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.
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.”
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.
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.
This is an updated version of a story created by Lee-Shay Collison