Where to drink one of the world’s oldest cocktails + a recipe
Sizzling Cape Town Sundowner Hotspots
Dress up for a speakeasy, discover a hidden bar, sip piña coladas by the sea + more
Last updated: 23 November 2022
Glitter or glam, rustic or sophisticated, intimate or bustling, Cape Town has no shortage of dazzling bars to offer. Spice up the cold days with palomas and bubbly for sundowners, or keep warm with whisky and wine. Here’s where you’ll find some of the best cocktail spots in the city.
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
TRY 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
CELEBRATE HAPPY HOUR ON A DECK
Kick back and relax at this stunning spot in Hermanus. Ficks is situated within cliff contours surrounding a historic tidal pool. The decks stretch around the rocks, giving you a view of the view from all angles. Try a classic piña colada, Aperol spritz or a yummy mocktail while watching a stunning sunset over the Overberg seas.
Closed: Until 12 August 2022
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
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
18 St Georges Mall | Cape Town City Centre | 021 612 0999 | Instagram: @gorgeousgeorgect | Image: Gorgeous George
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