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Where the party at in South Africa

Published September 16th, 2013

South Africa might not be known as a place you go to party, but it should be. As Africa’s most modern country, SA has long boasted a modern nightlife scene with an increasing amount of cooler-than-cool hangout spots, craft beers and beard-wearing bartenders.

 

 

As a tourist though, many of these places are often overshadowed by safari adventures and beach-time hangs, so by the time you want to enjoy a post-safari beer, you’re left to scour the city’s bars and restaurants blindly. But not anymore. If you’re planning on heading off for an African adventure take note of the following hotspots.

 

For wooden walls and rock music: Aces ‘N’ Spades in Cape Town

With brown leather booths  and wooden walls covered in classic black and white pictures of Bob Dylan and the Ramones, Aces ‘N’ Spades could easily be the latest hangout in New York, only it’s in Cape Town. In addition to its vintage under-ground NYC vibe, the popular hangout’s main drawcard is its pure love of rock’n roll. Each night puts on a different variation of rock from Rockabilly and 50s swing on Thursdays to plain old rock music on Saturdays. Expect a lot of Julian Casablancas wannabes look-a-likes.

 

For bar hopping by the beach: Marine Parade in Durban

While most tourists head to the pulsating clubs of Florida Road, in our eyes Marine Parade puts on a better party for travellers with its beachside bars and themed restaurants. After a couple of afternoon beverages by the sand, take a Rijsha Ride along the foreshore. This very touristy-but-oh-so-fun ride involves a man dressed in a beaded costume and horned headdress pulling along a rainbow-coloured two-seater rickshaw. An ideal tipsy activity.

 

For a traditional live music gig: Bassline in Johannesburg

If you’re keen to experience live Afrikaan music over some cheap beers, then Bassline is your bag. Since 1994 this small bohemian music venue has given a space to some of South Africa’s rising music acts, showcasing a range of sounds from African jazz right through to Afro-beat. Pretty much anyone who is anyone in the music scene here has played a gig at Bassline, making it the best place in the country to catch a gig.

 

For a music festival Afrikaan style: Park Acoustics in Pretoria

Ok so it’s not actually a music festival but more of a monthly outdoor concert. Still, who would have thought Pretoria had it in her? Taking place on the last Sunday of each month, Park Acoustics features performances by local musical talents along with bars, food stalls, markets and even an art gallery – pretty much everything you need to enjoy a leisurely Sunday.

 

For hangover hipster points: The Handle Bar in Cape Town

A bicycle bar with a love for facial hair AND an Instagram account – pretty sure that’s a bronze, silver and gold medal in the hipster Olympics. Coolness aside, this little establishment is a great place to park your fixie and enjoy a morning-after espresso and toasted ciabatta. Breakfast Instagram shots encouraged.

 

Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.