Are you up for a cool Cape Town adventure of exploring and experiencing the Mother City’s thriving and thrilling speciality bar scene? This is one epic bucket-list worthy experience that might just have you living it up and loving life all the way into the morning hours. And the best thing is, you’ll love every single second of it! Besides being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is home to an exciting variety of cool bars, hip hangouts, trendy rooftops spots and hidden gems. All of which have something cool and unique to offer regardless of your drink of choice. Whether you’re a gin, craft beer, whiskey, rum, wine or a classic cocktail lover, the Mother City has something for everyone! Here are the top 5 speciality bars in Cape Town, all of which are absolutely worth a visit.
#1 GIN: THE GIN BAR & THE BOTANICAL BAR
THE GIN BAR
Let’s kick things of with one of Cape Town’s most sought-after gin spots, the Gin Bar! Locally known as the Secret Gin Bar due to its hush-hush unmarked location behind another one of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, Honest Chocolate. The Gin Bar has fast become Cape Town’s favourite Gin nirvana. Well, for those who know about it of course. It isn’t known as the Secret Gin Bar for nothing. Located in Wale Street, right in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre, the Gin Bar is undoubtedly one of the Mother City’s coolest hidden gems. It was also one of the first bars in Cape Town to dedicate itself to all things Gin. Thereby making it the true OG of the Cape Town Gin scene. Not to mention the fact that it is one of the country’s only true speak-easy bars. Thereby making a visit to the Secret Gin Bar a bucket-list worthy experience in every way. Especially if you’re a die-hard gin lover at heart!
Nestled in a Mediterranean-style secret courtyard, all the cocktails served at the Gin Bar are centred around Gin. Which only seems fitting of course. The menu is concise and definitely favours quality over quantity. Just as it should. They have cleverly named their classic five cocktails the Head, Heart, Hope, Soul and Ambition. All intended to provide its drinker with as much healing for whatever may ail them. Thereby making this Cape Town Gin experience truly one-of-a-kind.
- Location: 64A Wale St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Thursday 3pm – 12am | Friday – Saturday 3pm – 1:30am | Sunday 2pm – 8pm
- Contact details: 071 241 2277 | [email protected]
THE BOTANICAL BAR
Next up is the cool, captivating and one-of-a-kind Botanical Bar! Celebrating all things botanicals, The Botanical Bar aims to pay tribute to the Western Cape’s rich diversity of flora and fauna in the most unique and exciting way. Sister bar to the Gin Bar, the Botanical Bar holds the title of the Mother City’s first botanical-inspired bar. Undoubtedly making the Botanical Bar one of Cape Town’s top speciality bars that absolutely deserves a top spot on your Cape Town bucket-list. Priding themselves on paying tribute to some of Cape Town’s most beloved regional botanicals. This botanical-inspired bar has certainly made quite a remarkable name for itself by serving up fresh and fragrant botanical-infused drinks with their own unique twist. Thereby ensuring gin-loving locals and globe-trotting gin enthusiasts get their authentic fynbos fix in the most authentic and down-right delicious way.
Some of the Botanical Bar’s speciality drinks include The Namaqualand, The Langeberg, The Paarl Rock and The Limpopo. All of which are jam-packed with bold flavours and infused with the true taste of the Western Cape in all its botanical glory. Sounds pretty incredible right?
But Botanicals and Gin is not all the Botanical Bar is known for. In addition to experimenting with local botanicals and flavours, the Botanical Bar also prides itself on showcasing some of South Africa’s best and most unique craft liquor. You can therefore expect to discover quite an extraordinary selection of homemade botanical tinctures, bitters, syrups, vermouths, and shrubs aplenty. Thereby not only making the Botanical Bar one of Cape Town top speciality bars to visit. But quite a unique experience and epic taste adventure in every way.
- Location: 160 Longmarket St, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday 11:30am – 2:30pm | Tuesday – Thursday 11:30am – 12am(midnight) | Friday 11:30am – 1:30am | Saturday 4pm – 1am | Sunday – closed
- Contact details: 076 124 4639
#2 WINE: OPENWINE WINE BAR
Time for some authentic local South African wine, savoured and enjoyed in true local Cape Town style! In the Mother City, there is no time quite like wine time. And you better believe we take our wine drinking very seriously. The Western Cape is home to the largest and most unique wine producing region in Africa after all. But besides it’s exceptional selection of top-tier wine estates and spectacular wine tasting experiences found along some of the Western Cape’s most renowned wine routes. There’s a thrilling and thriving wine bar scene that’s sweeping the streets of the Mother City one cool wine bar at a time. And by far the most sought-after and trendiest wine bar of them all is Openwine! The Openwine Wine Tasting Room and Kitchen is not only one of Cape Town’s top speciality bars, but most sought-after local wine bars too.
With a passionate wine mission to introduce Capetonians and global wine lovers to a new way of experiencing the local South African world of wine. Its no surprise that Openwine has established itself as a real fan-favourite amongst local wine lovers and global wine enthusiasts. Tucked away on Wale Street, right in the heart of the Mother City. Openwine is described as a ‘Taste Pair Shop’ with an unwavering mission to give as many people as possible the opportunity to experience, taste and learn more about South Africa’s authentic local wine culture. Thereby creating the perfect wine escape in the inner-city of Cape Town. Besides being one of the trendiest wine bars in the Mother City, the Openwine Wine Tasting Room & Kitchen is also Cape Town’s very first Enoteca. Offering wine lovers a wide variety of proudly South African wines to both enjoy and purchase.
When it comes to wine, Openwine prides themselves on offering local and global wine enthusiasts the very best collection of authentic local South African wines to try. Boasting a sensational selection of over 200 wines ranging from boutique South African wines, lesser-known wine gems and bigger industry-leading local wine brands. Openwine truly has something for everyone! And the best thing is, all their wines can be enjoyed by the bottle or glass.
Openwine is divided into three main sections, The Bar, The Lounge and The Cellar. Thereby providing every avid wine enthusiast or laid-back wine drinker with the perfect setting in which to enjoy their chosen bottle or glass of wine. In addition to a unique wine tasting experience, Openwine also gives you the opportunity to purchase any and all bottles of local South African wine that stole your heart and your pallet. As well as invites you to linger a little longer as you enjoy a glass or bottle of exceptional wine over a superb meal. It’s therefore safe to say that Openwine truly is a one-stop-shop when it comes to enjoying authentic local South Africa wine in Cape Town. Thereby making a visit to this Cape Town wine gem an absolute must for any avid wine lover at heart.
- Location: 72 Wale Street, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Friday, 12pm – 10pm
- Contact Details: 021 422 0800 | [email protected]
To find out more about Openwine and everything they have to offer as well as all the one-of-a-kind wine tasting experiences they have in store for you, have a look at our Openwine Wine Tasting Room & Kitchen in Cape Town blog. And if you’re looking to experience a bit more of Cape Town’s vibrant and exciting wine bar scene, our Top 5 Wine Bars in Cape Town blog while provide you with all the hottest Cape Town wine bars that should undoubtedly be on your Cape Town wine bar bucket-list!
#3 WHISKEY: HANK’S OLDE IRISH WHISKEY BAR
Whiskey lover’s, are you ready to experience your very own Cape Town whiskey nirvana? As Mark Twain once said, too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is never enough! And that’s exactly the sentiment that Hank’s Olde Irish Whiskey Bar lives by. Therefore, not only does this renowned Cape Town whiskey speciality bar celebrate this warm, amber tinted spirit every way they can. They welcome whiskey lovers from all walks of life with a warm welcoming atmosphere and a sensational whiskey ready to be served, savoured and enjoyed. And even if you’re not a die-hard whiskey fanatic, you’re invited to come along for the whiskey-filled ride anyway. Plus, who knows, you might juts be a full-blown whiskey lover by the end of it anyway!
With two sought-after locations in both the inner city’s trendy Bree Street and Stellenbosch. Hank’s Olde Irish is undoubtedly on a mission to share their whiskey love with as many local and global whiskey enthusiasts as possible. And they sure have created the perfect environment and atmosphere to do just that. With its uber cool blend of Tom Waits quirkiness, old English pub character, historical stone walls, long mahogany bar and moody golden lighting. Hank’s has most definitely crafted the ideal whiskey escape for an unbelievable whiskey journey of discovery you won’t soon forget.
When it comes to the whiskey, Hank’s pure passion and dedication to this warm, amber tinted spirit is unparalleled. Boasting an exceptional and exciting variety of whiskeys from all around the world. There’s no denying the fact that you’re in for one sensational Cape Town whiskey adventure that’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Along with a usual array of Scotch, Irish and Japanese whiskies, bourbons and blends. You will also encounter brands such as Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve, Green Spot and Yellow Spot single potstill Irish whiskey, Middleton Barry Crocket and many, many more! Thereby making it any head-over-heels whisky fanatic’s ultimate piece of whiskey paradise.
But besides being a world-class whiskey wonder. Hank’s Olde Irish has made sure to cater for anyone and everyone who choose to pay them a visit. Therefore, besides their superb whiskey selection, they have pretty much any drink you can imagine on offer. Thereby ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy!
- Location: 110 Bree St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – closed | Tuesday – Saturday 5pm – 2am | Sunday – closed
- Contact details: 021 422 2770 | [email protected]
#4 COCKTAILS: ORPHANAGE COCKTAIL EMPORIUM
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a REALLY good cocktail? Nobody! But Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is certainly no ordinary Cape Town cocktail bar. And they sure love to do things a little differently. And the best thing is, we have absolutely no doubt that you’ll love every single second and sip of their cool and captivating cocktail creations and craft. As they give you the incredible opportunity to live out all your cocktail hopes and dreams one unique and down-right delicious cocktail combination at a time. Some are tall, some are short, and some are even served in a teacup. But hey, that just makes us love this cool cocktail gem all the more!
Located on the corner of Orphan and the ever-trendy Bree Street in the lively inner-city, Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is widely known to serve up some of the very best cocktails in town. And with so many spectacular cocktail hotspots located all around the city, that really is saying a lot. Undoubtedly making Orphanage Cocktail Emporium one of the top speciality bars in Cape Town.
While this trendy and sought-after cocktail gem might not be your typical beach-front sunset cocktail spot that most people are used to. Orphanage Cocktail Emporium’s speakeasy-style bar prides themselves on breaking away from the traditional and being a place for lost souls to enjoy marvellous mixtures, music & company in one of the most unique settings. While the Orphanage Cocktail Emporium specialises as an emporium of mind-blowing cocktails. They also serve champagne, exceptional wine, an assortment of craft beers and spirits as well as virtuous tipples for those that prefer to remain pure and untainted by alcoholic liberations. Thereby ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy at this cool and captivating Cape Town cocktail emporium.
- Location: 227 Bree Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Tuesday 5pm – 12am | Wednesday – Friday 5pm – 2am | Saturday 5pm – 12am | Sunday – closed
- Contact details: 071 534 0266 | [email protected]
#5 BEER: BEERHOUSE
It’s finally BEER time! If craft beer is your jam, then Beerhouse is most definitely right up your beer alley! There is no denying the fact that the Mother City is at the very top of her craft game. And leading the Cape Town craft beer pack is none other than Beerhouse. Beerhouse prides itself on being the ultimate flagship Beer Revolution brand. So much so that they are fully committed to making yellow the new colour of beer in South Africa. But, regardless of whether they accomplish their goal or not, local and global beer lovers just can’t get enough of this cool craft beer gem. Undoubtedly making Beerhouse one of the top speciality bars in Cape Town, especially for head-over-heels beer fanatics!
With two cool locations, one in the vibrant and lively Long Street in the heart of the inner-city and the other in Belville Park, Beerhouse sure is giving Cape Town beer enthusiasts something to rant and rave about. And of course inviting all beer loving tourists and travellers to join in on all the beer drinking fun and games! And you better believe they’ve created the perfect craft beer oasis to do just that. Boasting a cool contemporary beer hall with 25 taps and their legendary ’99 Bottles of beer on the wall’ of the best local and international beer. Beerhouse has crafted the coolest craft beer escape for beer lovers from all walks of life to break away from the hustles and bustle for a while, sit back, relax, let go of your woes and celebrate life with a cool and refreshing cold one in hand. Plus, the fact that there is such an exciting and exceptional variety of local and international beers to choose from, just guarantees that you’re in for a REALLY good time!
In addition to it’s amazing craft beer selection, cool vibe and lively everyone-is-welcome atmosphere, Beerhouse prides themselves on being the ultimate hub for all things beer. They therefore strive to incubate and uphold the true ideals of craft all while giving local micro-breweries the chance to strut their stuff and show both the local and international beer crowd just what they’re made of. Because local is lekker, and we LOVE it, and so does Beerhouse! Besides being the ultimate craft beer mecca, Beerhouse also has a variety of other spirits, ciders and drinks to choose from for all the non-beer lovers. Not to mention their cool tunes and live DJs that will keep you dancing and loving life right into the morning hours.
- Location: Beerhouse on Long: 223 Long Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town | Beerhouse Tygervalley: 14 Mispel Rd, Bellville Park, Cape Town
- Opening times: Beerhouse on Long: Monday – Wednesday 11am – 2am | Thursday – Friday 11am – 4am | Saturday 11am – 2am | Sunday 11am – 4am| Beerhouse Tygervalley: Monday – Sunday 11am – 2am
- Contact details: Beerhouse on Long: 079 369 8990 | [email protected] | Beerhouse Tygervalley: 071 328 0258 | [email protected]