A voyage to Cape Town would be incomplete without a night out on the booming V&A Waterfront. Whether you’re looking for a glamorous blowout beach party to dance the night away, or a low-key locale to linger over a glass of Scotland’s finest whiskey, the Waterfront’s bar scene has options for every mood, occasion, and budget. Start with our list of some of the best bars around, and see where the night takes you.
Bascule Whiskey, Wine and Cocktail Bar
Located right on the Waterfront, Bascule exudes pure luxury. Though it’s part of Cape Grace Hotel, Bascule feels like its own private fantasy world, most likely dreamed up by an avid whiskey lover. Its formidable collection is enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned whiskey drinker, but the seasoned staff is always happy to help narrow things down. If you still can’t decide, there’s always the option of a whiskey tasting. There’s also a wine cellar and an impressive cocktail list. The food menu offers dishes such as tapas, burgers and smoked ostrich.
Cape Grace Hotel, W Quay Rd, Cape Town, South Africa, + 27 21 410 7100
Just a short walk from the waterfront, Asoka is a great place for pre- or post-dinner drinks, or to while away the whole evening over tapas and wine. The atmosphere is stylish yet relaxed, and they offer a long wine and champagne list, and a stellar cocktail selection full of striking flavor profiles. Come here to nibble on inventive small plates, like miso-cured Norwegian salmon spoons (with mirin, soy, wasabi mayo & crisp ginger), and sip on rare concoctions like gin with Mandarin Napoleon and Jasmine syrup. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Head in the Clouds: an unorthodox combination of Zacapa Rum and Tanqueray Gin, with cloudy apple juice, green cardamom syrup, fresh raspberries and lime.
Asoka, 68 Kloof Street, Tamboerskloof, South Africa, +27 21 422 0909
Shimmy Beach Club
A restaurant, club, and concert venue rolled into one, Shimmy Beach Club is the place to go for a fabulous night out on the Waterfront. This seaside complex truly has it all: a high-end restaurant, a swanky indoor lounge, an outdoor pool, and even a man-made sandy beach. Whether you want to dance up a storm, go for a swim, lie back in a lounge chair and work on your tan, or simply enjoy an excellent meal, you can do all of the above here with a refreshing cocktail in hand.
Sky Bar at Village Lodge
Just a stone’s throw from the Waterfront, right behind the fashionable Cape Quarter, you’ll find Sky Bar perched on the roof of the Village Lodge. With an extensive drinks menu and a shallow pool for when the sun gets too strong, this rooftop oasis is a perfect place to lounge all through the afternoon or under the stars at night, all while basking in magnificent views of Table Mountain, the Harbor, and the sprawling city this private patch of sky has to offer.
Sky Bar at Village Lodge, 49 Napier Street, Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa, +27(0)21 42 111 06
After a busy day of sightseeing, Alba lounge offers an intimate, uncomplicated setting to decompress. Here you can sit back and chat with friends over refreshing rocketinis (Stretton’s gin, rocket and cucumbers), and tempting tapas like grilled chorizo and prawns nacional (queen prawns in a peri-peri and beer sauce). Located in an old Victorian house with an expansive terrace, Alba epitomizes understated elegance. Their DJ is also a master of subtlety, creating a hip background soundtrack for your night at a volume that won’t cut into your conversation.