Rock. Jazz. Electronic. Hip-Hop. No matter what type of music you like, Cape Town has it all. Whether it’s kicking off your shoes at Kirstenbosch Sunset Concert or getting dressed up at Harvey’s, here are some of the best places to listen to live music in Cape Town.
1. The Dubliner
With live music every night, The Dubliner at Kennedy’s on Long Street is a place you can always find a talented musician playing. Even though most bands that play here are cover bands, you can still enjoy a delicious pub meal while enjoying your favourite tunes.
2. Bascule Bar
If you like whiskey and a good old jazz band then head to Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace Hotel. Situated on a private quay on the V&A Waterfront, this bar hosts a live jazz band every Wednesday night with stunning views of the V&A Waterfront.
3. The Assembly
Since 2007 The Assembly has been entertaining the youth of South Africa with a variety of local and international acts. From Public Enemy and PH Fat, to Fokofpolisiekar and Beatenberg, this venue showcases only the best and brightest musicians and DJ’s from all genres. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to see when your favorite musician is playing.
4. The Piano Bar
This New York-inspired music venue is situated in De Waterkant. Inside The Piano Bar, musicians play the baby grand piano every day while you enjoy your favourite drink. This venue is especially cosy in winter as there is a lovely fireplace. Check out all the talented musicians that play at The Piano Bar here.
5. Zula Sound Bar
Zula Sound Bar has hosted almost all of Cape Town’s most popular bands including Taxi Violence, Tidalwaves, Napalma, HHP, John Robinson (aka Li’l sci), Mac Lethal, Foto Na Dans, 7th Son, The Sleepers, Masta Ace and Isochronous. It also has a few new comers night every Tuesday, with bigger band usually playing on Saturday.
6. Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions
Harvey’s is known for its incredible Sunday Jazz Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, you can enjoy a delicious brunch while browsing the Sunday paper and listening to the music on offer for only R225 per person.
7. Stardust Theatrical Dining
If you want a show with your meal, then head to Stardust Theatrical Dining in Woodstock. Not only does this restaurant have delicious food, but the performers double up as your waiters for the evening.
8. Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser is a jazz club with a pay per set policy — R60 per performance or R100 for two performances. The venue is small, but it brings out some of the best up and coming musicians in the city. Set begins at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
9. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Sunset Concerts
Nestled at the foot of Table Mountain is Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens that plays host to incredible summer sunset concerts. This popular event runs from December to April and features the best local artists including Jeremy Loops, Jimmy Nevis and Jack Parow. In the past, the venue has featured international acts like Bastille and Pablo Nutini. Check out their website for next summer’s performances.
10. Mama Africa
If you want a true African experience, then head to Mama Africa on Long Street. This restaurant and bar makes a good place to go any day of the week to enjoy a live music performance by young local musicians. There are also three marimba bands that play twice a week.
11. Mercury Live & Lounge
One of the oldest live music venues in Cape Town, Mercury Live & Lounge is the place to watch up-and-coming local bands looking to enter the music industry. It was one the most popular venues in East City, and has made the careers of bands like Fokofpolisiekar and The Rudimentals. You can check their Facebook page to see what band is playing when.
On Kloof Street, Asoka is a very popular place to see and be seen. With a jazz night every Tuesday, this bar and cafe is a place to enjoy great music, tapas and amazing cocktails made by Cape Town’s finest mixologists. Shows start at 9 p.m. and the entrance is free.
13. The Crypt Jazz Restaurant
Jazz lovers will appreciate the Crypt Jazz Restaurant in the heart of the city. With a R45 cover charge, you can hear some of Cape Town’s best jazz musicians playing here from Tuesday to Thursday between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
14. Aces ‘n’ Spades
If you’re looking for a bar with a great vibe and some rock n’ roll music then head to Aces ’n’ Spades. This dive bar features various local bands on Saturday nights. For more information, check out their Facebook page.
15. Alexander Bar
One of the newer additions to Cape Town’s live music scene is Alexander Bar. With performances around R100 per person, you are guaranteed to hear some of Cape Town’s most amazing performers. Special nights include live jazz on Tuesdays, new folk-style jams on Wednesdays and a selection of theatrical, comedic and literary acts the rest of the week.