With a wild and thriving nightlife scene, Cape Town is fast becoming the go-to city of choice for young globe trotters. A recent increase in tourism has created a boom in the emergence of great bars and clubs. There are now so many, in fact, that it would be quite a job to choose which to visit first. Happily, however, we’re here to help with our pick of the top 5 cocktail bars in Cape Town.
1.Julep Cocktail Bar
Tiny and tucked away, this local secret spot is a secret no longer. Julep is home to some of the most expertly mixed cocktails in the Cape. A perfectly cosy hangout for friends or dates, Julep has a seriously cool crowd of regulars who all seem to know each other, creating a very familiar atmosphere in which you will instantly feel at home. Although it is always packed and buzzing in this gem of a cocktail bar, the staff are so efficient they will know what you want almost before you sit down.
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 7pm – 2am
Vredenburg Ln, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, South Africa +27 (0) 21 423 4276
2.Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel’s Planet Bar and Restaurant
Chic beige chairs, galaxy carpets, mirrors and planetary chandeliers – it’s clear a night of decadent splendour awaits you at the Planet Bar, home of the posh sundowners. Wear your best heels and smartest jackets as you are seated at the bar and are serenaded with live piano performances. If you are really feeling indulgent, why not order a round of oysters or other bar snacks while you wait for your expertly crafted cocktails to be served. With a wine list that’s six pages long, a veritable hoarde of cocktails, liqueurs and spirits as well as a host of non-alcoholic options, you will be spoilt for choice in this exceptional bar.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 12pm – late
76 Orange St, Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa +27 (0) 21 483 1000
3.Café Caprice Cocktail Bar
The place, the people, the drinks are all exceptionally stunning at Café Caprice. Recommended for the ‘World Class’ mixology award in 2014, you know that at Café Caprice your drinks are being created with passion, precision and pride. Enjoy these perfectly crafted concoctions whilst watching the sun set over the ocean between the pillars and the palm trees. You can even head over the road and sit with your cocktails on the sand, along with other members of the Caprice crowd. A particular cocktail recommendation for those who are finding it hard to decide: Botanical Gardener, a mix of rosemary and lemon infused Tanqueray No. 10 with fresh fruit zest topped with Hibiscus tea soda.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9am – late
37 Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa +27 (0) 21 438 8315
4.Orphanage Cocktail Emporium
Despite its unfortunate name, Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is actually an innovative and artsy bar, not a creepy horror movie set. It derives its name from its association with the ‘St. Francis Children’s Home’ and the history of Bree Street as an area in which the influenza of the early 1900s left many children parentless. However, these days, the crowd in the Orphanage Cocktail Emporium are those who prefer a student-free happy hour. Join them in watching how this laboratory mixes style, drink and atmosphere to an incredibly potent degree. For example, even the menu of classic cocktails comes with an unexpected twist – perhaps a flaming glass or an infusion of citrus – that will revamp and revitalise these traditional choices.
Opening hours: Mon-Thur 5pm – 2am, Fri 3pm – 2am, Sat 5pm – 2am
227 (corner of) Bree Street, Cape Town, South Africa + 27 (0) 21 424 2004
5.Cape Royale Hotel Zenith Sky Bar
For a liquid lunch of heights and delights, head over to the Cape Royale Hotel and spend the day in their ‘Zenith Sky Bar’. The Sky Bar is a fully equipped party plateau with daybeds to lounge about on, listening to the sounds of the city and the far off roar of the Atlantic Ocean. If the ocean sounds are making you feel restless, why not try the delights of the rooftop pool and gaze from the water’s edge upon Cape Town from above. Of course, the real reason you’re here is for the perfectly presented cocktails, which you can order with a round of sushi or tapas. In this classy location the cocktail of choice is, undoubtedly, a refreshing mojito.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8am – 12pm
47 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town, South Africa +27 (0) 21 430 0500