Cape Town summers can be fickle things. Some say that Cape Town only ever gets 10 perfect days a year: 28 to 32 degrees, light to zero wind, and those wonderful warm evenings that linger long after the sun’s gone down.
To make the most of those perfect days we’ve gathered together some of Cape Town’s favourite watering holes (as suggested by locals) that have great outdoor areas. Naturally, Cape Town has plenty of candidates and we don’t claim this as the exhaustive list, but if you’re looking for some outdoor pub/bar/bistro inspiration, these are a great place to start.
Bars in Cape Town’s city centre
1. Harald’s Bar & Terrace at Park Inn
One of the few spots in the CBD that gets you up 11 floors and places a cold drink in your hand. Every month they have a “cocktail of the month” at a (slightly) reduced price. A terrace menu is available, offering pizzas, burgers, baskets and platters. The bar starts serving at 10:30 and closes at 23:00 and is open to the general public, not just hotel guests.
2. The Waiting Room
Enter from Long Street and keep climbing the stairs right up to the top. At the top bar, cut through to the back and keep climbing. At the very top you’ll find some simple tables and benches on a narrow terrace overlooking Long Street. The Waiting Room closes late and it’s a great spot to take time out for a chat and a chill while the chaos unfolds below.
3. The Grand Daddy Hotel Sky Bar
The seven vintage Airstream trailers dotted along the roof of the hotel set the scene (they’re rooms, so you can book them overnight if you like). The bar doesn’t stay open late (12:00 to 20:30, Monday to Saturday in summer) which is no doubt a blessing for the guests in the trailers, so if you’re looking for a quiet, early evening venue this is a great option. If it’s wet or windy out, steer clear!
Bars in Green Point & Sea Point
4. Harveys at Winchester Mansions Hotel
A cold beer or cocktail, free snacks (those spicy kernel things are very moreish) and a great view make for the perfect seaboard sundowner. From its elevated position, you can see right across Beach Road and catch the sparkle of the Atlantic beyond. Aside from the free nibbles, there is a bar menu which includes pub snacks (nachos, ribs, wings and Flammkuchen) and burgers, sandwiches and wraps. The bar is open late so no need to rush once the sun goes down.
5. La Vie Café Bar
Another great location for sundowners or to just relax and watch the world go by – plus there’s good pizza if you get hungry. It’s just a really relaxed place for a chilled evening. Draught beers, wines, cocktails and bubbly, along with pizzas, burgers, wraps, sandwiches and more on the menu.
6. The Sunset Deck at the Three Cities Peninsula Hotel
Whether it’s the beautiful sunset you seek, or just the scent of the ocean, enjoy it with elevated views across the promenade and the Atlantic Ocean. Sip on a Robben Island Iced Tea or one of the many other cocktails available. If you feel peckish they have pizzas, burgers, ribs, chilli poppers, nachos, skewers and sandwiches on the menu. When the weather’s good, you’ll find the deck open from 11:00 to 21:00.
7. Zenith Sky Bar & Pool Deck at Cape Royale
Relax on a lounger by the pool while enjoying cocktails, sushi, noodles and tapas coupled with views over the city and Atlantic Ocean at The Zenith Sky Bar and pool deck situated on the rooftop of the Cape Royale Hotel. With affordable cocktails and sushi. It’s perfect for sundowners or sun-soaked days with the pool being open to adults and children between 08:00 to 12:00 every day.
8. The Randy Warthog Bar & Grill
This could be Green Point’s best-kept secret with reasonably-priced drinks and food, braai nights, pool parties and a swimming pool that everyone is welcome to use! The deck has plenty of loungers and tables and chairs with their tables being brightly painted wooden doors. With happy hour Monday to Friday between 6pm-7pm where you can buy one beer for the price of one. Braai night costs R80 for a plate of food. It’s part of the Never@Home Backpackers, so expect things to get lively!
Also read: 15 of the best backpackers in Cape Town
9. The Grand Café and Beach
A rustic converted historic warehouse next to the V&A Waterfront opens up onto a sandy, private beach that runs right down to the sea. With sand between your toes, this is one of Cape Town’s trendier places for afternoon drinks. The wood-fired pizzas are a great option with thin bases and a variety of toppings available. There are two beach bars that open at 12:00 daily and stay open late. Advance booking is advisable on those perfect summer days when it gets busy. Note: The service can be slow so don’t expect your order to arrive in a hurry.
10. Tobago’s Bar & Terrace at the Radisson Blu
The wide, umbrella-covered deck is just metres from the sea, where you can enjoy a cocktail or draught beer with uninterrupted views across Table Bay. Tuck into burgers, calamari, chicken wings, ribs and more if you are looking for a snack to go with your pina colada. The bar and restaurant is open seven days a week from 11:00 and food is served from 12:30 to 15:30 and again from 18:30 to 22:00. Note: Paid parking is available and free for for the first hour.
11. Ferryman’s Tavern
The first tenant in the Waterfront, Ferryman’s is a traditional pub with a wide selection of beers. They even have their own unique Ferryman’s Ale which is brewed exclusively for the pub. The courtyard is popular in the summer months with locals and tourists alike and there’s live music every night which creates a festive atmosphere. However when it gets busy the service can be slow.
Bars in Hout Bay
12. Chapmans Peak Hotel
The pan-fried calamari is some of the best in Cape Town and from the sunny outside deck you can just make out the surf as it rolls up Hout Bay beach. If the weather turns ugly you can move inside to the cozy bar area which still has great views and catches plenty of afternoon sunshine. The bar and restaurant is open seven days a week for that cocktail by the sea, but if you want to get some calamari, don’t arrive much after 21:00 or you’ll find the kitchen closed.
13. Dune’s Beach Bar and Restaurant
Open seven days a week, this one is perfect for those with kiddies. A large jungle gym/sandpit/play area will keep them entertained and you can sip a cold one and grab a bite to eat while keeping them and the wide expanse of Hout Bay beach in full view. There’s literally nothing but the quiet access road between the bar and the beach so it’s perfect for a little stroll along the seashore before or after. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for specials and events.
14. Woodcutters Arms
Styled in the fashion of a traditional English pub, the Woodcutters Arms is the perfect spot in Hout Bay to enjoy a lazy afternoon in their shaded beer garden with a draught beer (they have 10 draught beers available on tap) or a glass of wine. Their menu is British-inspired that includes fish and chips, pot pies and bangers and mash, along with snacks and light meals and a roast on Sundays. They host monthly Woodcutters Arms Quiz Night which is held every third Monday.
Bars in the South Peninsula
15. The Brass Bell
The Brass Bell is one of those few places you can call “an institution” without fear of cliché. It’s been around so long and has so many fans and regulars that it hardly needs any endorsement from us! Over the years it has expanded from a small coastal restaurant and bar to an impressive collection of seven different dining and bar areas. Another new addition is the beach and paddling pool for the littlies in addition to the sea pools, which will keep the kids occupied for hours. Booking is advised as this is very popular spot. Tip: Catch the MetroRail train to Kalk Bay – the train stops right outside The Brass Bell.
16. Cape To Cuba
Great cocktails and a riot of colourful Cuban furniture and artwork, along with references to Ernest Hemingway and Che Guevara (the inspiration behind the name of the restaurant’s bar), all set against the tranquil backdrop of Kalk Bay harbour. It’s got a fantastic bohemian feel and it’s one of the few places that you can enjoy a mojito and a cigar while feeling the sand between your toes. The restaurant side features authentic Cuban dishes with Cajun influences and there’s live music every Saturday and Sunday between 16:00 and 19:00. They usually have half-price cocktails between 17:00 and 19:00.
17. Dixies Restaurant and Pub
With its laid-back atmosphere and great views over the ocean, this Glen Cairn institution is popular with both locals and tourists. You’ll find a mixed crowd, from fishermen to bikers and families. It’s a good spot to catch the game on big screen TVs and they do a really good Sunday roast too (bookings essential). The a la carte menus include breakfast options, pizzas, snacks, toasted sandwiches and main dishes, so there’s something for every appetite. Dixies is open 09:00 to 23:00 from Monday to Sundays, the kitchen closes at 9pm and the bar closes at 22:00.
18. The Lighthouse Pub & Grill
A family-owned pub with a garden where you can relax under big trees on summer days and enjoy an indoor fireplace with heated outside area during winter. They have big screens for watching sport and a menu that includes burgers, bunny chows, nachos, seafood and ribs. They have varied daily specials. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome in the outside areas.
19. The Red Herring
With a restaurant, Beach Road Bar and Sunset Deck this popular and pet-friendly Noordhoek watering hole has something for everyone. The wrap-around deck just crests the surrounding Milkwood trees and offers wide views across Noordhoek from Kommetjie to Chapmans Peak. There’s a relaxed beach-bar atmosphere where you can enjoy craft beers and cocktails, along with canapes and excellent pizzas when the hunger takes hold.
20. Toad in the Village
“The Toad”, as it is affectionately known is popular with locals and is a great spot for families. They serve good pub fare and an extensive range of draught beer – try the Toad, a Mitchell’s beer named after the endangered Western Leopard Toad. On warm summer days sit in the beer garden with its all-weather grass, or on the deck upstairs set among the trees. There are also two other “Toads” in the franchise – one in Newlands (Toad & Josephine) and one in Tokai (Toad On The Road) that are worth a visit for a pint.
Bars in the Southern Suburbs
21. Slug & Lettuce at The River Club
Enjoy a pint or two at this well-known franchise after a stint at the driving range (R35 for a bucket of balls), or just pop in anyway. Parents will be pleased to know that their children (aged 3-12 years) can enjoy a complimentary admittance into The River Rascal’s Club – a supervised children’s play area that is open till 19:00. Live music Friday to Sunday and daily chalkboard specials along with half-price burgers on Mondays and Happy Hour from 17:00 on Mondays to Fridays.
22. The Rose Bar at Alphen Boutique Hotel
Below a massive oak tree with fairy lights you’ll find cheerful cushioned loungers and comfy couches surrounded by the beautiful gardens of the Alphen Boutique Hotel. The impressive drinks list includes cocktails, champagne, wines, whiskies, beers and cigars. If you are feeling hungry there’s a bar nibbles menu. The Rose Bar also hires out the luxurious daybeds that line the hotel swimming pool – worth the minimum food and drinks spend per head. They are open every day of the week, but generally close early on Sunday afternoons.
23. Merry Monk Bar at Pastis
You’ll find Pastis alongside the vineyards of Groot Constantia with outdoor seating on a shady patio overlooking the vines and a leafy winding road where you are likely to spot the City Sightseeing Bus driving by. The Merry Monk pub serves local and craft beers (including their own Merry Monk craft beer), along with whiskies and an impressive wine list, including Constantia Glen, Eagles Nest, Groote Post, Diemersfontein and more. They’ve also recently added a small selection of cocktails to their offering. Happy Hour is on Mondays to Thursdays from 17:00 to 18:00 (craft beer on tap not included) and R50 pub meals are available on Mondays to Saturdays from 12:00 to 17:00. Live music on Thursdays to Sundays and a Folk Evening on the last Tuesday of each month.
24. Peddlars & Co
Over the years, Peddlars has gone from the small local pub down the road, to a world-class establishment, complete with a resident chef, that includes The Local, The Oak Terrace, Volaré Ristorante and Graciales. The Oak Terrace is the place to be on a summer’s day with outdoor setting and casual eating with family and friends, while The Local is the pub side of things, also with seating outdoors. Each section has its own menu. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for other special offers.
25. Forresters Arms Pub & Restaurant
Forries, as it is affectionately known, is one of the oldest pubs in South Africa (established in 1852) that remains popular with locals and students and occasionally the bikers ride in too. You can enjoy the summer air at tables in their ivy-covered arbours or under the natural canopies of the huge oak trees that shade the garden area. There’s a wide selection on the menu (the portions are very ample) and plenty of drinks to choose from, including craft beer. Ever the family pub, there’s a play area with safety-approved swings, slides and jungle gyms for the kids. Fun fact: they have been listed in the Guinness Book of Records for the most beer sold in the Southern Hemisphere!
26. Caffé Verdi
At this laid-back Italian-restaurant-meets-English-pub in Wynberg, you can soak up the summer rays in their light and sunny courtyard while enjoying a cold one with one of their delicious pizzas. Tuesdays are pub quiz night and they often have lunch specials. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for events and special offers.
Bars in Milnerton and Tableview
27. The Beach Tavern, Milnerton
A modern pub with plenty of pub benches outside situated right next to the Milnerton Lighthouse serving over 100 beers along with cocktails and wine. Apart from a very reasonably priced menu, they have some good specials on different days of the week, including two pizzas and bottle of house wine. It’s also dog-friendly and closes when the last person leaves.
28. Ilha Bar and Restaurant, Milnerton
This small, but very popular bistro is next door to the Beach Tavern serves well-priced meals (including breakfast) along with a wide range of beers, wines and cocktails. It’s also dog-friendly and they provide water bowls for your canine companion while you enjoy a cold one. They have awesome daily specials. You need to have some patience though as service can be very slow when they are busy.
29. Doodles Beachfront, Blouberg
Another Cape Town institution, Doodles boasts the biggest outside seating area in the entire Table View and Blouberg vicinity, with a fantastic panoramic view of Table Mountain and the surrounding bay. There’s live music on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and a DJ on Thursday and Friday evenings. Happy Hour from 19:00 to 20:00 on Tuesdays and Thirsty Thursdays sees two hours of half-price drinks from 18:00. Parents will be pleased to know that there’s also a secure play area for the littlies.
30. The Blue Peter Hotel, Blouberg
What really sets The Blue Peter Hotel apart is the incredible view it enjoys of Table Mountain. Locals and tourists have been flocking to this watering hole for years to watch the sun set while our iconic landmark cuts an impressive silhouette across the horizon. The Lighthouse Bar is a light and airy venue to enjoy a pint either indoors with the big screen TVs or outside at on of the wooden tables or on the lawn if the tables are taken. They have a large selection of beers on tap as well as craft beers and their pizzas are popular with those in the know. It can get very crowded on weekends in the summer months, especially in the early evening when everyone is trying to find a spot on the lawn from which to enjoy the sun set.
31. The Royal Oak, Tableview
A well-established English-style pub that has been serving beer since 1993. Popular with all ages and has a great atmosphere. There’s beers on tap, including Guinness, and a varied menu with weekly specials. They are also famous for their Sunday roasts.
Bars in the Northern Suburbs
32. Speakeasy Saloon
No prohibition here – they have beer! A Durbanville pub with a big tree in the middle of the outside seating aree, cold beer, good food and fun vibe. A great place to round up your friends to watch that soccer or rugby game as there are plenty of big screen TVs. They have beers on tap, wine and cocktails along with many meal options, from pizzas to burgers, salads to steaks and tapas “pans. According to regular patrons, the pizzas are good and the pulled pork pita is delicious!
33. The Palms Pub & Grill
A family pub and restaurant with plenty of space for youngsters in a fenced playground with a large grassy area and a water slide in summer. Have a pint and watch the game on a big screen in the bar or on the deck, grab a bite to eat in the restaurant or listen to a local band in the Red Tent. There are also braai facilities with braai packs on sale for those who want to light a fire and relax with friends. The restaurant menu includes burgers, steaks, ribs, seafood, salads and pizza, along with baskets (that make for good pub-grub).
34. The Hollow Tree
Address: Van Riebeeckshof Road, Bellville / 12 Old Oak Road, Bellville / 20 Oxford Street, Durbanville
Tel: Oude Westhof 0219137753 / Old Oak 0219140186 / Oxford Street 0219763522
Family restaurants and taverns situated within South African Heritage Buildings with large, beautiful gardens under majestic trees. Plenty of outdoor seating areas, children’s facilities, braai and spit braai areas and more. Each venue has it’s own unique facilities, character and history, but they all offer a certain old world charm. Various special offers on different days of the week.
35. Poplars at D’Aria Wine Estate
The well-established gardens at this restaurant and bar on D’Aria Wine Estate provide an alfresco feel while the backyard has a braai area where you can host private parties. The Cocktail Bar has large selection of cocktails to choose from, craft beers and whiskies from around the world, along with wine and bubbly by the bucket load. The Backyard Pork Project has craft beer and, as you may have guessed, pork on the menu. They also have live bands and comedy acts and a jungle gym to keep the kids amused. Romantics will enjoy their Date Night on Wednesdays – two courses and two glasses of house white/red wine for R300 per couple.
Compiled by Chris Davies and Rachel Robinson