The biggest party on the Cape Peninsula can be had in the international city of Cape Town, where nightlife of all dispersions is available long into the night. Because of the city's size and its place on the ocean, some of the most intriguing nightlife in South Africa can be had here, especially in a few particular areas.
The most famous and raved about bar scene is on Long Street in the Central Business District, while nearby Kloof Street and Loop Street also have some bustling locations. Despite this being where you'll find your largest number of drunken tourists, you can't avoid the area if you're looking for a high concentration of watering holes, swank clubs, and live music gold mines. Just off of Greenmarket Square, you'll hit the usual lineup of interchangeable bars interspersed with classics like 169 on Long, Zula Sound Bar (the best in local music), The Waiting Room, The Dubliner, and the area's most vibrant nightclub, Fiction. Other popular downtown establishments include The Assembly Nightclub on Harrison Street and the inexpensive brews and laid back atmosphere of The Shack on De Villiers Street and Roxy's Cafe on Wandel Street. Last mention goes to music mecca Mercury Live and Lounge, also on De Villiers, which is your best opportunity to see touring acts.
During the summer it may be best to take whatever money you've got allotted for your trip and follow the locals to the suburb of Camps Bay. A range of sophisticated, upmarket restaurants and cocktail bars provide some of the best ocean views you're going to get anywhere; the let down is that food and drinks come at high expense. If you're one to overlook such a detail, then the majority of joints along Victoria Road and its promenade are worth a look, including St. Yves Beach Club and Sapphire.
Another area that is hot all year round is Green Point and the nearby Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Follow Somerset from the CBD and you'll hit a handful of good establishments prior to it becoming Main Street. Cubana gets packed wall-to-wall, while the lounge vibes of Piano Bar and Chukkachurri are agreeable to most. The vibes on the V and A Waterfront are great, although touristy, with places like Ferryman's Tavern and Mitchell's Brewery leading the way, while great live music can be seen at both Trinity (Latin, Jazz, everything) and Manenberg's Jazz Cafe.
Lastly, Grand West deserves mention. This casino and entertainment complex on Vanguard Drive in the eastern suburbs has nearly everything you need under one roof, including establishments like Jackson Hall and Hanover Street. If you're looking for more information on particular places, peruse our activity pages or even add one if you'd like to contribute to the site. Then again, why not put together an itinerary based on Cape Town's nightlife? Combine it with some fantastic local adventures and you've got an incredible trip.