Cape Town Entices at Night
Photo: The Crypt is a great place to listen to live jazz music. © THE CRYPT
IF YOU’RE FORTUNATE to be in Cape Town for the First Thursday Art Walk, you’ll quickly understand how vibrant the city center can be after dark. Church Street bustles as the crowd moves from gallery to gallery, viewing contemporary African art while sipping the local Stellenbosch Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc. A right turn on Bree Street brings you to one of the finest stretches of restaurants in the city. Grab a counter seat at La Parada and stare at the beautiful people as you’re served tasty tapas like grilled chorizo, octopus salad and salt and pepper calamari, best accompanied by a strong mojito.
To appreciate Mother Nature in the Mother City, head to the Sunday summer concerts on the glorious grounds of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the verdant slopes of Table Mountain. Expertly managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the green zone is recognized around the world as a safe haven for rare and threatened species. Throw your blanket down on the velvety grass and get ready to listen to live jazz or classical music as the sun sets over the jagged peaks. There’s no setting more serene in the city.
For an after-dinner cocktail, head to one of the venerable hotels in town. On the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, yachters pull up to the Cape Grace Hotel and head downstairs to the Bascule Bar for a snifter of whiskey. Over on Kloof Street, the circa-1899 Mount Nelson Hotel is still the most welcoming address in town. You can have your martini indoors at the Planet Bar or on the outdoor patio, surrounded by palms and flowers in bloom year-round.
Just around the corner from the Mount Nelson, Asoka is an Asian-inspired bar known for its fresh fruit cocktails and live music. Don’t leave without snapping a photo of your group around the oldest olive tree in Cape Town, continuing to thrive in the courtyard. To listen to live jazz, all the cool cats head to The Crypt, situated under St. George’s Cathedral. This Catholic church is best known as the building where Archbishop Desmond Tutu led his protests against apartheid.
If you feel like shaking it to electronica mixed with an African beat, head to the recently opened Shimmy Beach Club. On the waterfront, the large, open-air dance floor sits right at the edge of the harbor, overlooking a manmade beach and infinity swimming pool. A good place to dance in the gay quarter is Crew Bar, known for its rotating roster of talented DJs. Next door on Napier Street, the Loft Lounge offers the ideal spot to spark up conversation after meeting that special someone.