Cape Town nightlife

While Cape Town’s residents are famous for being seriously laidback, the party scene is up tempo and there’s rarely a dull moment. From sundowner cocktail bars to thumping clubs where international DJ's pop up for impromptu nights, the city has an impressive party pedigree. Live music is a growing phenomenon and I have outlined some of the spots to hear local talent.

Clubs come and go in Cape Town but there are some stalwarts that have been around for decades and that remain on the must hit list. The city and central business district and its outskirts remains a hub of activity although there are a few popular spots in the ‘burbs too. Summertime is when things really get interesting on the party front with new spots popping up and old favourites turning up the ante to woo in the punters. Dance fiends do their thing at the various Hip Hop, house, R&B and commercial spots throughout the city, but only until 4am - the latest time for clubs to stay open. If you like it smooth and mellow, you’ll love our jazz scene, a stage that spawned the birth of a number of now world famous musicians.

As a rule of thumb - head for Long Street for the real deal - a combination of pre-club drinks or dinner, a dance floor experience that suits your mood and maybe a late night drink or game of pool at a suitably dodgy dive. The Atlantic Sea Board and especially Camps Bay is where the city’s glossy posses head for sundowners and perhaps some late night shenanigans while those who’re serious about their music head for any of the dedicated clubs dotted around the city. The gay party scene is alive and well here (Cape Town is after all reportedly the third largest gay capital in the world) and if trance festivals are your thing, you’ll be pleased to know there are a number of regular fixtures at out-of-town venues. We live for summer in our city so ’meeting for sundowners’ is part and parcel of every Capetonian’s seasonal experience. Best then to head for the Atlantic Seaboard where you can watch the sun go down in style at any of the much-loved or just-opened-for-the-summer spots (you can do the same on the beach just no alcohol allowed).

Oh, and if trance and outdoor parties are for you, then be sure to visit the Vortex website ( to stay in tune with when their next weekend long trance session begins. Venue sites are released to ticket holders only and you'll find yourself camping alongside hundreds of psychedelic dance lovers.

For live music gigs and concerts, it's obviously better to book ahead. Online ticketing agencies include Computicket (+27 083 915 8000; and Web Tickets (

For more information, see my Nightlife in Cape Town: cocktails, clubbing and jazz and Laid-back venues, live music and Cape Town’s gay scene guides.