Cape Town after eight

Cape Town is a party town, especially in summer when the city is crowded with tens of thousands of tourists - foreign and South African.  But even in winter, something is always going on. 

The city has become a Mecca for disc jockeys from around the world, which organize  giant raves, trance and similar parties - often these are held on beaches or in woodland.

Cape Town is also an integral part of the international touring rock groups. There are several districts with a lively nightlife, and a large part of the action takes place in Long Street in the city centre.

The upper section of the street (corner of Wale Street) is lined with restaurants, live music clubs, bars, cafes and a few strip clubs. In the lower, shady part of the road towards the port, a number of clubs, brothels, hostesses agencies and strip shops are located.

Outside the city centre, in Somerset Road in Green Point, one finds a variety of gay and lesbian clubs and restaurants. Further west is the road to Sea Point Main Road, where another corner is found with more nightlife.

The countless, well-attended night clubs in the V & A waterfront, however, are equally popular with tourists and locals (even in summer usually outweigh the tourists).


Further afield in the suburb of Observatory, is the Lower Main Road and the nearby River Club, the centre of a casual, alternative entertainment scene, where students from the nearby University of Cape Town come together.

The right place if you are looking for local music, philosophy, poetry, comedy and intense discussions about the meaning of life.

On the N1 highway north of downtown, you find Century City, a huge complex and amusement park, numerous restaurants, and several music stages. 

There are no strict rules regarding opening hours, and many clubs remain open until dawn and even longer. In some of the better hotels elegant attire is required, in all other facilities you can pretty much wear anything, although men are asked to keep their shirts on.

The minimum age for the consumption of alcoholic beverages is 18 years. The price of admission to clubs is about Rand 20-R 70,  often the entry before 23.00 clock is free. Alcohol is very cheap for foreigners, sometimes a beer will cost you only Rand 10.


There are literally hundreds of clubs in Cape Town, ranging from discos with popular music, venues with live music and clubs where the bouncers, not only clothing but also body piercing and language inspect before they decide who can be admitted.

Most hotels have dance halls, and consider themselves to be secure and proven. The adventurous clubs - The River Club, Observatory Road, Observatory, The Purple Turtle, corner of Long Street and Long Market Street and the Moomba Club Sociale, 77 Hout Street - all offer a mix of alternative music, theme nights and live music.

The Jet Lounge, 70 Long Street, and The Piano Lounge, corner of Loop Street and Wale Street, playing a mix of house, jungle, trance and jazz.

In the baseline, 72 Long Street, there are two dance floors where DJs come up with house, R & B and hip-hop music. The most popular gay and lesbian clubs in Cape Town are Detour, Sky Angel, the Bronx and the Blah Bar (all located in the Somerset Road, Green Point).

Live Music

The best information about live music is to get through the daily press, because a large part of the live music will be played in  little-known sites and not at fixed times.

Popular is The Jam, 43 De Villiers Street, District Six, in which local and alternative music is played. In Marcos African Place, 15 Rose Lane, in the Bo-Kaap area, one can enjoy local music and cuisine. The Drum Café African where every Monday  a drum workshop is held.

In The Green Dolphin, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, probably the best jazz venue in Cape Town, here regularly jazz is  played.  Great locations, to hear local music, are Camissa the café, 80 Kloof Street, and the Mama Africa, 176 Long Street.

Large concerts with internationally renowned artists, are normally held at the Three Arts Theater in Plumstead Main Road, Bellville Velodrome, and at Kirstenbosch Gardens.


Foreshore Fountain  


Corner Adderley and Whale Street 


The Shadows in Cape Town 


 Adderley Street at Christmas 


Michael Buble in concert 



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 All photography and content copyright of South African Geographic 2009 unless otherwise stated