There’s a lot to do in Cape Town at night, particularly in the city centre. Ours is a vibrant city, with truly spectacular artists and musicians, breweries and wineries, and a cheerful, welcoming people unlike anywhere else I’ve been. Basically, it’s a wonderful city to explore, day and night! It just depends on what you’re interested in.
I’ve separated this post into bars and pubs, nightclubs and places to dance, and things to do at night if you’re not keen on the party scene. So there’s something for everyone and every mood!
Bars and pubs
There are so many bars and pubs in Cape Town, it can be difficult to choose between them. Especially because they tend to be impeccably stylish and cheerful, too! I’ve listed some favourites below, but you can find more here!
Forresters Arms, Newlands: The oldest pub in Cape Town, this Newlands haunt is a real favourite among locals – they’re always pumping, with great bar food and a bustling, vibrant atmosphere.
The Armchair, Observatory: My favourite bar in the world, this spot hosts regular live music events and has a spacious outdoor area with a fire pit. It’s fantastic for socialising and recovering from a long week, with pool and foosball, two bars, fantastic pizza, and such great musical guests.
The Athletic Club & Social: This uniquely beautiful heritage building houses three bars and a restaurant, with excellent cocktails and sophisticated, detailed decor. It hosts live jazz evenings every Thursday from 9 pm.
Beerhouse, City Centre: You’ll find every Cape Town brewery represented at Beerhouse, along with many international favourites. It’s always packed, always fun, with a long bar and a terrace.
Yours Truly: If you’re comfortable with tight spaces as long as there’s a good vibe, you’ll be into Yours Truly. It’s a leafy green space that’s popular for good reason, with great pizzas and quick service.
The Dark Horse: Truly excellent, unique cocktails and an eclectic bar. The vibe, music and decor are all really great here, and the staff are excellent.
Nightclubs and dance spots
Great nightclubs are harder to find in Cape Town — particularly as so many greats have closed down in the last few years. These are a few popular favourites still standing!
Roxys: I actually haven’t been to Roxys myself but my friends swear by it! With techno music and a great atmosphere, you can dance all night.
Boogies: This nightclub is for the students – it’s sticky and ratchet, but they play good music and it’s pumping every week. Young crowd and decently priced drinks!
The Pink Candy Night Club: Formerly the Pink Panther, this is Cape Town’s most popular gay nightclub. It’s always busy, with high-energy music, great vibes and spacious lounge areas surrounding the dance floor to rest your tired dancing feet.
The Waiting Room: Another local favourite, this Long Street nightclub is intimate (read: small) and grimy, but there’s always a party to be had if you’re up for it!
Modular: With thumping techno, house and dance music and a focus on safety and good fun, Modular is a also great time. Particularly popular with the early twenty-somethings.
What to do if you’re not into the party scene
If I’m honest, my nightclubbing days are largely behind me, so this section is my jam. The night is not only for dinners and drinks – there’s a lot more to do at night in Cape Town!
Sunset hike up Lions head or Kloof Corner
Watching the sun go down from one of these relatively short, easy hikes is a fantastic way to start the evening. And the best part is, both are nice and central, so you can make the trek the start of your night, and hit Kloof Street after that! My top recommendation here is Kloof Corner, as it’s a shorter hike so you won’t tire yourself out too much – or sweat a bunch. But the Lion’s Head trail is also wonderful, so you can’t go wrong.
Visit the Cape Town Comedy Club for a laugh. Local and international comedians do standup here, and it has a great reputation for a good time. Wednesdays at The Armchair in Observatory is also comedy night, and you can find comedians making appearances at a few bars around the city. It’s always a good time!
The Cape town City Ballet puts on regular performances. They’re stunningly talented, and often accompanied by the city Orchestra! This is a lovely option for a classy night out – the performance usually lasts 2 hours, with a 30-minute interlude to gush about it all before heading back in.
Ice skating is a lovely thing to do at night! There’s an indoor rink at Century City, where you can rent some skates and spend an hour learning to skate (or showing off your skills). We like to end it off with a waffle in the little food court outside the ice rink – all that skating really works up an appetite!
Evening pottery classes
Pottery classes are such a wonderful way to spend two hours. You can do a date night pottery class with wine at Baikt in Sea Point – but there are a lot of pottery studios in the city, so have a look at what’s in your area! You’ll spend your eve molding clay and chatting, and then a few weeks later your creations will be fired and glazed.
Films at The Labia
The Labia has been around for nearly as long as film, and its retained that sense of history and class. But while being surprisingly cheap! Combining arthouse cinema and the same new releases you’ll find at normal movie theatres, they cater to everyone.
Grab a drink (some favourites are gluhwein in winter and vodka slushies in summer) and a snack and enjoy.
This is a great thing to do with a group of friends. There are bars in every neighbourhood doing a weekly quiz night – often themed, but otherwise general knowledge. So bring along someone who can identify songs in a few cords, a history buff, and a pop culture enthusiast, and you’ve got it made.
The prize is usually enough to cover your food and drinks for the evening, so you’re not doing this for the money. But it’s great fun!
What do you like to do at night in Cape Town?
I hope this list has inspired your Friday night plans! Putting it together has certainly reminded me of a few things I’ve got to do again this summer.
Often, the very best thing to do is have a braai and games night at a friend’s place, or stay in on a cosy night with your partner. But that’s not Cape Town-specific, so it can’t make the list! If I’ve missed anything you love to do after the sun’s gone down, and you’re thinking, “No! You’ve missed the best thing!” please let me know, I’d love to know what I’m missing out on. And I’ll be sure to check it out and add it to the list if it pasts muster.