Drinking and nightlife in South Africa

  • Nightlife in Cape Flats & Northern Suburbs

    Devil's Peak Brewing Company

    One of South Africa's most innovative breweries has moved to colossal premises outside the city. It's a somewhat unlikely location, on a large industrial estate, but once you're inside the diner-inspired taproom, you quickly forget the surrounds. There are experimental brews on draught alongside the core range, and a small menu featuring truffle mac 'n' cheese and a legendary cheeseburger.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Johannesburg

    Mad Giant

    A superlative addition to Jozi's inner city, Mad Giant offers excellent craft beers (brewed on-site) paired with delectable Asian-inspired tapas dishes at its classy restaurant Urbanologi. The spectacular steampunk-style space has an award-winning design that seems partly fashioned from a giant Meccano set.

  • Nightlife in East City, District Six, Woodstock & Observatory

    Hope on Hopkins

    As the boutique gin wave washes over South Africa, Hope on Hopkins remains one of the country's most progressive micro-distilleries. Occupying a disused warehouse in a yet-to-be-gentrified part of town, it's a real locals' haunt. The convivial tasting space overlooks the distillery and offers a relaxed way to sample the gins – ask about the latest special releases.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Johannesburg

    Mooteebar

    Mooteebar – a play on the Zulu word muthi – serves upscale cocktails inspired by South African traditional medicine. The hand-drawn menu describes the feelings each cocktail evokes, rather than the actual ingredients. Each drink is a work of art: one served in a paper bag emits steam when opened, another in a worm-shaped ceramic cup. Mooteebar also offers an innovative food menu.

  • Nightlife in Sea Point to Hout Bay

    Coco Safar

    The attention to detail at this stylish, bustling cafe is magnificent. Beans are roasted in house and the coffee menu features everything from espressos to nitro-poured cold brew infused with citrus rind. There's also cold-brewed rooibos on tap, decadent pastries and a menu that tips its hat to its South African roots with options like bobotie croissant and bunny chow brioche.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in East City, District Six, Woodstock & Observatory

    Truth

    This self-described ‘steampunk roastery and coffee bar’, with pressed-tin ceilings, naked hanging bulbs and mad-inventor-style metalwork, is an awe-inspiring space in which to mingle with city slickers. Apart from coffee, craft beers, quality baked goods (including fresh croissants) and various sandwiches are on the menu.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Blind Tiger Cafe

    There's a cool 1920s prohibition feel to this welcoming space with a long wooden bar and outdoor tables right on the Tryone Ave shopping strip. It's hard to resist their inventive cocktails – or as their menu would have it, 'giggle water'. From their food menu the hot chorizo and bean dip is recommended.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Parys & Vredefort Dome Area

    The Dog and Fig

    A craft brewery in the picturesque outskirts of Parys offering excellent brews, a lovely setting and free, informal tours. The brewmaster brings in top-quality hops and malt from Germany, and his creations pair well with cheese, biltong and chocolate platters. The kitchen also serves up three meals a day, including pub specialties like smoked Dutch sausage and tender eisbein.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in City Bowl, Foreshore, Bo-Kaap & De Waterkant

    Orphanage

    Named after the nearby lane, the mixologists here prepare some tempting artisanal libations with curious names including Knicker-Dropper Glory, Dollymop and Daylight Daisy, using ingredients as varied as peanut butter, kumquat compote and 'goldfish'! It's dark, sophisticated and stylish, with outdoor seating beneath the trees on Bree St.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in East City, District Six, Woodstock & Observatory

    Espressolab Microroasters

    Geek out about coffee at this lab staffed with passionate roasters and baristas. Their beans, which come from single farms, estates and co-ops from around the world, are packaged with tasting notes such as those for fine wines.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Green Point & ­Waterfront

    Bascule

    Over 480 varieties of whisky are served at the Grace’s sophisticated, nautical-themed bar, with a few slugs of the 50-year-old Glenfiddich still available (at just R18,000 a tot). Outdoor tables facing the marina are a superb spot for drinks and tasty tapas.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Southern Suburbs

    Martini Bar

    The magnificent pink, lemon, burgundy and teal lounge at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel specialises in martinis such as the sweet and spicy white-chocolate-and-chilli flavour, with many other cocktails on offer, as well as single-origin coffees and Constantia wines. You can take high tea here (R225 per person) or retire to another part of the grounds wandered by peacocks.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    A Streetbar Named Desire

    True to its name, A Streetbar Named Desire is a trendy bar overlooking the street. The first-floor balcony offers a nice view of busy Jan Smuts Ave; at happy hour it's crowded with young professionals sipping cocktails and nibbling tapas. Streetbar's menu and decor are clever, playing off scenes from the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Dullstroom

    Wild About Whisky

    This whisky bar, one of the southern hemisphere's best stocked, offers over 30 themed tastings and pairings (R165 to R865) of its 1400 world whiskies, ranging from single malts to bourbons. Other spirits including gin are also represented, as are South African producers. There's Innis & Gunn Scottish craft beer on tap and a shop selling around 300 whiskies.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Pretoria

    Capital Craft

    Pretoria's premier beer hangout is a huge place whose long tables, both inside the barn-like bar and out in the garden, are perpetually packed. The focus here is craft beer from around the country. The selection is impressive – try a few tasters before ordering a pint. Want something to soak up all that ale? The pulled-pork sandwich is superb.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Bertrand

    Bertrand is a Jo'burg coffee shop that feels more like a charmingly cluttered Parisian flat. Crammed with comfortable couches and second-hand knick-knacks, Bertrand serves proper flat whites and French-imported croissants. Mel, the French-Congolese owner, is eager to chat. The outdoor tables provide great people-watching in trendy Maboneng.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Johannesburg

    Great Dane

    Fun and friendly Great Dane is one of the mainstays of the ever-changing Braamfontein bar strip. The music is very danceable and staff make you feel like friends. Early on it's a good place for warm-up drinks, especially in the appealing courtyard hung with old lampshades; come midnight the tables are cleared and the dancing commences.

  • Nightlife in Johannesburg

    Tilt Coffee

    Tilt is a welcome addition in Melville, which has many great restaurants and bars but few great coffee shops. This tiny, Cape-Dutch-style building is just big enough for the one-room coffee shop, serving locally roasted beans along with healthy shakes and nibbles.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

    Tiger's Milk

    There's a panoramic view of Muizenberg Beach through the floor-to-ceiling window of this hangar-like bar and restaurant. It's open all day for food (good pizza and steaks; mains R110), but is more of a sundowner venue and nightspot with its long bar, stools and exposed-brick walls hung with quirky decor, including a motorbike.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in Polokwane

    Grind

    This mobile coffee tuk-tuk is the brainchild of master barista and all-round-coffee-guru Ben Schempers. Keep an eye on Facebook on weekdays then track it down for Polokwane's (Limpopo's?) best coffee. It's a real hipster hangout in the best sense, with gourmet sandwiches complementing the fabulous artisan coffee.