This article first ran in the Sunday Times F&D on 16 December 2018
Visiting Cape Town? Try these bars & eateries for variety, vibe & views.
RED ROOF BAR
Rooftop drinks under the sun and killer views, at the Radisson Red
Oddly enough there aren’t many rooftop bars in Cape Town that are open to the elements, and certainly none like RED with its unrivalled view swag. Order from the Drinks Van and sweep your eyes over the superb surroundings as you sip a spritz from the comfort of a poolside chaise. The 360 degree vista encompasses the harbour, the V&A Waterfront, Zeitz MOCAA and Table Mountain, a tough act to follow.
Don’t miss: The Aper-RED Spritz with Pongracz, Aperol, soda and passionfruit.
Address: Silo 6, Silo Square, V&A Waterfront / www.radissonred.com/capetown
RUM TUM TUM on Bree Street
Rum is the focus
Rum is on the comeback trail. Once the grog of choice at seedy dockyard joints, the versatile liquor has seen an upswing in popularity among the mixologists of the world. Cuban lounge bar Rum Tum Tum on Bree has over fourty types of local and international rum brands on the shelf, an innovative cocktail menu and for those after a boozy Eighties throwback, there’s pina colada on tap.
Don’t miss: The Litchi Samba (pictured) made with coconut milk, elderflower, lemon, fresh litchis and garnished with a banana leaf.
Address: 136 Bree Street / https://www.facebook.com/rumtumtumbar/
HANK’S OLDE IRISH on Bree Street
Whiskey & Jazz
If whiskey is your poison then head to Hanks for your dram of choice. Owner managed by hospitality guru Johnny Papadakis (who also owns Love Thy Neighbour next door and the recently opened Hanks in Stellenbosch), the dimly lit bar with its olde world interior offers a blue-chip selection of Irish, Scottish and Japanese whiskies as well as a range of good South African wines and craft beers. Aside from being a drawcard for the bourbon cognoscenti, there is live music every Tuesday featuring top jazz musos and emerging blues talent.
Don’t miss: The live music- jazz on Tuesdays in Cape Town and a band on Wednesdays in Stellies.
110 Bree Street Cape Town & 90 Dorp Street Stellenbosch / www.hanks.co.za
BETWEEN US on upper Bree Street
Sophistication & style
Between Us is a sophisticated bar, newly opened in a heritage building on upper Bree (opposite The Station) with a focus on boutique South African wineries, artisanal gin and local craft beers. Settle your derrière into one of the custom made Versfeld bar stools and purvey the stylish minimalist interior as you cradle a cocktail, or take a seat on the veranda overlooking the humming street scene below.
Don’t miss: The Bloedlemoen G&T, a house riff with wild rosemary and lemongrass and anything from the shared plates menu.
Address: 176 Bree Street / www.betweenus.capetown
DING DONG in De Waterkant
A Japanese concept bar
Just in time for season, Cheyne Morrisby has opened a new tachinomi called Ding Dong, right next door to another of his other eateries, Shio. A ten seater hole-in-the-wall, it’s a no frills Japanese style bar, serving simply mixed cocktails, Asian beer, local wine and saki. The cold food concept is in play here, with flavourful dishes like swordfish sashimi, tuna tamako and oysters.
Don’t miss: The Ni Cocktail – Musgrave pink gin, smashed raspberries, basil, lime and vanilla syrup, with the chilled edamame and warm miso butter on the side.
Address: Corner Jarvis and Napier Street, De Waterkant / @dingdong_capetown (Instagram)
Enjoy & please NB-don’t drink & drive.
Roxy Late night
Hearty, cheap with regular great specials
Just like when it first opened in 1990, Roxy Late Night is one of the few places you can still pitch up late for a plate. The hearty food, Boho vibe and ongoing specials pull an eclectic crowd, from daytime snackers, to students in survival mode, arty nocturnals and anyone with a commitment to good coffee (R10 cup from 08h to 11h daily), cold beer (R10 a bottle from 16h-18h daily). Very easy on the wallet-what’s not to love?
Don’t miss: The ‘Who’s Your Wingman’ special every Monday which translates to one kilo of chicken wings, all day, for R99.
Address: 14 Wandel Street, Gardens / www.daynightlate.com
Family, fish and frites
Fried fish and tjips, chips, frites or fries, is big business in the Mother City and the most appropriate place to indulge in the Capetonian staple is at the sea side, like Kalky’s, right on the harbour in the quaint fishing village of Kalk Bay. The popular spot, open seven days a week, doesn’t stand on ceremony, preferring to focus on dishing up substantial portions in traditional style at good prices, all key to its ongoing success.
Don’t miss: The family platter with snoek, hake, calamari and bread rolls.
Address: Kalk Bay Harbour /www.facebook.com/kalkys.seafood/
Urban Italian and social dining
Milan-born chef Guido Brambilla has ditched Bermuda for his Bocca cucina on Bree Street. Since taking it over in October, he and his wife Adnana have given the ristorante a striking new look and changed up the offering to include more authentic urban Italian cuisine, including Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzette (16cm pizza), stracciatella, panzarella, salumi and caponata, invitingly served up on share-plates.
Don’t miss: The Foresta pizzette with wild mushrooms, rosemary mascarpone, parmesan shavings and truffle drizzle, with the stracciatella pot on the side.
Corner Wale and Bree Street / www.bocca.co.za
At The Commissary you can expect what chef Wesley Randles of Shortmarket Club fame likes to chow on his off-day. The casual 45-seater eatery with its graffiti-blazoned speakeasy entrance, offers a tight unfussy menu that’s well-priced especially considering who’s in the kitchen and the team behind the venture, namely Wesley, Simon Widdison and co, under the mentorship of Luke Dale Roberts. Think back-to-basics re-loaded, with “big, unapologetic” flavours.
Don’t miss: The Korean fried chicken and Juliet’s cookies, the to-die-for dessert biscuits.
Address: 88 Shortmarket Street / www.theshortmarketclub.co.za
The Lawns at the Roundhouse
Outdoors, great views and family friendly
The Lawns is an outdoor restaurant located on the deck and terraced lawns right beneath the historic Roundhouse property in The Glen in Camps Bay. Tables and couches are positioned under ancient pomegranate trees and umbrellas, conducive to indulgent lazy lunches and picnics (order your own) in a gorgeous setting with the Twelve Apostles mountain as a backdrop and the Atlantic stretched out ahead. It’s open from 08h30 for breakfast with the last orders taken at 22h00, and all menus cater for kids too, turning any outing into a festive family affair.
Don’t miss: The vegetarian avocado and mozzarella salad or, one of the best sellers, the rotisserie chicken with fries on the side.
Address: Roundhouse Road, Camps Bay / 0214384347
Gourmet Junk Food
For eco eaters looking for delicious deviation, Lekker Vegan will sate anyone’s appetite for a burger, nuggets or toasties. They’ve got gourmet junk food down to a fine art, serving up smart, tasty alternatives that are likely to con the most committed carnivores among us.
Don’t miss: the Lekker Beefy Gatsby with vegan versions of beef strips and cheddar cheese, smothered in spicy sauce with crispy chips on the side.
Address: 27 Barrack Street / 105 Kloof Street / www.lekkervegan.co.za