Africa Travel and Life

Explore Cape Town From Jazz, Eateries, to Tap Bars

From Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town and Table Bay; along the world-renowned coastline that extends for 307 km along the West Coast; to the swankiest down in the basement bars and restaurants, Cape Town has unlimited possibilities after dark.

Jazz in Cape Town is more than music. It is the story of slavery, and the struggle against apartheid. It’s about history and salvation and exile and freedom. Explore the jazz scene and you’ll peer into Cape Town’s past, with groovy riffs telling it like it is. Here are some of Cape Town’s coolest jazz spots:

The Crypt Restaurant has to be one of the coolest venues in Cape Town. It’s located beneath St George’s Cathedral, and the underground setting gives it an alluring ambience that’s hard to beat. Enjoy a cheese platter with some light piano tunes, a burger with some funky Afro-jazz, a steak over some sultry vocal jazz.
The Piano Bar is a trendy New York-style revue bar is located in De Waterkant is open till late every night, and guests can sip cocktails while watching the live performances. The Piano Bar has an intimate and moody vibe, but it prides itself on being an inclusive jazz bar. You’ll hear jazz standards, blues, and even some indie folk at this venue. You don’t need to be knowledgeable about the genre to visit—there’s something for everyone and it’s all about having a good time to some sweet tunes. Don’t miss the daily two-for-one tapas special!
Coffeebeans Routes is a tour company with a difference. They offer contemporary, urban, African experience and the guides don’t shy away from the complex and nuanced history and culture of Cape Town. Their Jazz Safari is a tour for those who like their jazz served fresh and hot. It takes visitors into the homes of local jazz musicians, to enjoy some local cuisine and the most intimate jazz performance you’ll ever come across. After dinner with a local musician, the tour takes you to either a jazz venue or another musician’s home for more music and a nightcap. Discover the roots of Cape jazz and get under the skin of the city on this amazing, meaningful experience.
Swingers is Cape Town’s legendary jazz venue located in Wetton is the place to be Monday nights.

Here is a list of 50 nightlife spots from eateries to tap bars.

Take your seat at Table Mountain’s newest addition, TAP Bar. The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (TMACC), in partnership with Newlands Spring, has created a brand-new brewery experience. Boasting incredible views over the Mother City, TAP bar offers a selection of beer variants as well as wines, spirits, and appetizing cuisine. This is the perfect spot to sit back, relax and enjoy the Mother City at her finest.

Unwind at Bascule Whisky, Wine and Cocktail Bar, located at the V&A Waterfront’s yacht marina. Choose from more than 400 internationally acclaimed whiskies or indulge in a glass of the Cape’s finest wines. Bascule is where connoisseurs and social butterflies gather for signature sundowners, tasty tapas, and lively tunes after a long day.

Situated in the heart of cosmopolitan Cape Town, you’ll find Rick’s Café Americain. Reminiscent of the 1942 movie classic “Casablanca”, this charming café is set in a 135-year-old Victorian building. Enjoy warm hospitality, delicious comfort food and over 500 beverage options on their balcony or spectacular rooftop terrace.

Inspired by Schillers Liquor Bar in New York and Dandelyan Bar in London, Arcade offers Capetonians a spot to grab a drink or a bite to eat before or after a night out on the town. From their top-class DJs to the fully stocked bar, scrumptious organic food and pumping dance floor, Arcade guarantees a terrific time.

Located off Long Street, Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar is a peaceful hideaway after a long day. Enveloped in wooden mansards and set in a 200-year-old attic, their signature Japanese shrine-inspired red bar takes centre stage in this authentic space. Three kokeshi doll tables subtly infuse layers of Japanese subculture while soothing indie sounds drift throughout this unique setting. Expect a wide selection of bespoke cocktails, Japanese whisky, gin, and sake as well as an extensive wine list at Tjing Tjing’s Rooftop Bar.

Home to the only designer Rooftop Airstream Trailer Park in the world, the Grand Daddy is a well-known boutique hotel in the CBD. Head to their intimate Sky Bar to admire the astonishing views of the city skyline while sipping drinks with friends under a rooftop Bedouin tent.

The Village Idiot is a vintage neighbourhood bar and restaurant celebrating South African braai culture. The Village Idiot is where glasses are raised to foolish renegades, adventurous idiots and all the people who refuse to live by the rules of conformity. During the colder months, a charming fireplace warms up this intimate space, while live music and in-house DJs create a vibe that carries the party well into the night.

A modern bar and restaurant, Zepi Grill & Bar, is located in the Gardens area. Arrive early, grab a drink on their terrace or order one of their popular dishes off the menu, such as Bazaruto chicken and fillet, rump steak, or grilled lamb chops. With an emphasis on hearty home-style meals and vibrant ambience, visit Zepi Grill & Bar for a memorable time.

The House of Machines (THoM) aims to bring people and machines together. Combining the love of motorcycles, live music, solid cocktails, cold craft beer and classic apparel, THoM creates a truly unforgettable experience.

At Kennedy’s & Dubliner, enjoy Guinness and Pilsner on tap and your favourite sport on flat-screen TVs. This vibey spot usually has live music every night of the week. The menu aims to bring a little piece of Ireland to the Cape.

Looking for a beer? How about 99? Boasting over 25 taps and 99 bottles of beer on the wall, Beerhouse has become a place to enjoy your pint in their contemporary beer hall. The carefully crafted cuisine menu is designed to complement your ice-cold brew.

RED Roof at Radisson Red Hotel offers refreshing cocktails and beers on tap (from a red truck casually parked poolside) and tasty burgers and tapas-style dishes. The RED Roof is the perfect sunset meet-up spot in the stylish Silo District.

What started out as a waiting room for the ever-popular Royale Eatery has turned into one of Cape Town’s coolest bars. Mix in some of the freshest music from top local musos, well-priced drinks and a rooftop deck, and you’ve got a recipe for a rocking party waiting to happen.

Known for its legendary olive tree rooted in the restaurant and its tantalising culinary and cocktails offerings, Asoka on Kloof Street continues to enthral and excite all who enter.

Originally a small passion project between four friends, The Gin Bar has become one of the most loved locations in the city. Accessed only through Honest Chocolate Cafe, guests need a password to enter. The heritage building housing the bar was once a mortuary, which inspired their playful cocktail menu of “quack” medicinal remedies to cure all manner of ills.

Recently Cape Town’s hottest local music hub, Yours Truly is the perfect spot to kick back and experience live DJs and acoustic sessions every weekend. This venue is ideal for after-work drinks with breathtaking Cape sunsets. Once a backpackers, Yours Truly has crept into the hearts and minds of both locals and international visitors alike.

Established in 1864, Fireman’s Arms is one of the oldest pubs in Cape Town, serving fine wines, cold beers, and delicious light meals. Get there early, especially on game days as the popular pub gets packed. With nine 46-inch flat screens, and two big screens, you won’t miss a single pass, tackle or boundary shot at The Fireman’s Arms.

Perched on the Gorgeous George Hotel, the Gigi Rooftop is a chic intimate 80-seater lounge to let your hair down and conversation flow. Order wild tiki-inspired cocktails, courtesy of in-house mixologist Jody Rahme. Their wide array of dining options is sure to satisfy even the most decerning palate from sunrise to sunset. The Gigi Rooftop is a place where overstaying is welcome.

Best described as al fresco dining with a relaxed atmosphere, Parisian-inspired Stella Café & Bar is on the ground floor of The Cullinan Hotel. Experience South Africa’s finest wines while their resident sommelier takes you on an exquisite journey of unique tastes in an intimate wine room. Don’t forget to indulge in afternoon drinks around their stunning pool terrace before requesting something from the fresh seasonal menu.

The Piano Bar, located at the corner of Jarvis and Napier Streets, is a trendy New York-inspired music revue bar and eatery known for its tempting tapas, signature cocktails and fine wines. Note: Booking is essential.

Situated in upmarket Bree Street, this London Underground-inspired bar called The Station is a place you need to see to believe. From familiar sounds of the subway playing over speakers (while you’re in the bathroom) to station maps covering the ceiling and a giant platform clock above the bar, hop aboard The Station for an awesome night to remember.

Pumping tunes and velvet booths, Harringtons is a classic cocktail lounge, restaurant and upmarket bar. With a distinct air of sophistication, the dedicated smoking lounge and boutique DJ booth complete a sense of opulence and good fortune. Slide into one of the plush velvet booths and order tantalising tapas with an extravagant craft cocktail. Then get ready to party the night away.

Mødular is the first of its kind in the city to have a no photos allowed policy. Why? This ensures complete music and dance emersion. The 350-capacity music venue delivers the best in forward-thinking house and techno music. Artists have the complete freedom to experiment, create and push the boundaries with extraordinary pulsating sounds. If it’s pure underground electronic music you’re looking for, then head over to Mødular in the CBD.

Described as “The pinnacle of nightlife excellence,” Coco features high-end bottle service, excellent customer attention, beautiful clientele, and incredible music. Set in a sexy glammed-up environment, move your body to everything from deep house tunes to the hottest hip-hop beats. Coco frequently has well-known guest DJs on the decks delivering incredible sounds to keep you moving well into the evening.

Utopia is the prime hotspot for a night on the town. The eatery has a string of accolades under its name, including the winner of Africa’s Best Rooftop Restaurant (2021), Top 5 Best Cocktail Spots in Cape Town (by Chapter22 in 2022), and Top 15 Rooftop Bars & Restaurants (The Inside Guide 2021). With 360-degree views, a well-balanced menu and award-winning boutique wines, this hideaway above the city is worth adding to your bucket list.

Combining artisanal cocktails with a café-style menu, Caprice’s relaxed lounge vibe epitomises Cape Town’s cosmopolitan social scene. This stylish bar on the Camps Bay strip is a prime location for supreme sundowners and superb sunsets.

Known for its amazing cocktails, delectable burgers and charming waiters, Cafe Manhattan is the eating, meeting, and chilling spot in De Waterkant Village. Enjoy a quick bite to eat, a cheeky afternoon cocktail on the terrace or a late-night rendezvous at the bar.

With iconic style and playful luxury, The Grand Africa Café & Beach embraces the essence of free-spirited beach café culture. Hugging the shoreline, this quaint relaxing escape offers a choice of five bars, ocean-view decks, nine private function areas and on-beach dining.

Embrace Latino heritage at Cubana, a social dining experience offering an innovative menu, lip-smacking cocktails and premium cigars. This attraction features luxurious lounges, VIP areas and award-winning DJs delivering rhythmic tunes.

Go back in time with DecoDance. This retro club spins the best old school music from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s. DecoDance features 3 bars, plenty of space, smoking and non-smoking dance floors, a banging sound system and funky lighting.

Since opening in 2015, Aegir Project Brewery has been pushing boundaries in the craft beer industry. What started as a small passion-fuelled brewery has become a thriving family-friendly hotspot in the Noordhoek Valley. Tuck into their hand stretched, Neapolitan-style sourdough pizzas, while sipping on a cold one from their sundowner deck overlooking the beautiful Atlantic Cape coast.

Established in 1999, Cape to Cuba is a well-known restaurant, bar and party venue on the main Kalk Bay strip. The beach bar is ideal for a casual drink or dine inside while gazing over the glistening ocean. Enjoy great atmosphere, good music, and a uniquely Cuban-inspired dining experience.

Looking for a place to laugh with loved ones, then visit The Toad in the Village. Located at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, The Toad focuses on good food, cold beer and great service. It’s a popular hangout come match-day with several screens. Try their loin ribs, springbok and Guinness pie or eisbein with crispy crackling should you feel a little bit peckish at half-time.

“The best destination for dude food, made good.” One of many successful venues from the Harbour’s House Group, Tiger’s Milk has quickly become one of the hangout hotspots in Muizenberg. Tiger’s Milk offers top-notch pizzas, killer burgers, succulent ribs and ice-cold craft beer.

Entertaining patrons for over 3 decades, Jakes in the Village has become a local institution. Nestled beneath the Tokai and Constantiaberg mountains, alongside Steenberg golf estate, enjoy their al fresco lunches by day, or a stylish upmarket yet relaxed social dining experience by night. With fine wine, craft beers and exotic cocktails on their menu, book a table and unwind at Jakes today.

Woodstock Brewery, known as one of the best craft breweries in the country, is located in the heart of hip Woodstock. Sample 10 different brews, including seasonal and speciality brews, while enjoying light starters, aged steaks or juicy burgers in their Bavarian Beerhall style restaurant.

A Caribbean-inspired restaurant with a South African twist, Jamaica Me Crazy has been one of Woodstock’s most loved rooftop restaurants for over 15 years. With a beautiful ambience and an eclectic menu, Jamaica Me Crazy delivers good tunes and good times. Happy Hour takes place between 5-6pm daily.

A European-style wine bar in the heart of the Southern Suburbs, Oblivion is a mainstay for those looking for after-dark drinks or simply a bite to eat. Enjoy their rooftop deck with stunning views of Table Mountain or cosy up on comfy sofas in front of a roaring fire with a glass of wine, draught beer or fabulous Mojito. Oblivion is also a firm favourite with sports fans looking to watch the game with fellow supporters.

This New York-styled venue has it all: a delicious menu, craft beers and whiskey. Jerry’s Burger Bar pays homage to Norman Collins (aka Sailor Jerry, the founder of modern-day tattooing) with his classic swallow and monkey designs splashed across the restaurant’s interior. Open till late every night, Jerry’s is a local favourite.

A landmark since 1993, Peddlars has become one of the most recognised and beloved destinations in Constantia. Their modern bar area is the perfect spot for celebrations, after-work drinks or casual visits with friends. With a constantly evolving wine and cocktail list, popular craft beers on tap and exclusive gins and spirits available, here you’re absolutely spoilt for choice.

Well known for its excellent craft beers, delicious island-style dishes and chilled dining atmosphere, Banana Jam Cafe is a Caribbean restaurant and brewery in Harfield Village. Join them for their Happy Hour between 5pm to 6pm daily and discounts on cocktails and craft beer 7 days a week.

Did you know Foresters Arms is in the Guinness Book of Records for the most beer sold in the Southern Hemisphere? Established in 1852, Forrester’s Arms (fondly referred to as Forries), is one of the oldest pubs in South Africa. Guests can sit down, kick back and enjoy a fine draught accompanied by a delicious gastro-pub menu. This perennially busy spot is always packed with rugby fans hoping to catch the game on the big screen.

Based in Diep River since 2016, the geniuses behind the local craft beer Jack Black’s Brewing Co. have created a welcoming space at their brewery. Enjoy craft beers, a vibrant atmosphere and some seriously delicious grub. Their Food Truck Fridays (on the last Friday of every month) are super popular, while quiz nights, live music, open mic and wine and food pairing evenings draw eager crowds.

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