The Best Bars and Clubs on Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa

For a fun night out in Cape Town, there’s no better place to go than Long Street
For a fun night out in Cape Town, there’s no better place to go than Long Street | © Kiel / Alamy Stock Photo
Long Street is Cape Town’s oldest party street – and after dark it doesn’t do tranquil. In fact, it’s an all-out sensory assault in most of the street’s bars and clubs. Culture Trip gets recommendations from one local on which ones to visit.

The famous strip runs for just over 3km (2mi) from the city’s Foreshore region, right through to the beginning of the slightly more tranquil Kloof Street. In many ways, it bears a resemblance to other party streets around the world. Like Bourbon Street in New Orleans or Hamburg’s Reeperbahn, Long Street garners mixed reviews from residents and tourists, and its seedy underbelly is ironically what makes it particularly intriguing.

Some people see the street as unmanageable and chaotic, while others proclaim it to be the beating hedonistic heart of Cape Town. But one thing is certain: Long Street after dark doesn’t do tranquil – it’s an all-out sensory assault in most of the street’s bars and clubs. This energy makes it a fascinating place to explore – and one of these vibrant bars and clubs should satisfy most late-night desires.

If anyone knows how to navigate the various offerings on Long Street, it’s Aviwe Sikele. By day, Aviwe works at the vibrant Long Street bicycle shop Rook Cycles, building flashy single-speed bicycles and offering suggestions on some of the city’s best cycling routes. By night, he’s more than familiar with the less energetic offerings nearby. And when he’s not performing on stage as an accomplished musician, he’s likely hanging out at the bar sharing a few enticing stories that’ll captivate anyone within earshot.

Bob’s Bar

Bar, Nightclub, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
Love it or hate it, Bob’s Bar is a no-frills affair. It’s located in a frenetic section of Long Street, and as the sun goes down, people often flow out onto the sidewalk and street either waiting to enter or heading off somewhere else. It’s built up a reputation as a wallet-friendly destination – and Aviwe is a fan. “Bob’s is known for its super-cheap shots and drinks,” he says. “This is the perfect place for you to go and drink with friends and dance to some 2000s club bangers!”
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Stones

Bar, Beer, Cocktails, $$$

Across the road from Bob’s is a slightly more tranquil affair – if you get there early enough. Pool-hall franchise Stones has several branches around Cape Town, but its Long Street offering is one of the best. “Stones is a staple for most locals in Cape Town, with multiple locations across the city,” says Aviwe. “You can always find a nice drink special, depending on your poison of choice. And it’s known for its pool tables, so it’s the perfect place to take a couple of mates and have a good time.”

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The Dubliner

Pub, Beer, Irish, $$$
The Dubliner is one of the best-known bars on Long Street, and one often frequented by first-time visitors to Cape Town looking for a night on the town. It’s far from a typical Irish pub; apart from its name and the quantity of alcohol served, there’s little that’s Irish about it at all, especially as the night wears on. It’s not the kind of venue that’ll wow visitors with its attention to detail, but it serves a late-night purpose for many in Cape Town who just want to let loose to cheesy tracks blared out across its two floors.
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The Waiting Room

Bar, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
“The Waiting Room is one of Cape Town’s last great clubs,” says Aviwe. “This venue has hosted a plethora of parties throughout the decades. It’s a home for many young Capetonians looking for a good night out, where they can dance into the early hours.” The bar started as a waiting area above the popular Royale Eatery downstairs, but quickly took on a life of its own. There’s a balcony that hangs above Long Street – and a rooftop deck that offers fresh air and panoramic views of Table Mountain and the Cape Town CBD.
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Cafe Mojito

Restaurant, Tapas, Cuban, Caribbean, American, $$$

Nearby Cafe Mojito may not match the vibe or atmosphere of the Waiting Room, but it’s a good starting point for an evening on Long. The bar serves up a good range of cocktails, and the kitchen has a wide selection of snacks. Early birds may be able to scoop a table on the pavement outside, where the passing Long Street parade provides a fascinating spectacle.

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Beerhouse

Bar, Pub Grub, Beer, $$$
Beerhouse on Long Street
Courtesy of Beerhouse

Beerhouse is almost as close as it gets to a traditional pub on Long Street – especially before the late-night revellers arrive. It earned a reputation at the height of the craft-beer craze in Cape Town for having more brands available than anywhere else in the city. Many of them are by small producers, so it’s a great place to go to sample some of the country’s best brews. Some weeknights, the bar hosts events such as stand-up comedy. Later on weekend evenings, the bar-like pretences fall away to a dancefloor of sorts, which is particularly popular among the city’s younger revellers.

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SGT Pepper

Bar, Pizzeria, Restaurant, Cocktails, Italian, $$$
© Peter Sserwanga
Across the road from Beerhouse is SGT Pepper – another restaurant-bar-club hybrid. In the early evening, it’s a great place to have a pizza and enjoy a few drinks with friends. But like so many venues on Long Street, as the night grows long, the tables clear and it turns into a bar with a heaving dancefloor and revellers who can keep going until the early hours.
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This is an updated version of a story created by Lee-Shay Collison

These recommendations were updated on June 25, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.