The term “sundowners” is one often used in South Africa to describe alcoholic drinks, consumed when the sun goes down. While this colloquialism has been used in British English since the 1950s, it has found its real home in Africa as the perfect way to end a day on safari or, if you’re in Cape Town, on or near the beach.
A sundowner can be whatever alcohol you feel like sipping on; whether it’s a cocktail, beer, wine, or refreshing cider, it’s more about the occasion and the people than it is the beverage. That said, please do us all a favour and avoid ordering a “sundowner” from any South African bartender. You will receive an eyeroll rather than a beverage.
When you go for a sundowner in Cape Town, here’s how to do it properly. Our criteria for the 10 best summer sundowner spots in Cape Town are the following: access to seeing the sunset, a beach or ocean view, a well-stocked bar and of course, a great vibe.
1. The Lawns at the Roundhouse
You can’t beat the quintessential views of the dramatic 12 Apostles, especially with a drink in hand surrounded by great company. Book a picnic table at The Lawns for casual pizzas and rosé during the summer complete with a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for groups, families and couples.
Address: Round House Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 438 4347
2. The Bungalow
A see-and-be-seen type of place that attracts locals and chic Europeans alike, this bar and restaurant overlooks Clifton Beach, a perfect place to catch the last rays of the day. Put your feet up on the oversized lounges as you sip on cocktails or book a table and indulge in fresh sushi.
Address: Glen Country Club, 3 Victoria Rd, Clifton, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 438 2018
3. Café Caprice
A popular Camps Bay spot overlooking the beach, Cafe Caprice comes alive just in time for late afternoon sundowners as revelers leave a full day of sunbathing on the adjacent beach and carries on right into the night with vibrant music and an endless flow of carefully crafted cocktails.
Address: 37 Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 438 8315
4. Leopard Bar at the 12 Apostles Hotel
Snag a seat on the terrace of this historic bar where you can sip on smart cocktails as you watch the sunset over panoramic ocean views. Nestled under Table Mountain’s Twelve Apostles, with views extending out to Lion’s Head mountain, the Leopard Lounge offers an unforgettable South African sundowner experience.
Address: Victoria Street, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 437 9000
5. The Grand Beach
The Grand Beach delivers on the name as a true beach bar. Both lounge and dining areas sit right on the sand so you can feel like you’ve had a day at the beach without even leaving the bar making it the ideal spot for sundowners. In the summer, enjoy cocktails from the Peroni and MCC (South African bubbly) bars and listen to tropical house while you watch the sun go down.
Address: Haul Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8002, South Africa
Phone:+27 21 425 0551
For a Camps Bay “sunset strip” experience, Chinchilla is an exclusive rooftop venue and the first of its kind in Camps Bay. Touted as the location for both the discerning diner and the sundowner set, Chinchilla rooftop café & bar is that perfect sundowner spot, with the view being the only distraction from the food, music and vibe.
Address: Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8040
Phone: 021 286 5075
If you want to sip sundowners with the locals, check out Rockpool in Sea Point. This relaxed picnic style atmosphere finds many patrons chatting for hours on end. The unpretentious menu and affordable wine list is what makes this place a year round hotspot.
Address: 205 Beach Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 433 1530
8. Radisson Red
Tucked in the heart of the V&A Waterfront and situated on the top of the Radisson Red Hotel, RED Roof is more than just a hotel bar. Soak up the sunset over Table Mountain, from the pool with sundowners in hand. Sip on cocktails and smoothies from the Drinks Van or just relax with friends and sneak in a dip in the pool during summer.
Address: Silo 6, Silo Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 8001
Phone: 087 086 1578
9. Chapmans Peak Hotel
The Chapmans Peak Hotel dates back to the late 19th century and is situated at the foot of the world-famous Chapman’s Peak Drive in Hout Bay (about a 30-minute drive from Cape Town CBD). The restaurant is best known for its fried calamari, which can be enjoyed with a crisp glass of wine on the large terrace overlooking the beach, Atlantic Ocean and Hout Bay Harbor.
Address: Chapmans Peak Dr, Hout Bay, 7806
Phone: 021 790 1036
10. Harbour House
This Hamptons-style eatery boasts seaside seating with floor to ceiling windows that offer a fantastic view of the sunset in addition to a plethora of passing aquatic life such as dolphins, seals and even migrating whales. Serving seafood along with a substantial array of South African wines, sit back and enjoy the last hours of sunshine as the rays sparkle off of the ocean.
Address: Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town, 7990
Phone: 021 788 4133