI AND ASIAN TAPAS
Not only does this funky restaurant on Kloof Street offer awesome cocktails, it also serves a fusion of cuisines from around Asia. At Soi Bar you can dine on dumplings, potstickers and wok-tossed teriyaki ribs while sipping on fun cocktails. Try the Apollo, which has flavours of tequila, mango and lime, or the Rose Bath, a gin cocktail which is served in a bath with rose petals.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm - 1pm
9 Kloof Nek Road | Cape Town | 079 038 2893 | @soibar.cpt | Image: Soi Bar
TRY CAPE TOWN'S NEW SUMMER DRINK
It's a yes from us. The folks at The Duchess Drinks Company have done it again with the creation of a refreshing new drink that combines the best of Cape Town summer in a glass: Taste vineyards, fruit orchards and the ocean in this cocktail on tap. Discover why the Cape Spritz is our team’s new favourite afterwork drink, and where you can try it with a sea view.
Cape Town in a cocktail. Image: The Duchess Drinks Company
DRINK FROM A DOG BOWL
Yes, you read correctly. It’s like a fish bowl cocktail, but served in a dog bowl. This cheeky drink highlights the dog-friendly nature of this seaside eatery. It’s located on top of the lagoon at Onrus Beach, overlooking mountains and sea. The cocktail is big enough to share between 3 to 4 people. If you’re not a sharer, go for the Popcorn Gin and Tonic (with actual pieces of popcorn floating on the drink) at the Waffle Shack by Milk on the Beach.
1 Atlantic Drive | Onrus River | 028 316 1516 | @milk_onthebeach | Image: Milk on the Beach
TAKE A TRIP TO THE BEACH
Situated in Blouberg, Catch 22 has an outdoor deck overlooking the beach where you can dine on sushi and steak. They have a variety of unique cocktails, like the Sparkling Paloma, which is tequila and sparkling wine with flavours of ginger and grapefruit.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 12pm - 9:30pm; Sunday, 12pm - 9pm
Corner of Beach Boulevard, Porterfield Road | Table View | 021 557 7449 | @catch22grille | Image: Catch 22 Beachside Grille and Bar
THE BEST BARS FOR DRINKING OLD FASHIONEDS
If you don’t know the citrusy, smokey flavours of the Old Fashioned – one of the world’s first cocktails – you’re in for a treat. We’ve found the bars and restaurants that make an Old Fashioned best – plus, we’ve got a simple recipe that’ll have you whipping up the classic cocktail in less than 5 minutes. Get to know the story of the Old Fashioned and discover our top picks for where to drink them.
Find the best Old Fashioneds in town or learn to make one yourself. Image: Louise Hansel
TASTE THE CARIBBEAN
Sip on coconut and rum cocktails at this Caribbean restaurant in Kenilworth. Decorated with bright green and yellow decor and a beautiful garden with outdoor seating, Banana Jam is a great spot to sip on refreshing signature cocktails in the warm weather. They also brew award-winning beer and have 30 beers on tap.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am - 11pm, Sunday, 11am to 10pm
157 Second Avenue | Kenilworth | 021 674 0186 | @bananajamcafe | Image: Banana Jam Cafe
SIP ON WHISKEY SOURS AT THIS RETRO SPOT
Cargo is an ode to a masculinity of yesteryear. Decorated with old school army memorabilia and framed black and white photographs, this is the perfect edgy spot to listen to laidback rock music. Treat yourself to an old fashioned or whiskey sour, or a hungover Sunday breakfast.
Hours: Daily, 7am - 12am
158 Kloof Street | Tamboerskloof | Cape Town City Centre | 021 213 1221 | @c__a__r__g__o | Image: Julia Rowley
DISCOVER THIS GEM AT SUNSET BEACH
Fancy Franks in Milnerton looks unassuming, but it is anything but. This slice of Kloof Street at the beach has great happy hour specials, like a 2-for-1 special on mojitos, cosmopolitans and gin and tonics. They also host a ladies night special where you can get free tequila and gin cocktails for R40.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12 to 11pm; Monday 1 to 11pm
Ocean Square | Sunset Beach | Cape Town | 021 879 1923 | @fancy.franks | Image: Fancy Franks
SIP COCKTAILS IN THE SKY
Tucked away in the hotel Gorgeous George, in St George’s Mall, you’ll find the tropical paradise Gigi’s Rooftop Bar. This spot is oozing with pizzazz. It has hanging lights, plants and the infinitely Instagrammable “Hello Gorgeous” sign. Gigi’s is open throughout the day, so you can drink a glass of bubbly with brunch or classic whisky or wine for sundowners by the pool.
Hours: Daily, 7.30am - 11pm
118 St Georges Mall | Cape Town City Centre | 021 612 0999 | Instagram: @gorgeousgeorgect | Image: Gorgeous George
DRINK A COCKTAIL WITH A LOCAL FABLE
Flavour, fresh and fun are just three words to describe Fable on Bree Street. Try one of the 8 speciality cocktails, each named after a local fable (you can read them). The menu encourages you to order according to flavour profiles rather than ingredients. We recommend the Kronendal lovers (which comes with a gorgeous glitter brush) or the Smoking Devil for a husky taste.
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm - 2pm; Friday & Saturday, 4pm - 2am
Bree Street | Cape Town | 066 009 7786 | Instagram: @fablecpt | Image: Fable
CELEBRATE HAPPY HOUR ON A TIDAL POOL
Ficks is easily one of the most Instagrammable spots in the Western Cape. Built into the rocks surrounding Ficks tidal pool, this seaside spot sells cheeky cocktails like the MILF and Balls to the Walls. Don't miss out on the boozy milkshakes either - try the Save the Rhino (featuring a vanilla and coffee liqueur that aids nature conservation) or the Marshmallow Dream (a fun pink drink made with marshmallow cream liqueur). Learn more about Ficks (ever heard of pinchos?).
Hours: Daily, 11am - 9pm (a completely open-air venue, it’s closed in severe wet weather)
Marine Drive | Hermanus | 028 312 408 | Instagram: @ficksrestaurant | Image: Ficks
TRY THE PALOMA AT THIS KLOOF STREET GEM
They say blondes have more fun, and that’s true of Blondie Restaurant on Kloof Street. This quirky spot is great for a relaxed lunch or drinks on the veranda, under its yellow umbrellas. Try the paloma cocktail while snacking on Mediterranean-inspired foods (there are vegan and vegetarian options too).
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm - 11pm; Sunday, 12pm - 10pm
71 Kloof Street | Gardens | 072 169 8671 | Instagram: @blondie_cpt | Image: Lara v Zyl
STOCK UP ON GIN AT THIS BAR
Hidden behind an artisanal chocolate bar in the city, you’ll find this little gem that serves some spectacular gin. The Gin Bar is a small and intimate space with a courtyard that feels like it’s set in small-town Italy. With decadent gins, beers, wine and a newly introduced bubbly bar, this hidden gem has the right drink for everyone.
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 5pm - 1am; Thursday to Saturday, 3pm - 1am
Behind Honest Chocolate | 64A Wale Street | Cape Town | 071 241 2277 | Instagram: @theginbar | Image: The Gin Bar
DRESS UP FOR THIS SPEAKEASY
Transport yourself to the roaring Twenties with this secret bar. With a dark and intimate setting, live jazz music and the waitrons dressed in Gatsby-esque glamour, you’ll feel like you’ve strolled into a classic speakeasy. The drinks are inspired by this distinctive period and are as stylish as they are tasty.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm - till late
TRY THE COCKTAILS AT A TOP 100 BAR
This cocktail bar has been declared one of the top 100 in the world by The World’s 50 Best. Cause Effect is a tiny space but demands attention. The cocktails take inspiration from the Cape Town surroundings (think mountains, sea, vineyards) with an artistic presentation. Plus, it’s located at one of the most bustling spots in the city (V&A Waterfront).
280 Dock Road | V&A Waterfront | 021 422 0266 | Instagram: @causeeffectbar | Image: Cause Effect
DISCOVER SPICY DRINKS AT UNA MÁS
Una Más means “one more” in Spanish, a fitting name for this newly opened restaurant that serves more-ish Mexican food and drinks. It’s an intimate, trendy and vibey spot already popular amongst Sea Point locals, the drinks are spicy (try the Spicy Paloma cocktail) and the cuisine is incredible.
Hours: Monday, 5pm - 11pm; Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm - 11pm
77 Regent Rd | Sea Point | 087 470 0296 | @una_mas_mezcaleria | Image: Simone Strydom
HANG OUT AT THIS ALL-DAY CAFE BAR
Origin Coffee by day, Café Noir by night, this gem in De Waterkant was inspired by the all-day cafes in France and Italy. From a finely perfected espresso martini to speciality cocktails like the Strawberry & Green Tea Cocktail with imphepho flowers, this bar is a great spot for a nightcap or after-work pick me up. You can also snack on the small-plate menu.
Hours: Wednesdays to Saturdays, 6pm - 11.30pm
28 Hudson Street | De Waterkant | 067 404 7343 | Instagram: @cafenoir_byorigin | Image: Cafe Noir
DRESS UP FOR A SNAZZY NIGHT OUT
You will be dazzled by the glamour at this spot in Hout Street. With plush booths, disco balls and attention-grabbing cocktails, Zsa Zsa is the perfect spot for your next ladies’ night, birthday celebration or just to grab drinks after work. For a bit of theatrics, go for the Mexican Christmas. It’s made up of orange juice with a heavy-handed shot of Don Julio tequila (that is set alight).
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm - 2am
101 Hout Street | Cape Town | 079 656 1080 | Instagram: @zsazsacpt | Image: Zsa Zsa
OPT FOR A MOODY NIGHT OUT IN THE CITY
If you’re looking for something more cosy and romantic, opt for this three-storey Victorian building in the inner city. The Athletic Club & Social is filled with velvet chairs, Persian rugs and dark, warm colours (perfect for a date night or girls’ night out). It has a large veranda looking out onto the mountains, if you want the full sundowner experience.
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 1pm - 11pm; Thursday to Saturday, 12pm - 2am
35 Buitengracht Street | CBD | 084 087 5566 | Instagram: @theathleticclubandsocial | Image: The Athletic Club and Social
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