Who doesn’t love a good cocktail? They can get a party started, add an air of festivity or simply take the edge off a hard day. Here are the cocktail bars you should be frequenting next time you are in the Mother City.
This sexy venue, with its Eastern décor and indoor olive tree, will take you on a magic carpet ride to adventure.
TRY: The Porn Star Martini, made with vanilla vodka, sugar syrup, passion fruit puree, Passoã Passion Fruit Liqueur and lemon juice. It’s garnished with half a fresh passion fruit and comes with a double shot of sparkling wine. R75
2. Café Caprice
Watch Camps Bay’s finest strut their stuff from this beachfront sidewalk bar. The best time to go is late afternoon, when the sun sizzles into the Atlantic, turning the sky fervent shades of pink.
TRY: The Mojito, a classic blend of Bacardi Rum, fresh lime, sugar and mint sprigs over crushed ice. R62
3. Dropkick Murphy’s
This unpretentious bar is all about the down play: they’ll serve you an incredible drink without making a big deal about it. It’s great for an after-work thirst quencher and a bite to eat.
TRY: The Sage Gun, a refreshing gin-based take on the Tiki style cocktail using Velvet Falernum syrup, pineapple juice and fresh sage. R55
If you don’t know exactly where it is – or even if you do – you might miss this tiny hole in the wall, tucked away off bustling Long Street. One of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, it attracts a loyal crowd who enjoy being in the know.
TRY: The Mint Julep, with bourbon, sugar, water and mint leaves. R54
5. Orphanage Cocktail Emporium
Styled as a speakeasy, Orphanage totally transformed the cocktail scene in Cape Town, and most of the city’s finest bartenders honed their skills here. Go for a quiet drink in the afternoon or a late-night shakedown with the resident DJs.
TRY: More Tea Vicar, with vanilla-infused vodka, homemade rooibos syrup, cranberry juice and fresh lemon. It’s served in a teacup and garnished with fresh mint. R60, R15 of which goes to the Saint Francis Children’s Home
6. Outrage of Modesty
If you’re serious about cocktail appreciation and want the best of the best, this is the place to go. Even the liquor is artisanal, made by the bar staff themselves. Book yourself a guided food and cocktail pairing (R500 with five or six drinks) and prepared to be wowed.
TRY: The Fallen Fruit, with poached pear, caramel, curry leaf and vanilla (the pod is hallowed out afterwards to serve as your straw). R100
7. The House of Machines
Artisanal coffee shop by day and craft bar by night, you’ll spot plenty of beards and tattoos here. The live music gives it a real edge over other bars, and it’s ideal for when you want some fun but don’t want to hit a club.
TRY: The Signet, made with pear-infused bourbon, dry sherry and Tonka bean syrup. R70
No list of cocktail bars would be complete without a rooftop option, and this is it. Set above Dear Me, this hip and happening spot has indoor and outdoor areas, and is a superb year-round option.
TRY: The Old Fashioned, made with Jim Beam White Label, sugar syrup, Angostura Bitters and slices of orange rind. R58
This brand new Bree Street venue is the latest venture of Gregory Zeleny of Spasie and SecretEATS fame. Interactive art gallery by day, it transforms into a premium cocktail lounge after hours.
TRY: Die Spasie, with frothy MCC Brut, elderflower and fresh passion fruit. R80
- Leah van Deventer