The 16 Best Cocktail Bars Cape Town Has to Offer

Words: Jess Spiro

We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful place like Cape Town, so fortunate in fact, that we should celebrate with a cocktail or several. Here are our favourite cocktail bars Cape Town has to offer, from small hole-in-the-wall hideaways to sunny spots on the Camps Bay strip.

The Best Cocktail Bars Cape Town Has to Offer

Cause | Effect

cocktail bars cape town

Cause | Effect late last year, but it didn’t take long for word to spread of this new gem. Taking inspiration from all that Cape Town has to offer in terms of local plants, sea, mountain and vineyards, Cause | Effect makes experimental cocktails that awaken all of your senses, not just taste.

Location: 2A Park Road, Gardens.
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 12h00 – 01h30. Saturday: 20h00 – 01h30.
Good to know: situated very close to some great restaurants on Kloof Street means this is a great spot for a pre or post-dinner drink.
Contact: 072 917 1183

Chinchilla Rooftop Café and Bar

cocktail bars cape town

Step into the colourful and textured environment of Chinchilla Rooftop Café and Bar and you’ll immediately feel transported. The bar sits above Bilboa restaurant and, naturally, has stunning views over the sandy white beach of Camps Bay. The cocktail menu is vast and that’s a good thing, as this is a place you are going to want to spend some time. There are the much-loved classics like the Pina Colada and Mojito but venture out and give the Watermelon Mint G&T or the Cherry Sours a try.

Location: Camps Bay (above Bilboa)
Hours: 14h00 – 22h00 daily
Good to know: there’s a live DJ on weekends.
Contact: 021 286 5075

Harringtons Cocktail Lounge

cocktail bars cape town

Harringtons is the cocktail lounge that you’ll meet at after work and won’t leave until the early hours of the morning. As part of a great new revival in the East City, Harringtons is a slightly more upmarket bar than that of SurfaRosa but is no less fun. Once the sun sets, the music really gets going, so you’ll be able to have a little dance with your cocktail.

Location: 61B Harrington Street, Zonnebloem.
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 17h00 – 04h00.
Good to know: they do a happy hour every day from 17h00 – 19h00 where selected drinks are half price.
Contact: 021 461 2276


La Parada

cocktail bars cape town

There are three branches of La Parada (Camps Bay, Constantia Nek and Bree Street) and all serve delicious tapas, a well-priced wine list and of course, those all-important cocktails. Their shaken margarita is hands down the best one in the city, we can vouch for that. Our favourite way to enjoy is to take in a magnificent Camps Bay sunset, margarita in hand, while listening to the vibey music provided by weekend DJs.

Location: Camps Bay, Constantia Nek and Bree Street.
Hours: Monday- Sunday: 12h00-22h00.
Good to know: go straight for the kill and order a margarita, not for sharing!
Contact: Bree: 021 426 0330 | Camps Bay: 021 286 2106 | Constantia Nek: 021 795 0620

Orphanage Cocktail Emporium

cocktail bars cape town

As the name suggests, these guys are all about bringing the art of the cocktail into the 21st century. Forget sugary drinks in glasses with umbrellas, the drinks here are sophisticated, conceptual and delicious. Hang around long enough and the dance floor opens up and you can dance the night away. We love their More Tea Vicar cocktail which is a blend of vanilla-infused vodka, rooibos syrup and cranberry and is served in a bone china teacup. Very swish!

Location: 227 Bree St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town.
Hours: Monday – saturday 16h00-02h00.
Good to know: the dancefloor gets packed!
Contact: 021 424 2004

Outrage of Modesty

cocktail bars cape town

Set up in a speakeasy style, you really have to know about Outrage of Modesty to get in here. Seriously, it’s so hidden you’d be forgiven for walking straight past it. Once you’re in, though, you’ll be taken on a cocktail journey of discovery. This is not one of the regular places for cocktails Cape Town, that’s for sure. The curated drinks menu includes exciting drinks made of spirits brewed locally and even in the bar itself. Heads up: you will need to make a booking.

Location: 88 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 18h00 – 01h00.
Good to know: if you want to put together the perfect date, have drinks here before dining at the neighbouring Shortmarket Club.
Contact: 021 422 2902

Planet Bar at The Mount Nelson

cocktail bars cape town

Ah, The Nelly. Is there anything more iconic to Cape Town than this pink-walled dreamboat? We think not. As far as we’re concerned, whatever you need, The Mount Nelson will have the answer – be it a spot for Mother’s Day or a much-needed spa day, to Rudi Liebenberg’s culinary masterpiece, Planet Restaurant.

It also happens to house one of the best places for cocktails in Cape Town, The Planet Bar. The food offering is outstanding too and includes Rudi’s famed burger. You might find that you come to the Planet bar for drinks but stay for the food.

Location: Mount Nelson Hotel, 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town.
Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12h00 – 22h30.
Good to know: being part of an international hotel group means that the prices are slightly more geared for tourists. The food, drinks and service are worth it, however, but just make sure you know you’ll be paying a little more than usual.
Contact: 021 483 1000

SkyBar at The Grey Hotel

cocktail bars cape town

Atop a small boutique hotel in De Waterkant is SkyBar, with its fantastic views over the city skyline and cocktail menu, it’s ideal for sundowners. The spot is small but once on top (up a very narrow and winding staircase, mind you) the open air gives a sense of space. If you feel like nibbles, be sure to book at Cheyne Morrisby’s, Shio, before you head upstairs for drinks.

Location: 49 Napier St, Cape Town.
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10h00-00h00.
Good to know: an unbeatable city view and a pool that you can dip your toes into.
Contact: 021 421 1106

The Botanical Bar

cocktail bars cape town

The team behind The Gin Bar have expanded and opened up a little sister bar – The Botanical Bar. Not quite as hidden as The Gin Bar, Botanical looks more to making drinks with foraged ingredients, local herbs and plants. With the same cocktail expertise you’ve come to know at the Gin Bar powering this new spot, you know this is going to be a goodie. Read more about local tonics here!

Location: 160 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 16h00 – 00h00. Friday – Saturday: 16h00 – 01h30.
Good to know: their snacks menu is great and uses only ethically-sourced meat and ingredients.
Contact: 064 686 4164

The Gin Bar

cocktail bars cape town

So cool and hidden, blink and you might miss this sweet little spot tucked behind Honest Chocolate Café. The Gin Bar – as the name suggests – specialises in local gins. Now you could stick to what you know and simply order your favourite local gin with a local tonic or you could leave it to the professionals to mix you up one of their delicious gin cocktails.

Location: 64a Wale Street, Cape Town.
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 17h00 – 00h00. Friday – Saturday: 15h00 – 01h00.
Good to know: they also offer great local wines and beers, should you be drinking with people who aren’t fans of gin.
Contact: 060 606 6014

The House of Machines

cocktail bars cape town

The House’ – as it’s affectionately known by regulars – is something of a dive-bar-meets-curated-cocktail-bar-meets-cafe. During the day they serve stellar coffee and breakfasts, but when the sun goes down they turn out some great cocktails. So great in fact, that we’ll call it and say they make the best Negroni in the city. The cocktail offerings change depending on who’s behind the bar, but they also make a knockout Old Fashioned.

Location: 84 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 07h00 – 01h00.
Good to know: they regularly offer live music, so get in early for a good spot at the bar.
Contact: 021 426 1400

The Table Bay Hotel

cocktail bars cape town

There’s something about The Table Bay in general that we can’t get enough of. Whether it’s the Camissa Brasserie or the high tea, we love spending time here. Their bar, known as The Union Bar, is also a great spot for cocktails and to whet your appetite for before dinner or even after. It’s like stepping into old world New York, with a heavy dark wood bar and lots of leather. The drink offerings are made up of well-known local and imported spirits, wine and beer, as well as a couple of great cocktails.

Location: The Table Bay Hotel, Quay 6, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town.
Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11h00 – 02h00
Good to know: the view over the Waterfront as the sun sets is perfection.
Contact: 021 406 5988

The Vue Skybar

cocktail bars cape town

The Vue undoubtedly boasts one of the best views in the city. You can enjoy almost a 360-degree vista of the city by day and of course, the twinkling lights of town, the Waterfront and Table Mountain as the sun sets. Their cocktail menu has plenty of great options including a delicious grilled pineapple margarita and a watermelon martini amongst others. We recommend going while the sun is up and enjoying seeing the sunset over the Mother City in all its glory.

Location: Floor 15, The Capital Mirage, 40 Chiappini Street.
Hours: Daily 07h00 – midnight.
Good to know:
Contact: 021 418 3065

Twankey Bar

cocktail bars cape town

The Twankey Bar has become well-known for their exciting cocktails created by local famed mixologist AJ Snetler. The cocktail menu is concise but difficult to choose from because they’re all so tasty. Our advice? Settle in for the night, order more than one and get some of the bar snacks to line your stomach.

Location: The Taj, Wale Street, CBD, Cape Town.
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 15h00 – 23h00. Friday – Saturday: 15h00 – 00h00.
Good to know: they also offer a wide range of local beers and wines.
Contact: 021 819 2000

Vista Bar and Lounge at One&Only, Cape Town

cocktail bars cape town

The Vista Bar and Lounge is situated in the One&Only, Cape Town and enjoys views over the resort and Table Mountain through floor to ceiling glass windows. The cocktail menu has undergone a revamp and plenty of exciting and complex cocktails expertly crafted by Bar Manager, Phetogo Sefanyetso, and his team. Order bar snacks and kick back while you listen to live music 6 days a week.

Location: V&A Waterfront
Hours: Daily from 12h00 to 01h00.
Good to know: there is live music Monday – Saturday.
Contact: 021 431 4511

Willaston Bar at The Silo Hotel

cocktail bars cape town

The Silo Hotel has been a major attraction pretty much since it opened and for good reason. Its views alone are worth a trip up. Luckily, the Willaston bar’s offerings may even rival the views. Situated on the 6th floor, the plush watering hole will have you feeling like royalty in no time at all. If you’re dining anywhere near the Waterfront, this should be your first stop for a truly wonderful sundowner drink.

Location: The Silo Hotel, Silo Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11h00 – 00h00
Good to know: The rooftop bar is open to the public but you must book!
Contact: 021 407 0511

Enjoyed reading about cocktail bars Cape Town? Find out where you can enjoy a great gin at any one of these gin bars in Cape Town.

One comment

  1. Personally I think the vista bar has an international touch,the selection is very wide and it will catch your instantly… thumbs up vista

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