The 21 Best Cocktail Bars Cape Town Has to Offer

Words: Jess Spiro

*Updated March 2020

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

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: 280 Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 12h00 – 01h30. Saturday: 20h00 – 01h30.
Good to know: It’s the Waterfront so it’s pretty much almost always busy, make sure to Uber.
Contact: 021 422 0266

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

There are two branches of La Parada (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 Constantia sunset, margarita in hand, while listening to the vibey music provided by weekend DJs.

Location: 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

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 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

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. They also make a knockout Old Fashioned among other great cocktails.

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 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

The Stack


Hidden on Weltevreden Street, off of busy Kloof Street, this restaurant/bar, part members only club is a hidden gem. With cocktail specials from Monday-Friday from 16h00 to 18h00, this beautifully decorated bar is the perfect backdrop for any special occasion, or a night you’re feeling a bit fancy.

Location: Leinster Hall, 7 Weltevreden Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 08h00 – 23h00 | Sunday: 11h00 – 20h00
Good to know: They have an outdoor veranda to sit on those warm days
Contact: 021 286 0187

The Athletic Club & Social

On the corner of Strand and Buitengracht Street, this Mediterranean tapas restaurant, bar, cocktail lounge are all in a three-story heritage building. With stunning interiors, and very carefully picked designs, this cocktail bar will leave you feeling like you are back in the roaring 20s.

Location: 35 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12h00 – 23h00 | Friday- Saturday: 12h00 – 02h00
Good to know: They have jazz nights every Thursday in the basement.
Contact: 021 012 533

The Art of Duplicity

The city’s most secret speakeasy was awarded the prestigious label of Overall Bar to Watch in 2020, so you know this place is already going to be one of your favourites. The interior of the secret bar is all low lighting, with rare antique objects and other lovingly curated paraphernalia adorning a customised, vintage, apothecary-style floor-to-ceiling bar, imagine being here while sipping on some fabulous cocktails!

Location: After you book they will tell you the location.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 18h00 – 24h00
Good to know: Cocktails range from R120-R160

Gigi Rooftop at Gorgeous George

One of Cape Town’s hottest new bars is situated on the top level of The Gorgeous George Hotel. Overlooking St. George’s Mall, you get a great view of the city all the while sitting in a perfectly curated environment, while enjoying delicious cocktails and listening to some great tunes.

Location: 118 St George’s Mall, Cape Town
Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12h00 – 23h30
Good to know: They also offer great brunches at their restaurant.
Contact: 087 898 6000

Dark Horse

Owned by the same owners of Black Sheep, this Kloof Street bar has become a local favourite. With a rooftop view of Table Mountain to die for, incredibly delicious tapas that ranges from charred broccoli to aubergine bao’s, and wonderfully refreshing cocktails, this bar will become your new go-to spot.

Location: 145 Kloof Street, Gardens
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 16h00 – 23h00 | Friday- Saturday: 12h00 – 01h00
Good to know: If you want to take advantage of their rooftop get there early
Contact: 021 422 0825

Vicious Virgin

The newest addition to the bar scene, this dark and sexy tiki bar and restaurant opened in December 2019. After winning Bartender of the Year and Most Influential Cocktail Personality in 2019, Travis Kuhn opened Vicious Virgin on Wale Street hoping to cater to those rum cocktail lovers out there.

Location: 53 Wale Street, Cape Town
Hours: Tuesday- Sunday: 11h00-02h00
Good to know: Polynesian-inspired and rum-heavy cocktails rule this great bar
Contact: 062 728 9341


winter restaurant specials

One of Kloof Street’s staples for foreigners and locals alike, this lounge eatery has delicious sharing plates as well as deliciously superb cocktails. Different nights call for different themes but that’s what make it so exciting.

Location: 68 Kloof Street, Gardens
Hours: Monday- Sunday: 18h00-02h00
Good to know: You need to book ahead to ensure a spot.
Contact: 021 422 0909


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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