10 Best Bars in Cape Town for 30 Year Olds

neon bar sign

Are you heading to the Mother City and wondering where the best bars in Cape Town are? This buzzing city has no shortage of trendy and unique bars lining its colorful streets. A vibey haunt awaits you from the city center to the world-renowned V&A Waterfront.

Finding a bar that suits you in Cape Town won’t be an issue. If you’re a fan of rooftop bars, hidden gems, and oceanside hangouts, we’ve got it all on our list. Discover fascinating drink blends, tasty finger food, and exclusive hangout spots as you learn more about Cape Town’s world-renowned bar scene.

So, without further ado, strap in for 10 epic establishments that show there’s no one way to party in style.

Tip: Planning your trip but can’t decide when to go? Look at the best time to visit Cape Town to help you choose.

The 10 Best Bars Cape Town Has to Offer

Ready for a bar-hopping bonanza? Here’s our guide to the 10 most popular Cape Town bars scattered around the Mother City.

1. The Gin Bar

gin bar ariel view

The Gin Bar is an iconic hidden gem located at 64A Wale Street in the CBD. Lovingly referred to as the “secret” Gin Bar by locals, this highly-reviewed and well-visited establishment is arguably the city’s worst-kept secret. Despite its popularity, you’ll still find The Gin Bar a special experience for two reasons.

The first reason is its location. You have to walk through the Honest Chocolate Café, to the back door of the confectionary shop, and into a Mediterranean-style courtyard. From there, you’ll find the enterprise sitting in an old morgue, which is now part of the bar’s theme.

The second reason? Well, that’s all about their specialty: South African gin. With over 70 local bottles on the shelves and 20 international brands, the gin cocktails served there are curated in line with the mortuary theme of a “medicinal cure.”

Try some of their signature gin cocktails like The Hope for pessimism — mixed with Hope Mediterranean Gin, olive brine, basil, and tonic water. Or, if that doesn’t suit your fancy, try The Head for depression — a mix of Pienaar & Son Orient Gin, Symmetry Spice Tonic Essence, lime, star anise, and thyme.

2. Tjing Tjing

tjing tjing red bar

Tjing Tjing House is definitely one of the coolest Japanese-style spots on 165 Longmarket Street. You’ll find Tjing Tjing’s rooftop bar sitting in a 200-year-old attic on the third floor of the establishment. Below, you’ll find two restaurants, Momiji and Torii, which offer a range of Japanese delights.

However, though Tjing Tjing is the main bar area,  it’s worth mentioning that it also offers an extensive food menu. Just a few examples include their bar snacks like mixed nuts and crispy rice balls, hearty bowls of ramen, and desserts like their chewy mochi donuts.

Where the rooftop bar shines, however, is in its bespoke cocktails. Some of their signature cocktails include house favorites like “The Last Old Fashioned” — a mix of Woodford Reserve bourbon, smoked sweet potato, toasted black sesame, and honey.

The “Show Me Negroni” is another top contender — roku, gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, cacao nibs, and hazelnut syrup make up this decadent take on the popular drink. Aside from that, the bar offers Japanese whiskey, sake, gin, and an extensive wine list of David & Nadia wines.

3. The Athletic Club & Social

athletic club and social bar area

The Athletic Club & Social is a classy venue with three levels all offering cozy corners and nooks for customers to immerse themselves in, each decorated in eclectic styles. The overall theme of the establishment is that of a vintage feel with Persian carpets, leather booths, tasseled velvety seats, and marble tabletops.

What makes this refined yet edgy watering hole worth the visit is its variety. Serving Greek fare at the in-house restaurant Trapezaria and its three distinct bars set on each floor, you’re spoiled for choice when you visit The Athletic. Situated in downtown Cape Town on 35 Buitengracht Street, enjoy the ambiance often offset with jazz music.

As for the drinks, enjoy a long list of signature cocktails, including The Basement — a mix of Havana Club 3, rose geranium cordial, lime juice, soda water, and orange zest. Other fabulous options include the 1988, The Trumpet, and the Lilac Lady. Classic cocktails, zero-alcohol options, and a long list of tequilas and wines make up the rest of the drinks menu.

4. Cause | Effect Cocktail Kitchen

cause effect kitchen interior

Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen, located in the V&A Waterfront at 280 Dock Road, is known for its quirky cocktails and expert mixologists. The spacious stamping ground has moody lighting with a rustic feel thanks to its wooden finishes, walls adorned with greenery, and sapphire blue accents.

Certainly, the main appeal of this cocktail kitchen is its adventurous flavor combinations. Using raw ingredients, and with a focus on sustainable usage, you’ll find each cocktail comes with something special – from bay leaf tinctures to lemon citrus dust.

Fynbos, the mountains, the ocean, and the vineyards of the Cape inspire their menu. Some notable must-try drinks include the Cape Floral Nitro Martini — with CE House Vodka, fynbos, lavender, and dry vermouth. Other options, such as the Rooibos and Mango Spritz, the Diamond Sidecar, and the Watchjamacallit punch, are also worth mentioning (and sipping).

Oh, and let us not forget their extensive brandy selection from Bayede X0 to Joseph Barry, Van Ryn, and many more.

Tip: If you’re really into your cocktails, you can book a 45-minute Schweppes Lab interactive cocktail and food pairing experience in-house at 27 Euros ($29 or R550) a person.

5. Gigi Rooftop Restaurant & Bar

gigi rooftop bar

Gigi Rooftop Restaurant & Bar is perched atop the design-driven Gorgeous George Hotel. Enter this oasis styled with chic decor, comfortable seating, natural lighting, and a relaxed vibe.

Enjoy the menus on offer, from the usual breakfast menu to the most extensive list of wine and spirits. So, don’t worry; if you really want a beer or a glass of chardonnay, it’s all there. Then, of course, you have the staple food and drink menu that offers dinner options (definitely try the Cape Malay tartar) and bar snacks.

Finally, you’ll find tantalizing cocktails made by in-house mixologist Leighton Rathbone. Try the What a Pear! — which contains Triple Three Williams Pear, Amaretto, Cinnamon, and ginger. You’ll also find yourself drawn to the Wanderlust, The Blush, and the Gigi Club, as they all offer unique floral, fruity, sour, and tart flavor combinations.

Tip: Make sure you reserve your table in advance. You’ll have to pay a booking fee of five Euros (six dollars or R100).

6. The Dark Horse Bar

dark horse bar seating area

Decorated in a maximalist style with a shocking cerulean wall and comfy olive-colored couch, the Dark Horse Bar on 145 Kloof Street in Gardens is a must-visit Cape Town bar. This watering hole is brought to you by the owners of the Black Sheep restaurant.

So, expect the nibbles on offer to be just as good. Try the crispy whitebait or the steamed bao buns with your choice of drink. Finish with the almond tart with apple and orange compote or, if you love sweets, the rich chocolate brownie afterward.

You can enjoy a dazzling array of drinks at the bar, from classics like the Cosmopolitan, the Old Fashioned, and the Moscow Mule to more innovative mixes like the Lemon Drop Martini, Lime Daiquiri, and the Gin Fizz. You also have your usual beers, ciders, wines, and spirits to choose from if you prefer to stick to what you know.

7. Grand Africa Café & Beach

grand africa cafe and beach

Grand Africa Café & Beach is as grand as its name suggests. The large restaurant, bar, and events venue sits on its very own private beach near the V&A Waterfront. This buzzing oceanside retreat offers glorious views of the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain while offering service in style.

Get comfortable in the restored boathouse interior decorated in a romantic old-world style, or sit outside on any of the couches or tables set on the soft sand of the beach. With daybeds, DJ booths, and five bars to choose from, you’ll want to make your visit an all-day affair.

As for the drinks, they serve everything from expensive wines and everyday beers to jugs of Mojito and specialty cocktails. A few examples include their Vanilla Colada — a take on the classic with vanilla bean sugar to spice it up. Then, there’s the Golden Jungle Bird — a Johnnie Walker Gold and Campari cocktail mixed with pineapple juice and lime.

But that just scratches the surface of what Grand Africa offers. You’ll also enjoy their sushi and food menus, all offering classic yet sumptuous meals such as fresh mussels and linefish.

8. Asoka

asoka interior

Asoka is one of Kloof Street’s staples. Upon entry, the restaurant-bar-lounge offers an impactful visual. Housed in a Victorian-era townhouse with a 150-year-old olive tree centerpiece in the middle, there’s something about the atmosphere at Asoka that keeps people engaged.

Dimly lit lamps, comfortable booths, and Asian-inspired decor have set this establishment apart from the rest for the last 30 years. Onto the food: Asoka offers a tasting plate menu categorized by five elements: Earth (vegetarian), Water (seafood), Wind (chicken and duck), Fire (meat), and Nirvana (dessert).

Their kitchen is open until midnight, so be sure to try the tuna tacos and the duck spring rolls before then. Now, most importantly, the drinks. There’s no shortage of the usual suspects: beers, wine, champagne, spirits, and even juices.

However, we’re more interested in their specialty cocktails. From the luxury Grey Goose Porn Star Martini — made with homemade passion fruit puree, vanilla sugar, and Martini Prosseco, to the Gin Smash, the Dream, and the Lotus Berry.

9. The Power & the Glory

the power and glory logo on window

At The Power & the Glory, you get a two-in-one bar and café experience. If you’re looking for a more lowkey and grungy hangout, this little spot on 13d Kloof Nek Road is right for you.

During the day, The Power & the Glory is a relaxed café where locals gather for light lunches and rave about the coffee and selection of sweet treats (try the brownie). You’ll also find digital nomads working in this quiet and cozy spot until five o’clock rolls around, and this unassuming haunt fills with buzzing nightlife.

As the night rolls in, enjoy the bumping tunes at the bar section called The Black Ram, which stays open until late. As you sit down in the festive atmosphere, you can order a thirst-quenching craft beer or try a Pickle Back shot made with bourbon and pickle juice.

This bistro specializes in craft beers, from IPAs to ciders and even alcohol-free Devil’s Peak Zero and Hero Pale Ale pints. They also offer wines from South Hill’s Sauvignon Blanc to Spyseniersberg’s Bordeaux blend and plenty more to choose from.

10. The House of Machines

the house of machines entrance

The House of Machines is a no-nonsense bar and motorbike workshop, men’s apparel shop, and coffee shop by day. Though small, this all-in-one Prohibition-era style spot sits on 84 Shortmarket Street in the city center and is full of attitude.

During the day, enjoy their in-house coffee brand Evil Twin Coffee as you savor their toasted sandwiches, omelets, and smoothies. After five o’clock, enjoy bar snacks and light meals like the biltong bowl, the roasted carrots, or any of their sandwiches and wraps.

For drinks, try the Gin & Juice — a specialty cocktail made with Tanqueray 10 Gin, Campari, grapefruit, lime, and candied citrus cordial. Cocktails like the RUM D.M.C. and Busta Limes may also tickle your fancy. Typical beers, wines, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages are also available.

The Top Bars in Cape Town Wrapped Up

And that’s a wrap on the 10 must-visit beer, wine, and cocktail bars Cape Town has to offer. It’s safe to say that all of the above fusion restaurants, grills, and cafés serve up top-quality drinks, food, and awesome ambiance.

If you’re not busy eating Japanese finger food at Tjing Tjing or raving about motorcycles at the House of Machines, you’re probably soaking up the sun at Grand Africa Café & Beach. Regardless of where you decide to visit, you’ll find something to suit every taste.

Take note that all of these funky bars are near the fun things to do at the Cape Town Waterfront.


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