Last Updated: 25 February 2019
The term “sundowner” is one often used in South Africa to describe an alcoholic drink, 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 imbibing; 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 favor and avoid ordering a “sundowner” from any South African bartender. You will receive an eyeroll rather than a beverage.
So 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, access to a bar, a fun vibe.
1. The Lawns at the Roundhouse
You can’t beat the quintessential views of the dramatic 12 Apostles. Book a picnic table on the Rumbullion Lawns for casual pizzas and rosé during the summer. For hundreds of years, the terraces at The Roundhouse have affectionately been dubbed The Rumbullion, which is aptly named after an archaic English term for a riotous good time. The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for groups, families and couples.
Address: Round House Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 438 4347
2. The Bungalow (Clifton)
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 (Camps Bay)
A popular Camps Bay beach spot for the tanned and the ripped, it 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 pumping music.
Address: 37 Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 438 8315
4. Leopard Bar at the 12 Apostles Hotel (Camps Bay)
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 a quintessentially South African sundowner experience.
Address: Victoria Street, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 437 9000
5. The Grand Beach (Granger Bay)
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. 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
6. Chinchilla (Camps Bay)
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
7. Rockpool (Sea Point)
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 (even during load shedding!)
Address: 205 Beach Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town, 8005
Phone: 021 433 1530
8. Radisson Red (V&A Waterfront)
Tucked in the heart of the V&A Waterfront and situation 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. Sip on cocktails and smoothies from the Drinks Van. Chill out with some yoga or just relax with friends.
Address: Silo 6, Silo Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 8001
Phone: 087 086 1578
9. Chapmans Peak Hotel (Hout Bay)
The Chapmans Peak Hotel dates back to the late 19th century and is situated at the foot of the world-famous Chapmans Peak Drive in Hout Bay (about a 30min drive from Cape Town CBD). The restaurant is best known for its fried Calamari, which can be enjoyed 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 (Kalk Bay)
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, you couldn’t help but want to get a little nautical.
Address: Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town, 7990
Phone:021 788 4133