7 Best Rooftop Bars Around South Africa To Visit This Summer
By Amy Hopkins; photographs by Bernard Bravenboer
Yes, that’s me sipping away this season at one of my fave rooftop spots, Harbour House at the V&A Waterfront.
Being summer and silly season – naturally everyone’ thirsty and, like puppies, we want to go out! Soak in the sun! Forget about the endless hours behind our computer screens and soak in some vitamin D and W (yes, that’s wine), for real! So the WH gals asked me to write up my fave rooftop bars to head to this summer. So here are my faves:
The New Camps Bay Hot Spot (Cape Town)
Each year we (locals and tourists alike) wait for a new Camps Bay offering that’ll be the it-spot for sea-view summer sun downers. And Chinchilla (see above) is that place. It’s expansive, it’s on the top floor of the Camps Bay Promenade and it has a great wine list and snack menu.
Book for: Late afternoon cocktails with live DJ sets from Friday-Sunday. In typical Cape Town style, you’ll fit in whether you’re dressy, eating oysters and sipping bubbly or post-beach chic snacking thyme sea-salt fries and Kove Collection Sauvignon Blanc. The point is, you’ll want to be here. With all your friends. Just do it.
The Inner-City Secret (Cape Town)
It’s surprising how many Cape Townians don’t know about this place. And (refreshingly), the vibe at The Vue has something very Joburg about it. It also offers 360 views of the mountain, city, ocean, harbour – you name it. There’s inside and outside seating and a pool – although I’ve never seen anyone swim. It’s a bit tricky to find, which might explain the unknown factor. To access the bar, you need to go through the reception of The Mirage building in De Waterkant. One of the two lifts will have a button saying The Vue, which will take you right up to the 15th floor.
Book for: 6pm Sundowner drinks and snacks before heading to the club. Although, you might not move on. But, between the best olives, great wine list and hot tunes, you may well never leave. Unlike most Cape Town spots, there is a bit of a dress code. No plakkies! Also, it’s worth booking one of the couch sections for a big group. And expect a lot of selfies and social-media.
The Urban Jungle Jam (Joburg)
The Living Room in Joburg’s Maboneng district is a bit like an eco-yogi warrior made a baby with a city-slick DJ and created a harmonius, yet vibing hot-spot in the centre of town.
Book for: a boozy Sunday afternoon with plenty of dancing around 5pm after sipping your fourth Minty Magic Unicorn (A So-Co based cocktail). They also have Montpellier bubbly, which is from a tiny farm in the forgotten winelands of Tulbagh. And it’s good. So that impresses me no end. Or have a macadamia nut and banana smoothie. Good journey (insert praying hands here).
The Sophisticated Sun Deck (Joburg)
Yes, no rooftop round-up would be complete without the Sandton Sun’s San Deck. Like the city it’s in, it’s big, glitzy, a scene to be seen. And a great wine list.
Book for: sunset drinks with a hot date. This is a fab pre-dinner drinks spot to experience big sky sunsets while snuggling on a couch.
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The Rooftop Nightclub (Cape Town)
Previously Club 31 and Hemisphere, the 31st floor of the ABSA centre has undergone a R10-million refurbishment and you can expect a swanky lounge, chandeliers and a total party atmosphere at Cocoon. The draw-card? 360-degree city views while you dance the night away.
Book for: a Saturday night out partying. Or, on a very different note, book a ticket to First Thursday movie nights, but bring your dancing shoes as the ticket includes entry to the Thursday after-party.
The Posh Date Night (Umhlanga)
Imagine feeling that balmy KZN breeze while you look out over the ocean from The Lighthouse Bar at Oyster Box Hotel. This is date-night magic.
Book for: Cocktails and the view before heading to The Grill Room for dinner. Have the signature Umhlanga Schling cocktail using the local sugar cane spirit. However, don’t go on big-match nights as it’s also a popular sports bar. There’s also live music Wednesday to Friday.
The Panoramic Party Spot (Durban)
Roma Skyy, marketed as the highest cocktail bar in Durban. The real draw-card? The 360-degree views of the city and ocean.
Book for: A glitzy night out with friends. It’s all about the cocktails – and cigars, if you’re into that. Use it as a pre-dinner sun-downer spot before heading to Roma Revolving for dinner as retro as our fashion – think Avo Ritz and Duck a la orange.