I’ll never forget my first night in Cape Town as a tourist: We landed on a Saturday night, dropped our bags off at our hotel, and were almost immediately picked up by friends who took us straight to Long Street to check out the Cape Town nightlife. Long Street is the heart of the city’s nocturnal happenings, filled with rowdy taverns, grungy rock halls, and glamorous lounges. It’s crowded with revelers of all stripes late into the night. Ever since I moved here, I’ve learned that options abound for every kind of night owl, from low-key pubs to bumping dance clubs. And while Long Street remains ground zero, you’ll find plenty of trendy spots throughout the city—the posh, South Beach-esque stretch of Camps Bay, in particular, is where the more glamorous Capetownites set parties. If you’re looking to dance to the frenetic beats set by the city’s best DJs, here are my picks for five of Cape Town’s top clubs.
The Dragon Room
Follow the swift-moving line on Harrington Street to find this cavernous club, complete with two dance floors, four bars, and a cushy VIP space. The Dragon Room plays host to a rotating roster of international and local DJ, and the decor is moody and sumptuous: think behemoth chandeliers, plush velvet banquettes, and a massive Alexander McQueen skull presiding over the dance floor.
From this sky-high perch on the 31st floor of a financial district skyscraper, clubbers can enjoy glittering 360-degree vistas of the city: and if you can tear your eyes away from the view, there's plenty to delight you inside as well. Sample Molton Brown products in the opulent bathrooms and sip inventive cocktails, such as the popular Lady Hemisphere (Midori, banana liqueur, Malibu, and pineapple).
This sexy new club quickly catapulted itself to the top of stylish Capetonians' partying destinations thanks to its slick Baroque decor, sultry dancers, and exclusive events (this is where the model set decamps after Cape Town Fashion Week). Take note: Coco, the masterpiece of nightlife veterans Shaun Duvet, Stephane Cohen, and Sameer Wadhwa, enforces a strictly glamorous dress code.
Camps Bay always reminds me of Miami: a picture-perfect beachfront promenade filled with chic restaurants and glamorous people. It's also a go-to nightlife destination for the city's A-listers, and Café Caprice has long established itself as a Cape Town institution. Swing by for a cocktail at sunset, and you might find yourself dancing away into the wee hours, rubbing shoulders with the occasional celebrity.
A new addition to the Camps Bay scene, Le Roi lives up to its regal name with funky, Tretchikoff-inspired interiors fit for a king: think marble bar tops and metallic ottomans. Share sushi platters and charcuterie plates, or one of the gourmet oven-roasted pizzas (tomato with Hungarian salami; onion marmalade with prosciutto) while sipping classic French champagne and watching the sun set over the Atlantic.