In Summer or Winter, going to a pub for a few drinks and a hearty meal is a great way to socialise and enjoy being out and about. Whether you choose an old pub with lots of character and charm, or a modern one with great views and stylish décor, there is something about a pub that will never go out of fashion. Cape Town has a mixture of the two and we have found great pub and grub spots in Cape Town where you will find the old pubs that are still offering great meals at excellent prices. By the seaside, you may pay a bit extra for the view, and elegant cuisine, but it is worth a few extra rand just for the experience. The suggestions made below are a combination of these two experiences so you can choose which one you feel like depending on your mood.
1. Perseverance Tavern, 83 Buitenkant Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Locally dubbed as ‘Percy’s’ it is said that they first received their official liquor license in 1808 (that’s over 200 years ago!). Servicing the travellers who arrived on ships at Cape Town’s Castle, they stayed at the Perseverance Tavern in Slave’s Walk (now Buitenkant Street) and enjoyed a few pints in the Tavern. Evidently some of the ‘regulars’ included Cecil John Rhodes, politicians, academics, artists, business people and esoteric District 6 dwellers. Quite an eclectic mix of personalities!
Today, Ian Sutcliffe from Yorkshire has tastefully restored Percy’s encompassing both the tavern’s history and the old world charm. When you walk in there today you will find quite a few young clientele enjoying a few pints after work or college.
In 1985 it won the first ‘Pub of the Year award’ competing with 170 other Cape entrants.
Serving anything from toasted sandwiches to hearty pub meals like Bangers and mash, Kassler Chops and Prego Steak Rolls, there is something for everyone. This venue is a very popular meeting place for sport’s lovers with big screen TVs to entertain the locals. Website
2. The Fireman’s Arms, Cnr. Buitengracht & Mechau Street, Cape Town
This charming pub was established in 1864, and is one of the most well-loved and oldest pubs in Cape Town. Excellent beers are on tap and fine wines from Cape Town’s vineyards are provided for your refreshment. The owners have renovated and made improvements over the years, but have still kept the original building and ambiance.
Sport’s enthusiasts can enjoy great viewing in full high definition on all 9 46″ flat screen panels, as well as 2 big screen TVs. On the menu you can find Focaccias, Soups, Salads, Pies, Curries and Seafood. So head on out day or night and enjoy some great comfort food and a vibey atmosphere. Website
3. Pirates Steakhouse and Pub, 160 Main Road, Plumstead
On October the 2nd 1990 Greg and Mike Huckle (brothers) opened Pirates. Their motto was ‘A HAPPY CUSTOMER ALWAYS COMES BACK’. Pirates is now an institution all on its own. Famously known for its live music and late night partying, you may find yourself there from 12h00 to 24h00 and wonder where the time went! Popular with the young and the old, they provide excellent food at reasonable prices and a full bar with loads of different beers on tap. The kitchen is open 24/7, so you can eat, drink and eat again to your heart’s content!
They offer all your favourite pub grub from steaks with the tastiest basting sauces, ribs, chicken and beef combos, a superb variety of reasonably-priced burgers and a few decadent desserts.
Pirates is definitely worth a visit, especially in the evenings where you can enjoy live music and maybe a dance or two! Website
4. Quay Four, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Are you looking for a vibey pub right by the ocean, then Quay Four is the tavern to visit. Set right on the harbour, you overlook the swaying yachts and may catch a seal or two playing in the water. Perfect for indoor or outdoor weather, with a cozy fireplace and couches to lounge on. They are well established, being one of the first pubs to open at the Waterfront. Their service, food and décor has adapted perfectly with the times.
They serve light, fresh salads and freshly caught seafood, not to mention their excellent steaks and burgers. Besides the perfect setting and a variety of beers on tap, they provide live music 365 days a year, keeping your toes tapping while you satisfy your appetites.
Definitely one of the best pubs/taverns in Cape Town, and while you are there you can visit the many shops, craft, markets and other great attractions at the Waterfront.
5. The Grand Daddy Hotel Sky Bar
And now for something completely different – a bar on a roof where you can have a few drinks and then safely crash in one of the vintage Airstream trailers! Expect the unexpected with live music and warm blankets to keep the chill off, as you enjoy the fresh air and sky top views. It is very trendy with a cosmopolitan clientele, so dress to impress!
Two more things you need to know: if it is raining, give this venue a miss. Go early to see the sunset and enjoy a few cocktails before the bar closes at 20h30. You are right in the city centre so if you want to stay out longer, there are a multitude of bars and clubs to choose from that are all within walking distance. Website