While exploring the Winelands might be the ultimate way to experience the Cape’s continually burgeoning wine culture (and trust us, we’re always on hand to curate a memorable experience for you), sometimes you might not have time to go out and explore. So let the Winelands come to you! We’ve rounded up the top wine bars in Cape Town and surrounds that have an excellent representation of cellars, are brimming with good vibes and will serve you wine in a proper glass, thank you very much.
Since 2015, Publik Wine Bar has set the standard for an intimate space, accompanied by simple (and delicious) food and wine from lesser-known producers. The brainchild of wine aficionado David Cope, Publik has grown from a wine bar into a national distribution business dedicated to artisanal South African wines. In 2019, Publik opened their second brand in Bolton Road, Johannesburg, which has had locals frequenting it in hunt of their next unusual variety. This is a definite must on our top wine bars in Cape Town!
Cape Town: 11D Kloofnek Road, Tamboerskloof
Mon – Fri: 4pm – 11pm, Sat: 3pm – 8pm
Johannesburg: 2 Bolton Road, Rosebank
Mon – Sat: 4pm – 11pm
Located in the heart of the City Bowl, Open Wine is described as a ‘Taste Pair Shop’. Opening its doors in 2016, Italian owners Raphael Paterniti and Marta Gobbo’s goal was to introduce Capetonians to a new way of experiencing the South African world of wine. The welcoming space has something for everyone as it is divided into three main sections: the bar, for those looking for an after-work drink or tasting, the lounge, where you can enjoy freshly-prepared and conscientiously paired food, and the cellar, where you can purchase any bottles that may strike your fancy. In truth, it’s a one-stop shop, and interestingly a concept like this didn’t really exist before in the City Bowl.
72 Wale St, Cape Town City Centre
Open Mon – Fri: 12pm – 10pm, Sat: 5pm – 12pm
Newly opened in late 2018, Froggit and Vonkel completes the inner city trifecta of wine bars. As a business, Froggit and Vonkel (based in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch) is best known as a private wine merchant. Yet, their new bar on Bree Street brings an exciting extension in the form of a specialist bar, ideal for after-work drinks or date night. With over 30 local and international wines on their wine list, the fun bit here is that everything is available by the glass or the bottle. The best part is that once you’ve enjoyed a glass (or two, who’s counting?), you can meander across to the high-end bistro titled Grub & Vine next door. Here, chef Matt Manning prepares a curated menu of French fare and meticulously paired wines.
103 Bree Street, Cape Town City Centre
Open Tues – Sat: 12pm – 12am, Sun: 12pm – 6pm. Closed on Mondays.
Wine bar culture has certainly extended beyond the breadth of the City Bowl in recent years. If you’re in the Winelands with limited time to explore the vineyards, here are a couple of local wine watering holes that deliver on service and sommeliers:
Fun fact! This is South Africa’s first crowd-funded wine bar. Yes, you read that right. Co-owners Dan Crowe and Wayne Mongie had a dream of bringing the diversity of the local wine estates into the heart of Somerset West, injecting life (and wine) into the after-hours of the Winelands town. The Thundafund campaign ran for six weeks and reached their target thanks to backing from a private financial investor at the eleventh hour. Today, Proof operates as an intimate wine and craft beer bar, offering unusual varieties, cocktails and tasty tapas.
7 Drama Street, Somerset West
Open Mon – Sat: 3pm – 11pm
Okay, so while this isn’t your classic wine bar that showcases a variety of different producers, it’s still an intimate, welcoming space that offers small-lot wines in the very heart of Stellenbosch. Owned by Bartinney Wines, the cosy interior is always buzzing, offering seasonal nibbles and sharing plates, and of course the full range from Bartinney Wine Estate. Come for the wine, stay for the ambience.
5 Bird Street, Stellenbosch
Open Mon – Sat: 11.30-9pm
Located right next door to Bartinney Wine & Champagne Bar (and by virtue of the same owners) is Montegray & Independents. The name comes from two elements – Montegray is the single vineyard wine range offering from the creative winemakers at Bartinney, while Independents refers to a selection of winemakers whose wines are available for tasting in the bar on a rotating basis. The curated space is the brainchild of powerhouse couple Rose and Michael Jordaan, and is tastefully decorated. A definite ‘Instagram-worthy’ destination.
6 Bird Street, Stellenbosch
Open Mon – Sat: 11.30am – 9pm
While wine bars are part and parcel of international culture, it is still a young phenomenon picking up steam across the Cape. This said, there are some true gems to frequent, so feel free to ask one of our experts to add these top wine bars in Cape Town (and the Winelands) to your tour itineraries on your next trip.