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The Best Dive Bars in Cape Town: East City

A colloquial American term, “dive bar” usually refers to an infamous neighbourhood bar where locals love to grab a drink and socialize. A good old-fashioned dive bar has a dodgy edge to it, but it simply adds to the character of the place.

That place you go to, to drown your sorrows or just celebrate that you survived the week. It’s the place where strangers become friends, even if you always just nod and smile at each other. Grimy and grungy, full of good booze.

The Best Dive Bars in Cape Town East City

#1 Dust and Dynamite Bar | 27 Caledon St | Zonnebloem

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday, 3PM – 2AM | Saturday 6PM – 2AM

This one is an authentic Wild West Saloon! Step inside, through the swinging saloon doors and tip your hat at the cowboy standing guard at the entrance. It’s full of cool memorabilia and old rock&roll tunes. The owner, Wayne Keet, is a real-life cowboy and you might be lucky enough to meet him.

A honky-tonk piano, wood panelling, cowboy hats dangling from the roof – for a moment you will be transported into a bygone era. Enjoy a beer in a unique setting. It’s tucked away on a little side street, around the corner from the Fugard Theatre.

Visit the Dust and Dynamite Facebook page for more information

The Best Dive Bars in Cape Town East City

#2 Lefty’s | 105 Harrington Street | Zonnebloem

Opening times: Monday to Friday 4PM – 1AM | Saturday 4PM – 12AM

If you want to rub shoulders with the locals, this is the place to go. Tourists also enjoy popping in for an authentically “local is lekker” experience. You must try their delicious ribs or a unique oyster shot. Get your coins ready for a classic arcade game and reminisce over the good ol’ days at the outdated bar.

Visit the Lefty’s Facebook page for more information

The Best Dive Bars in Cape Town East City

#3 SurfaRosa | 61a Harrington Street | Zonnebloem

Opening times: Tuesday and Wednesday 12PM – 2AM | Friday and Saturday 12PM – 4AM

Also located on the buzzing Harrington street, it’s another option for your weekly drink pit-stop. It has a completely different vibe to Lefty’s, so you can spice things up by rotating between the two popular dive bars.

It’s located below Harringtons Lounge, tucked away between office buildings. Dimly lit, with a great cosy vibe, you can settle in and let the daily worries roll off your shoulders while relaxing with a drink in your hand. You’re guaranteed to mingle with an interesting mix of people who love frequenting the bar.

Visit the Surfarosa website for more information.

Related: Harrington Street Restaurants

The Best Dive Bars in Cape Town East City

#4 Kimberley Hotel | 46 Roeland Street | Cape Town City Centre

Opening times: always open

Since 1895 the Kimberly Hotel has kept patrons bedded and beered. If only the walls could talk… Don’t expect any fancy mixology action from the bartender, order a cheap beer and start your buzz for the evening if you want to do a bar hop and move onto something more sophisticated later. You will meet some quirky characters here, get ready for a wild old school bar experience!

Visit the Kimberley-Hotel Facebook page for more information

The Best Dive Bars in Cape Town East City

#5 The Shack | 45 De Villiers Street | Zonnebloem

Opening times: Monday to Friday 12PM – 4AM | Saturday to Sunday 6PM – 4AM

It’s a Capetonian institution, with just the right mix of anti-establishment attitude to keep the doors open for many years to come. Situated on the edge of rebellious District Six, the air is infused with punk rock tunes. Grab your cheapie beer, and head over to a pool table or play a bit of foosball. The crowd is usually a young, rowdy bunch but it’s a space that effortlessly mixes generations.

Visit the The Shack Facebook page for more information.

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