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Your Long Street guide

The best of Long Street’s bars, restaurants and stores

Last updated: Friday, 22 March 2024 

London has Soho; New Orleans, the French Quarter; and Cape Town? We have Long Street. By day it’s a curious place for exploration, and at night it’s a raucous nightlife scene. Did you know it houses Africa’s first concept store, and a book store from 1956? Or that there’s a vinyl store, featured in an Oscar-winning documentary?

A PORTAL INTO FORGOTTEN DECADES

Hidden at the top of a staircase on Long Street is a little vinyl store with a lot of history and a big reputation. Featured in the Oscar-winning Searching For Sugar Man, the door to Mabu Vinyl conceals old records, books, comics, and cassettes. Plus, there are refurbished record players for sale and regular clearance sales. If it’s rare, you’ll find it at Mabu Vinyl.

Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm


285 Long Street | Cape Town | @mabuvinyl | Image: Mabu Vinyl

BALCONY BAR WITH LIVE MUSIC

Café by day, balcony club with live music by night. Club Tai Pan (where SGT Pepper used to be) is an all-rounder hangout spot. It’s got pizza, beers, a balcony overlooking Long Street, and a bunch of cool events from student nights to salsa dancing. Plus, there are regular live shows from alternative rock bands to live DJs.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm to 2am

 
 
 
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194 Long Street | Cape Town | @club_tai_pan | Image: Club Tai Pan

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL COFFEE SHOP

At IMBIZO, an all-African artisan coffee roastery, you can get the finest blends. They source only raw Arabica green coffee beans of African origins, with aromas of fruit, chocolate, nuts, and caramel. You can get a taste of their coffee at their corner kiosk; get it delivered to your door; or by booking them as baristas at your next event.  

Hours: Monday to Friday, 6.30am to 5pm

 149 Long Street | Cape Town | @imbizoafricancoffee

BROWSE THROUGH THOUSANDS OF AFRICAN BOOKS   

Clarke’s Bookshop has been an institution in the city for decades. Inside this gorgeous Victorian-style building with an intricate wrought-iron balcony, you’ll find new and out-of-print books on art, non-fiction, poetry, and plays. It specialises in South African and African books, and even supplies study material to multiple university libraries, including Yale University. 

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm; Saturday, 9.30am to 1pm


199 Long Street | Cape Town | @clarkesbookshop | Image: @sacrificialcam

420 DAIQUIRIS AND RAINBOW KUSH COCKTAILS

Everything is infused with CBD at this two-level restaurant. The glowing green lights and Bob Marley tunes in the background give Infusion On Long a super relaxed atmosphere. They have a shisha lounge upstairs and on some nights, live DJs. The menu is filled with Mediterranean-styled burgers, sandwiches, and sushi all CBD infused at Infusion on Long

Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10.30am to 11pm


57 Long Street | Cape Town | @infusiononlong | Image: Infusion On Long 

(RE)INTRODUCING MAMA AFRICA

It’s been around since 1995. The bright orange building covered in colourful murals has food from Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe… And for those curious enough to try it, there’s crocodile too. You can stay for a late-night drink, try food from across the African continent, or join a djembe drumming or live reggae night at Mama Africa

Hours: Daily, 12pm to 2am


178 Long Street | Cape Town | @mamaafrica_cape_town | Image: Mama Africa

TURKISH BATH, ANYONE?

The original 1908 Long Street Bath House is a mix of Victorian, Edwardian and art nouveau architecture. Not only does it have a sauna and 25m-long heated pool, but also a steam and hot room for Turkish steam baths. Plus, on Tuesdays, the pool, sauna, hot room and steam rooms are open to women only between 10am and 2pm. For kids, there’s a 7m long splash pool. 

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7am to 7pm


Long Street | Cape Town | Website |  Image: @joshrowe_dop

EMPERORS AND EMPRESSES WELCOME

Inspired by 4 000 year-old heritage of African royalty, Emperors Lounge offers Western cuisine with an African twist, and frequently hosts events with live music and DJs, including Empress Saturdays and Royal Fridays. It’s opulently decorated with black and gold decor, and there’s a shisha section. 

Hours: Monday, 5pm to 2am; Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 2am


230 Long Street | Cape Town | @emperors_lounge

A HEFTY FISH AND TJIPS COMBO 

Nothing beats a fresh fish and tjips combo, especially when it’s from an establishment that’s been around for over 30 years. Revelas Fisheries knows their stuff:  They receive fish straight from the harbour, and their chips are cut from first-grade potatoes. The portions are grilled or fried. 

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9am to 6pm; Friday, 9am to 8pm; Saturday, 9.30am to 8pm


205 Long Street | Cape Town | Website | Image: Unsplash 

DURBAN CURRIES AND DESSERT

Durban curries are Nouveau Coffee and Grill’s speciality (thanks to the Durban-born chef). This halaal restaurant has traditional lamb, prawn and Thai green curry. There are premium steaks, seafood dishes, and desserts too. For special occasions like Eid, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day it rolls out buffets and 3-course menus. 

Hours: Daily, 8am to 10pm


134 - 136 Long Street | Cape Town | @nouveau_coffeeandgrill | Image: Centric Media

ONE OF LONG STREET’S OLDEST BARS

Apart from being a local hotspot, Marvel is one of the oldest bars on Long Street. It’s recognizable by the red neon sign and wooden exterior. It’s known for hip-hop beats and a house-party vibe with a pool and foosball table. They also have live DJ events and drinks specials like 2-for-1 beers. 

Hours: Daily, 5pm to 4am

 
 
 
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236 Long Street | Cape Town | @marvel_bar_

ETHIOPIAN FOOD IN A TREEHOUSE 

Madam Taitou is a colourful African-themed restaurant offering a communal dining experience of Ethiopian dishes (and it’s vegan-friendly too). There are vegetable platters on the menu, with lentils and flatbread, plus lamb and curries. Diners are seated in a treehouse-style space with mismatched furniture covered in animal skins, potted plants and creepers providing privacy. 

Hours: Daily, 11am to 11pm


77 Long Street | Cape Town | 072 427 5184 | Image: @ct.culinary

FRESH SMOOTHIES ON THE GO

True to its name, Smoothies On The Go in the CBD serves fresh smoothies and summer drinks. It’s around the corner from the Company’s Garden. You’ll see kids coming in after school for ice-cream to people grabbing a cup of coffee or a freshly made smoothie on their way to work. If you’re not in a rush (or on the go), you can pull up a chair and sit on the bustling street’s sidewalk.

Hours: Daily, 8am to 8pm

 
 
 
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149 Long Street | Cape Town | @smoothieotg

AFRICA’S FIRST CONCEPT STORE

You might think you’ve walked into a boutique in Paris or a museum in New York. Merchants On Long holds the same level of admiration and glamour from its customers. This concept store showcases innovative African fashion and accessories from brands like Maxhosa Africa, Sindiso Khumalo, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Rich Mnisi and MmusoMaxwell. 

Hours: Daily, 10am to 6pm


34 Long Street | Cape Town | @merchantsonlong | Image: Merchants On Long

A GRAND CLUB IN CAPE TOWN

Soho is the epitome of glamour when it comes to Cape Town’s nightlife scene. The chic party venue exudes sophistication with its sleek design, plush seating, and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the cityscape. Internationally renowned DJs often grace the decks, ensuring that the techno and pop music is always top-notch.

Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 9pm to 4am

220 Long Street | Cape Town | @sohocpt

By Khadeeja Adams 

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