Insider’s Guide: See & Be Seen in Cape Town

BY Africa and Middle East | South Africa

Undoubtedly one of the most stylish cities around the world, effortlessly beautiful Cape Town serves up an incredible scene. The enviable lifestyle of Capetonians revolves around both natural wonders and urban pleasures—here, we dive into cocktails, sundowners, small plates and loungey beach bars all over the city. From old favourites to new up-and-comers, our incredibly in-the-know friend Jene Barnes shares some of the best places to see and be seen in the Mother City. Here are her top picks for locals and visitors alike.

The Gin Bar: Secret Speakeasy
A local favourite, gain access to this sneaky little speakeasy after first passing through Honest Chocolate Café. The Gin Bar is dedicated to the juniper-infused spirit. Choose from five cocktails (Ambition, Hope, Head, Heart, and Soul), and straight-up G&Ts for the purists, where you can select the tonic water of your choice, just as essential to the mix as the spirit, say the experts.

Chinchilla Rooftop Cafe & Bar: Cocktails & Chill

This cool and contemporary rooftop bar is the hottest new addition to the Camps Bay strip. With killer views of the ocean a stone’s throw away, it’s the ideal place to while away the hours sipping on glorious cocktails and listening to the coolest beats spun by Chinchilla’s resident DJs.

The Grand Africa: Sundowners in the City 

There’s hardly a better place in the Mother City to watch the sun being swallowed by the ocean (delicious cocktail in hand, natch) than at The Grand, whose private beach—with stunning views of the Atlantic and Table Bay—set it apart from other ocean-facing venues. Inside, the vibe is a combination of old-world romanticism and laidback glamour, while outdoors you feel like you’ve stepped into Robinson Crusoe’s backyard. Palm trees, daybeds, private bars and dedicated DJ booth set are the order of the day here.

Outrage of Modesty: Mix(ology) Masters

Just off the tourist track, fly under the radar at this creative, cutting-edge mixology bar. Immerse yourself in the super-cool Scandi-Japanese vibe for an impeccably curated menu of eight of-the-moment cocktails created by an international mixologist: alchemy in a glass. (Singapore-based Noreen Dunzo is in charge of the Spring/Summer 2018 collection). This 28-seat speakeasy has tiered seating, owing to its old lease as a theatre, giving you a dramatic bird’s-eye view of the bar.

Tiger’s Milk Muizenberg: Surf n’ Snack

Head to ‘Muizies’, as we like to say, and hit the boardwalk to this popular hotspot. Once a sleepy surfer’s paradise, Tiger’s Milk has injected a bit of swagger and liveliness into this otherwise low-key ‘burb. Watch the surfers catch waves as you enjoy hearty and casual bar food to whet your post-beach appetite.

 

Safari in the Rainbow Nation

From trekking amidst the fynbos to searching for the Big Five, our South Africa Walking Safari pulls out all the stops. By day, track your favourite animal by foot, boat, or 4×4. Sip sundowners as the sun slips under the horizon, while your nights are spent at the continent’s luxe lodges.

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Asoka: Festive and Local 

Kloof Street is a favourite among locals (and tourists) for a festive vibe. One of the street’s popular haunts is Asoka, where superb cocktails, top-drawer jazz and tasty sharing plates are the order of the day. Sit at one of the tables around the illuminated 150-year-old olive tree—and light up the night yourself.

Harrington’s Cocktail Lounge: Posh and Opulent

Pop into this swanky lounge for pre-theatre drinks in Cape Town’s East City. Dramatically draped velvet curtains and velvet-lined booths set the scene, kicking off your evening with a bit of glamour. Here at Harrington’s Cocktail Lounge, order one of the city’s best cocktails and a plate of tapas to share, take in the opulence, and see where the night takes you.

The Stack: Members-Only, But You Can Sit With Us

Part brasserie and bar, part private members’ club, The Stack is where you’ll find the city’s creative class indulging in fine food and excellent drinks in the comfort of this super-stylish, double-decker venue, housed in historic Leinster Hall. The plush bar and deep verandah are perfect for a sunset G&T, a big night out or a light bite with friends.

Seta at Villa 47: Italian-Fusion Aperitivi 

Villa 47 is known to locals as a three-in-one Italian emporium housed in an iconic heritage building on happening Bree Street. Seta is their sophisticated fusion-cocktail lounge with Italian and Asian influences. Aperitivos, cutting-edge cocktails, and sharing plates crafted by resident chef Michelangelo D’Oria set the occasion.

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