Cape Town may be a lot smaller than other cities in South Africa, like Johannesburg, but when it comes to gay clubs and gay bars, Cape Town is a winner!
You might immediately Google ‘Best Gay Bars in Cape Town’ when you arrive, but what you should also know is that Cape Town as a whole is very gay friendly – something which we found very true during Cape Town Pride.
This means that a lot of bars that aren’t ‘officially gay bars’ in Cape Town will still have a very mixed and diverse crowd. This is especially true if you head to the touristy bars on Long Street.
That being said, when it comes to gay clubs and gay bars in Cape Town, you will be pleased to know that there is a good selection of options! Take a look at our up to date list below and let us know where you end up!
Gay Bars in Cape Town
If you are looking for the gay area in Cape Town, the majority of the gay scene is focused around the De Waterkant area. We’ve included addresses for each bar so you can see which fall into this area and which are a little more further afield:
Café Manhattan Cape Town
Café Manhattan is one of the oldest gay bars in Cape Town. It has a little bit of a cowboy theme and a chilled atmosphere during the week.
Whether you are there for food, drinks or just to hang out this place attracts both tourists and locals. This is a good place to start your evening before moving on to a late night venue. We came here after hiking Table Mountain and devoured one of their burgers with halloumi and avocado – it was really good!
You can also come along for Happy Hour every day between 4pm – 6pm and again from 9pm until 11pm. This applies to selected drinks, just ask your server.
Café Manhattan is based in the heart of de Waterkant village and is open daily until 11pm.
Address: 74 De Waterkant, Cape Town
Pink Candy Night Club Cape Town
Next in our list of gay bars in Cape Town is The Pink Candy Night Club (previously Pink Panther gay club or Pink Panther Social Club).
This is one of Cape Towns most popular gay clubs / lounge which attracts a mixed and slightly younger crowd.
If you want to live it up a little, order some champagne in the lounge to get your night started. Here you have the option of hiring a VIP booth for the evening and enjoying table service!
Address: 120 Strand St, De Waterkant, Cape Town, 8001
Zero21 Cape Town
Zero21 is a gay social club found about 15 minutes from Long Street and a little bit away from the tourist area so Ubers are for the best.
This is known for its drag shows, karaoke nights and is one of the cheapest places we have had drinks, with a large glass of wine costing just over $2, and a double spirit and mixer just over $4. Zero21 has a mixed crowd of locals and the odd tourist.
When we visited the music was mainly a lot of old school RnB, which the locals seem to really enjoy.
Address: 46 Canterbury St, Zonnebloem, Cape Town, 7925
Stargayzer Gay Club
Stargayzer is a local gay bar away from the tourist centre. It runs themed events, karaoke nights and DJ nights with their massive dancefloor!
The club opens on Thursdays from 8pm – 1am and on the weekends from 9pm until 4am.
Address: 12 Caxton St, Parow, Cape Town
Amsterdam Action Bar Cape Town (closed)
This was a gay bar but has been permanently closed!
Crew Bar Cape Town (Closed)
Crew Bar was one of the most popular gay bars in Cape Town but has now closed.
Address: 30 Napier St, De Waterkant, Cape Town, 8001
Gay Friendly Bars in Cape Town
When we say gay(ish) – these bars are not officially gay bars, but we would say that they are more than just gay friendly and so definitely worth checking out:
Beefcakes Cape Town
This is not a gay bar as such, but it is definitely worth a visit. Beefcakes is the place for burgers, drag shows and wait staff that look like Abercrombie and Fitch models.
The drag show is actually quite hilarious and the food reasonable at 79ZAR for a burger. If you are really there for a fun night you can take a body shot from one of the waiters – I have to say we were very tempted.
For all of the above reasons, this is very popular now with a lot of hen parties that go here looking for their own beefcakes! Make sure to check availability and book online before you go.
Address: Sovereign Quay, 36 Somerset Rd, Greenpoint, Cape Town, 8052
The 41 Cape Town
Again, not an exclusively gay bar, however this gay owned bar and restaurant in Cape Town proudly underlines its logo with the rainbow flag. It is not a place to dance, however when they occasionally have events they will move some tables to create a small dancefloor.
The food here is really good, we had some very tasty springbok, the drinks are reasonably priced and it’s the perfect place to sit and watch the sun set in Camps Bay. It was a bonus for us that while we were there for food they played Ariana Grande and Little Mix!
Address: 41 Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8040
Gate 69, Prison Bar, Beaulah Bar
All were popular gay friendly places and have now all permanently closed (may appear in other guides).
Crust is a small gay owned cafe found at the end of Long Street. Outside of its normal hours it runs a very fun quiz night hosted by local drag queens! You can head there from 6pm for food and then the quiz usually starts at 7:30pm.
We really enjoyed it and it was a good way to socialise rather than just going to another bar.
The event is only once a month and to find out when, type in quiz at Crust into Facebook.
Village Drinks at the Radisson Red
This is a monthly event held for LGBTQ+ professionals living or visiting the area. Check out ‘Village Drinks’ on Facebook to see when their next event is.
So there you have it. Before coming to South Africa and specifically Cape Town we had no idea what the gay scene would be like or if there would be one at all. Make sure that you check out these gay bars in Cape Town but don’t forget, many other bars will also be very welcoming! Have fun!
Gay Cruising Bars in Cape Town
If you are looking for gay cruising bars in Cape Town, check out the below (noting a couple of now closed but may appear in other guides).
Shaft Cruise Zone
Currently the only gay cruising bar in Cape Town.
Shaft Cruise Zone has a well stocked bar, steam room, movie room, mazes, private rooms etc.
When you arrive you will be checked in and given a tag for the bar and a locker to store your stuff. When you are done having a good time, you will be billed for for drinks and entry fee when you checkout.
Address: 299 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town
Versatile Cape Town (CLOSED)
This was a gay cruising bar in Cape Town but is now permanently closed.
Address: 18 Cobern St, De Waterkant, Cape Town, 8001
Hot House (CLOSED)
This was a gay cruising bar and sauna in Cape Town, however it has now permanently closed.
Address: 18 Jarvis Street, De WaterKant, Cape Town, South Africa.
For more about Cape Town check out:
- The Complete Gay Guide to Cape Town
- A Guide to Cape Town Gay Pride
- How to hike Table Mountain the ‘easy’ way
- Cape Town Safety Tips!
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