During the evenings the CBD is a bustling scene of tourists and Capetonians alike, enjoying the many clubs, bars and eateries. The music industry here is pumping, with garage rock, rap, and jazz bands playing into the night at various venues. Cape Town nightlife is a must-see!
One of your first stops should be at the Shimmy Beach Club at the V&A Waterfront. As a bar, restaurant, club and private beach, this venue is often alive with live music and DJs. Pay them a visit early on in the evening to enjoy sundowners before dancing on the sand to live music.
Leaving the Waterfront and heading up Buitengracht will take you to The Fireman’s Arms, One of the oldest pubs in Cape Town. A favourite amongst locals, it was first opened in 1864 and is still in its original condition even with a few renovations. With excellent pub grub and multiple big screens for watching any sports match or final, as well as quizzes on Thursdays, it’s a must-see for anyone with a taste for classic pub fun.
Your next stop practically oozes sophistication and comfort. Accessed through a Chocolate Café, in an old heritage that used to be a morgue, is the Gin Bar, home to timeless and hip new gins. Your bartender will take you on an adventure with a selection of local and international gins; learning to identify a myriad of botanical flavours.
If you’re looking to party it up, then you’re going to want to pay Reset a visit. A nightclub on Loop Street, they specialise in deep house, techno and electronic music, inviting you to experience the spectrum of dance music with laser light displays and affordable drinks. The dance floor is spacious and intimate, so you can dance the night away to the DJ’s great tunes.
For a more chic, energetic night out, Cocoon Night Club in the ABSA building offers two different club experiences with unique West and East wings, each with its own category of music played by international DJs, style, and partying experience. Guests can have a private dining experience in a glass booth, or rub shoulders with models and celebrities on the dancefloor and general seating area.
Did that venue tickle your fancy? Then you’ll probably enjoy the Jade Lounge and Champagne Bar, an experience for the upper echelon. With French Boutique style and refined chic, the lounge is a warm, intimate place to see and be seen. There is a dress code and age restriction, ensuring the atmosphere is maintained for guests.
The last two venues may be too expensive or refined for some. If you’re looking for a good rowdy evening, then The Village Idiot is a hotspot you won’t want to miss out on. With eclectic decor, South African style dishes, and great music, you’ll find yourself settling in near the fireplace, taking in all the oddities from paintings to a giant taxidermy ostrich looming over the bar. Locals and tourists alike love this place, and it’s not hard to see why.
Another lively, hip and happening haunt is the Decodance Nightclub, where the partygoers sing and dance along to the music. So it’s not just a nightclub, it’s makeshift group karaoke! If this isn’t enough fun, the venue also hosts monthly Fancy dress parties, where guests can come and dress up in the outfits of their choosing.
Obviously, Cape Town has a bubbling, exciting Nightlife scene. And to top it all off, every first Thursday of the month is First Thursday, an opportunity to shop late and take a look at the amazing art galleries and museums open to the public for free and, more often than not, a free drink to go with your tour of the gallery. South Africa is home to some amazingly talented artists, and you won’t have to think much as to why a festival is held in their honour. You can purchase some of these art pieces, or take a stroll through the open shops and street markets for other treats that catch your fancy.
Not only that but on First Thursday’s the bars, clubs and restaurants will offer exclusive specials on food and drinks to celebrate and bring in more customers. Even the clubs will offer free or discounted entry. The streets of Long, Bree, and Loop, just to name a few, are often packed with people enjoying the festivities, especially in Summer and Spring when the evenings are still warm. If it’s Winter, retreat into the galleries, museums, and theatres for a cultural experience.
Just make sure that while you’re out enjoying the evening air you keep your valuables close at hand, or better yet, don’t bring too much with you from your hotel. Keep your phone and wallet secure, and avoid the less busy/quiet side streets, especially in the wee hours of the morning.
Long Street Nightlife
On first Thursdays or any evening of the week, Longstreet and its sister streets on either side are the most exciting streets in the Mother City. With art galleries, museums, eateries, bars and clubs, there are plenty of opportunities for a fantastic evening no matter what you’re after.
Walking up Longstreet with the harbour to your back, you’ll soon come across a number of pumping venues. Tiger’s Milk and the Grand Daddy Hotel are your first stops, with the latter featuring The Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema, an open-air cinema flanked by seven vintage Airstream trailers that have been turned into cosy caravans. There is a bar to order drinks, and if you’re hungry there is an eatery in the hotel below.
Despite being just off Long Street on Longmarket Street, we feel this venue deserves a visit and a mention! At Tjing Tjing Japanese Restaurant and Bar you can find amazing flaming cocktails, authentic Japanese liquor, and delicious cuisine that includes traditional dishes like ramen, octopus balls, dango, and other sweet and savoury treats.
After heading further upwards, passing other bars and eateries along the way, you’ll come across Bob’s Bar, famous for its lively atmosphere and affordable shots and drinks. A lively dance floor, popular music and gleaming lights make it a fun venue to pop into for a range of colourful shots. The venue is always super packed, so try to come early to get a spot at a table or at the bar.
Pretty much next door, you’ll find one of Longstreet’s gems; Beerhouse. With 25 beers on tap and their famous 99 bottles on the wall, you’ll have no trouble quenching your thirst. You can even order your own keg in advance, or go on a beer tasting adventure. Beerhouse also has a delicious menu of burgers, steaks, and other comfort and bar foods, if you happen to be hungry. We highly recommend their snacks menu! If you’re looking to party it up there’s a dancefloor next door for your enjoyment.
The next stop you have to make is at The Dubliner, a warm and welcoming Irish Pub with its wooden floors and polished wooden bars. Murals, pictures, and banners on the walls add to its charming character, and there are live bands performing every night from 10 pm for the party-goers on the dance floor. There’s also a kitchen for some classic pub grub and multiple big screens across the venue for the sports days.
Right across the road, you’ll find Fiction Music Bar, one of the most popular nightclubs in Cape Town. With frequent themed nights, live music and parties, the venue are never quiet, and guests will be pleased to find two outside areas and a spacious but intimate dancefloor. Upstairs in a gaming themed lounge and bar, with geeky and edgy decor and themed drinks.
Lastly, your walk up Longstreet ends with The Waiting Room, an urban bar where guests can dress up or down for the occasion. It boasts a rooftop seating area that’s great for sundowners and cocktails, a dance floor, and a chill lounge playing music like downtempo, funk, hip hop, dub, jazz, reggae, and breaks and soul. Blonde wood makes up the floor, and the ceiling is decorated with fairy lights.
Once you’ve concluded your walk up Longstreet, we recommend you take to the neighbouring streets such as Loop, Kloof and Bree for more fantastic clubs, bars, and art galleries.