Ten fabulous cocktail bars
Feel like a mojito, a Manhattan or a tequila sunrise? Here's a rundown of some of South Africa's most glamorous bars.
Champagne Bar, 54 on Bath
Funky and fabulous in the evenings, this champagne bar in Rosebank offers eternal glasses of Veuve Cliquot (and great views of Johannesburg). Bar snacks are sumptuous too. Overlooking the hotel’s terrace garden, it’s a great place for pre-dinner drinks or post-dinner partying.
Central One Bar at the Radisson Blue Gautrain Hotel
In sophisticated surrounds of warm woods and gorgeous views, relax with a choice from an extensive drinks menu at the Central One Bar at the Radisson Blue Gautrain Hotel, right in the heart of Sandton. You can opt for a cool vodka cocktail, or a gourmet coffee.
Polo Bar at the Westcliff Hotel
Sitting atop the cliffs of the Westcliff Hotel looking down across a forest of trees onto the Johannesburg Zoo is the Polo Bar, one of the most refined sundowner experiences in Johannesburg. The menu features traditional and contemporary molecular mixology cocktails.
The Island Bar at the Southern Sun Hyde Park
Spilling over onto the pool deck with superb northern suburbs vistas, the Island Bar in Hyde Park is a memorable spot to experience a Highveld sunset. It's a place to relax after some high-end shopping in the adjacent mall, and is central enough to gather with friends at the end of the day.
Many of the classic cocktails are given a contemporary twist – a Manhattan, for example, can be served as a smoked tea-infused Kentucky bourbon with bitters and honey over candy floss.
Moyo uShaka Pier Bar
The Moyo uShaka Pier Bar in Durban perches on the edge of the uShaka pier, just 100m from the Moyo uShaka restaurant, in a glass building with 360˚ views. The structure is enveloped by an outdoor balcony, and bright fabrics, day beds and cane furnishings shout ‘Africa!’. Along with your cocktail, you can choose African-inspired snacks such a mini-Moroccan tangine.
At the Riverside Hotel & Spa up on the banks of the Umgeni River mouth outside Durban’s city centre, the Riverside Café is a most pleasant spot to toast the end of the day. Mojo’s cocktail bar at the adjacent swimming pool presents the opportunity to do so outdoors. It has a good snack menu too.
Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar
Right in the heart of Cape Town’s CBD, the atmospheric Tjing Tjing occupies a 200-year-old attic (renovated, of course). Boasting a cocktail and tapas bar, black and gold furniture, a deep red bar and a wood-fired oven, it is rustic, opulent and Asian all at the same time. Cocktails are seasonal and classic, there’s an extensive wine list, and Jack Black is served on tap.
Vista Bar & Lounge at the One&Only Cape Town
In the lobby of this chic waterfront hotel is the Vista Bar & Lounge, with its floor-to-ceiling wall of glass so guests can marvel at Table Mountain. The drinks menu is inspired by the old spice routes around the Cape of Good Hope. Many of the classic cocktails are given a contemporary twist – a Manhattan, for example, can be served as a smoked tea-infused Kentucky bourbon with bitters and honey over candy floss.
The Bungalow Restaurant & Lounge
'Here barefoot is the new Louboutin as the sun drowns itself in a pink puddle most nights.' This is how the Bungalow Restaurant & Lounge on Cape Town’s trendy Clifton beach describes itself. It's a classy, arty and lavishly decorated restaurant with a large wooden deck making the most of the views. Despite its chandeliers and Versailles-style mirrors, though, the venue claims no pretentiousness.
Sandbar at The Plettenberg
Tasteful and sleek, yet understated with its white marble and leather, light woods and discreet lighting, the Sandbar at The Plettenberg hotel in Plettenberg Bay is a sought-after meeting place. The views over the bay are worth a stop, while the hotel has an excellent wine cellar and the bar features a substantial menu of snacks.
Category: Food & Wine