Best spots for a night out in Cape Town

From sunrise to sunset, Cape Town, South Africa, is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From Table Mountain to the colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, there is so much to see and do in Cape Town. After sunset, Cape Town remains as vibrant as during the daytime! Wondering what to do with a free evening when travelling to Cape Town? Expat Explore has put together a full guide to Cape Town nightlife – complete with must-visit restaurants and bars as well as fun nighttime activities.

While there are great nightlife options all over Cape Town, for this list, we are sticking to spots within the city bowl.

explore, travel, best spots for a night out in cape town

Get ready for a memorable night out in Cape Town!

Related: Discover more things to do in and around Cape Town!


Cape Town has something for every type of foodie! With a wide range of cuisines to choose from – including casual eateries and esteemed fine dining establishments, there certainly is something for everyone. However, there are some restaurants that just come alive at night. These culinary hotspots are beloved by locals and tourists alike. Therefore, booking in advance is always advised!

explore, travel, best spots for a night out in cape town

Cape Town offers many world-class dining experiences. Photo Credit: Tjing Tjing

Tjing Tjing

Featuring a lively rooftop bar, a fine dining spot offering seasonal set menus and a vibrant, casual restaurant, Tjing Tjing is one of the most popular nightlife spots in the Cape Town city bowl. All of these sections offer delicious Japanese dishes and drinks!

165 Longmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, +27 21 4224374

Marco’s African Place

For a taste of authentic African cuisine, look no further than Marco’s African Place. Try traditional Xhosa food, home-brewed African beer and unique game dishes. Marco’s also offers live African music and dance performances every evening! It’s sure to be a night to remember.

15 Rose St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, +27 21 4235412

Related: Enjoy a welcome dinner at Marco’s African Place when you join our South Africa Escape tour!

Rick’s Café Americain 

Named after the iconic Rick’s Bar in the classic film Casablanca (which plays on repeat on TV screens in the restaurant), Rick’s Café Americain boasts beautiful decor, Moroccan-inspired cuisine, a rooftop terrace with mountain views and a killer happy hour!

103 kloof street Crn, Weltevreden St, Gardens, Cape Town, +27 21 8221100

Top Tip: Rick’s happy hour is from 15h00 – 18h00 and from 22h00 – 24h00 every day!


Whether you’re looking for some mixology magic, local wines and beers or just a good time, Cape Town most certainly has a bar to fit your needs! Pop by these watering holes for a sundowner, a post-dinner aperitif or stay until the early hours of the morning. The choice is yours!

explore, travel, best spots for a night out in cape town

Sip on artisanal cocktails at Cause Effect.

Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen

Currently sitting at number 75 on World’s 50 Best list of bars, Cause Effect is a unique cocktail experience that notably uses local spirits, herbs and fruits in their creations. This spot is perfect for those who love a bit of creative flair along with their drinks.

The Rocket Shed, 280 Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, +27 21 422 0266

Related: Try these iconic cocktails from around the world!

House of Machines 

Whether you want coffee, clothing, cocktails, craft beer, motorcycles or all of the above, the House of Machines has got you covered! Oh, and there’s even live music to add to the mix. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events and performances or just pop by on any day (or night) of the week to soak up the vibe.

84 Shortmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, +27 21 4261400

The Fireman’s Arms

Think cocktails are overrated and just want a good old-fashioned pint? Look no further than The Fireman’s Arms, Cape Town’s oldest pub! Standing since 1864, Fireman’s Arms is the perfect place to catch a rugby or soccer match on the big screen and eat delicious pub grub. You can also join one of their legendary quiz nights every Thursday.

25 Buitengracht St &, Mechau St, De Waterkant, Cape Town, +27 21 4191513

Other activities:

Cape Town’s nightlife activities aren’t limited to food and drinks. There are many other ways to spend a night in this exciting city. Below you’ll find just a few of the varied options for your evening adventures!

explore, travel, best spots for a night out in cape town

Don’t forget to take time to admire Cape Town’s gorgeous sunsets!

First Thursdays

Happen to be in the Mother City on the first Thursday of the month? Then you absolutely cannot miss out on First Thursdays! Every month, the city bowl and its surroundings come alive on this day with artists, performers and partygoers. Restaurants and bars offer drinks and food specials and various art exhibitions are held in galleries and creative spaces around the city. Some spots also host live music performances and must-attend parties.

Locations all over Cape Town

The Labia Cinema 

Sure, you can go to movies anywhere in the world but you won’t find a cinema like the Labia anywhere else! This vintage-style movie theatre has been a proud fixture on Orange Street since 1949 when it was opened by the eponymous Princess Labia. Showing a selection of mainstream, independent, local and foreign films, seeing a movie at the Labia is a beloved Cape Town pastime. You can also enjoy alcoholic slushies (or Glühwein in winter) while watching your movie!

68 Orange St, Gardens, Cape Town, book online

Sunset champagne cruise

It’s hard to beat an African sunset, and what better way to admire it than from the water? Set off on a sunset cruise from the V&A Waterfront and marvel at gorgeous views as you sail. There are a variety of cruise options and providers to choose from and many include champagne or even dinner!

19 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront Cape Town

You’re all set for a night out in the Mother City! Start planning your tour to South Africa with Expat Explore and look forward to discovering even more of Cape Town’s nightlife!

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