While the sun’s still out and the city’s a little hot and humid, it’s always refreshing to escape to a vibey rooftop bar or restaurant with killer views. To give the warmer weather a decent send-off, we’ve rounded up the best rooftop bars in Joburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. Sip on cocktails, craft beer or chilled bubbly and watch the sun set over your city.
Copper Bar (Bryanston)
Known for its weekly bar evenings, Copper Bar is the perfect place to go for a Thursday night out with friends, when the venue is open to the public. Set on the third floor of Corner Main Office Park, it will offer you and your company spectacular views of the ever-buzzing Main Road and beyond. With sumptuous drinks as well as stir fry and sushi on offer, it’s a meeting of Oriental food and vintage charm with rustic décor.
Gin Fushin (Kramerville)
In recent years, we’ve seen the traditional restaurant model being challenged by new start-ups experimenting with pop-ups, food trucks and even pre-made meals brought into the home. In spirit with this zeitgeist in SA’s culinary world, Fushin’s monthly pop-up bar atop the Levelthree venue is for those who are serious about their tequila, vodka or gin. Add heart-stopping views of Sandton and you’ve got a winning formula.
The Island Bar (Hyde Park)
A pool deck overlooking green Johannesburg north, an exhaustive sushi menu, an exciting variety of cocktails and exclusive wine from the Nederburg and Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild auctions – all this is Southern Sun Hyde Park’s pull for those seeking a lavish timeout. The Island Bar is a perfect way to signal the end of a long week with a bit of Friday festivity enjoyed with striking Joburg views.
Katy’s Palace Bar (Sandton)
Playfully ornate and opulent, this rooftop venue draws its appealing décor aesthetic from Indian royalty. The charming details like vintage framed photos and bicycles on the wall make this an enchanting place to celebrate the middle of the week. The Wednesday bar evenings have acquired legendary status – almost as epic as Sir James van der Merwe himself.
Living Room (Maboneng)
What do you get when you combine a commitment to urban revitalisation, beautiful botany, a simple yet charming menu, eco-consciousness, and an inner city address from whose lofty heights the Joburg cityscape can be enjoyed unimpeded? This kick-ass bar and café. Set in Maboneng, Living Room is for the cool kids, the woke kids, the eco-warriors, hipsters and everyone else in between who wants to experience true Joburg. Book a large table on Pop-Up Strictly Vinyl Saturday, order all the tapas on the menu and some signature cocktails, then proceed to enjoy neo-Joburg.
San Deck (Sandton)
Sandton Sun hotel’s San Deck isn’t shy about proclaiming itself to be the ideal place to experience an unforgettable African sunset. Located in Africa’s richest square mile on the roof of the lavish Tsogo Sun hotel and serving sumptuous food and some of the finest wine in South Africa – bought from pre-eminent auctions – San Deck is an ideal date-night venue. It’s luxe Africa in and out of season, with fire pits to keep patrons warm in winter as they chill on couches while enjoying the view.
Wine Not? (Kramerville)
Wine Not? is another popular monthly pop-up bar, but it caters specifically for the wine lovers among us. Also located at the swish Levelthree rooftop venue, the event promises revellers a good selection of wine, food and live entertainment all while enjoying the Sandton skyline.
Some things never get old; they simply just become finer with age. All the clichés apply when it comes to View at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff. A restaurant of legendary beauty, where the indoors and outdoors fuse seamlessly, and a venue of formidable repute, it’s a singular rooftop dining experience. The sunset terrace can seat a considerable number of people, while the swish indoor dining area allows you to gaze at the setting Joburg sun as you enjoy the seasonal cuisine, prepared by prodigiously skilled chef Dirk Geiselmann and his team, along with one – or several – glasses of the 120 superb wines selected by the sommelier.
Brasserie de Paris (Waterkloof)
Arguably the most fun bar in Pretoria is in fact not on top, but underneath. The cave at Brasserie, previously the boiler room of this Karl Jooste-designed house, is a wonderful underground space for parties. However, the magnificent multi-functional rooftop area at Brasserie is the main drawcard for gatherings under the stars. The rooftop has a beautiful 360-degree view over Waterkloof and has been transformed in many ways over the years, from a Bedouin tent with Persian carpets to an outside wine-tasting venue. Here they serve classic cocktails and drinks, but also an eclectic array of drinks such as Cluver & Jack apple cider, Inverroche gin, Wilderer grappa and Compass Box Hedonism blended grain whiskey, to name a few. The à la carte menu offers the same level of passion and commitment, and you can dine on delights such as beef fillet with cauliflower-and-truffle purée, wild mushrooms, potato crisps and asparagus, and finish with an île flottante (floating island) of meringue, crème anglaise, lemon curd, lemon gelée and hazelnut brittle.
De Kloof (Waterkloof)
Another rooftop with a spectacular view out towards the west for sunsets can be found at De Kloof. The bar offers a number of serious cocktails, such as a White Russian or Rusty Nail. For something uniquely South African, try the P&T, which is a double shot of Overgaauw Vintage 2003 port with tonic, a refreshing and elegant way to watch the remains of the day slip by. Also try the recently introduced all-you-can-drink Rietvallei bubbly offering (R195) to see you through the night. Fabulous food and wine events are hosted here, such as the gourmet picnic and Easter egg hunt on Sunday 16 April (R225) and the prosecco and seafood dinner (R550) on Wednesday 26 April.
Forti Grill and Bar (Menlyn)
Even though this bar will only be fully functional from the end of March, Forti Mazzone’s latest venture is already attracting huge interest. Located on the rooftop of the keenly anticipated casino at Menlyn Maine, the bar will boast a solid amethyst body topped with natural oak, where cocktails from the Naughty Forti’s cocktail list will be dispensed, and a beautiful glass-enclosed wine cellar that will display a range of high-end wines. The outside area promises a gorgeous view of Pretoria East. During the opening weeks, guests will receive a basket of in-house baked bread and an Aperol Spritz cocktail on the house. Sommelier Georgio Meletiou is the man in charge of beverages, and he is already wondering who the first guest will be to order the Remy Martin Louis Tres XIII Black edition at R50 000 a tot. The rest of us can still enjoy the view and try dishes such as buffalo mozzarella with seared spinach, black truffle, roasted garlic and anchovy, or a whole sole with herbed butter sauce, seared fennel, creamy parmesan rice and ratatouille.
This is one of the spots in Pretoria where familiar faces are bound to pop up. The view from the large veranda shows some of the most lush, verdant and desirable real estate in Pretoria. Internationally certified sommelier Marko Jovancic, a finalist in the 2017 SA Mixologist of the Year competition, creates magic with a range of signature cocktails scented with flavoured smoke and unique botanical ingredients, such as the Single Millionaire $$$ made tableside from Singleton 12-year-old, Talisker 10-year-old, Grand Marnier and raspberry syrup. There’s a large range of single malt whiskies and spirits, an extensive award-winning wine list, and, if you’re a VIP member of the gastro-lounge, you can purchase your own humidified private locker to store your cigars and your own bottle stock of very fine spirits.
Renette Vosloo of Rooitamatie guest house and supper club is hosting a pop-up on the 6th floor rooftop of one of the medical buildings on Francis Baard Street at the beginning of April. Guests will not only have a 360-degree view of Pretoria over the Union Buildings, the Telkom Tower, Unisa and the rest of downtown, but can savour it along with Musgrave rose-flavoured pink gin or Inverroche Amber gin and the sounds of light jazz by piano/guitar artist Elrine Louise. At R620 per person, the event will follow an April fool theme, juxtaposing playful sweet and savoury items.
Lighthouse Bar (Umhlanga Rocks)
Overlooking Umhlanga beach and the iconic red-and-white lighthouse, this bar offers a sophisticated and elegant sundowner experience with 180-degree views. Dark wood, leather detailing, and a crimson-and-gold colour theme add touches of opulence to the seaside venue. Enjoy classy snacks such as charcuterie or oysters while you sip on wines by the glass, beer and delicious cocktails. There are also live music evenings and large plasma screens for big sport matches.
CASA Restaurant & Cabana at The Ritz (Sea Point)
This poolside restaurant will boast a deck with stunning Atlantic Seaboard views when it opens in mid-April. Expect bubbly brunches, bottomless frosé (frozen rosé) cocktails and resort-style food at The Ritz’s new spot.
The Deck Rooftop Bar (Green Point)
Loungers, a pool and a well-stocked bar are what keep locals and tourists happy at this deck-style bar. Head here for sunny drinks or enjoy a night out with friends. The venue is also available for private functions.
Harald’s Bar and Terrace (City Bowl)
11 storeys up, perched atop Park Inn by Radisson, this bar has a front-row views of Table Mountain. The light, breezy terrace is the ultimate spot to watch the sky turn purple as the lights of the city start to twinkle. On the food front, the menu boasts pub grub like potato skins, nachos, pizzas, baskets and wraps. There are also great party platters that are perfect to share and pair with cocktails.
Rick’s Café Americain (Gardens)
The chilled-out atmosphere at this buzzing bar is perfect for warmer weather. The deck-like rooftop space is not as high as others in the city, but has ample shade and a great vibe. Feast on the tapas selection and choose from the five-page drinks menu to quench your thirst. There is also a cocktail special that runs from 3pm to 7pm daily.
The Silo Rooftop (V&A Waterfront)
This modern space on the rooftop of the newly refurbished Silo Hotel at The V&A Waterfront boasts 360-degree views of the Mother City. Fill up on charcoal-fired dishes, salads or something from the trendy tempura bar while you sip on your choice of drink next to the pool or relax on one of the sunbeds and watch the sky change colour.
Sky Bar at Grand Daddy Hotel (City Bowl)
Situated near the bottom of busy Long Street, The Grand Daddy Hotel’s rooftop airstream trailer park has a stylish bar that’s ideal for alfresco wining and dining. There’s a tapas menu from downstairs restaurant, Thirty Ate, which is perfect for a light bite. The cocktail menu has signature drinks such as the Trailer Park Happiness, served moonshine style with premium gin and Cruz vodka, raspberry and lemon juice, and lemonade. There are also classic cocktail options, beers and wine.
Sky Bar at Village Lodge (De Waterkant)
On top of SHIO, the city’s new modern Japanese tapas bar just behind the Cape Quarter, is a little deck haven in the form of the Sky Bar. You’re invited to take a dip in the crystal-clear pool and enjoy cocktails while enjoying the stunning views of Table Mountain.
Tjing Tjing (City Bowl)
Part rooftop bar and part cosy attic, Tjing Tjing is situated in the heart of the Mother City CBD. The restored two-centuries-old heritage building specialises in interesting cocktails, a great wine list, and a variety of craft beers and draughts. For the foodies, there’s an Asian-infused tapas menu, too. Look out for the free wine tastings.
The Vue Sky Bar Lounge (De Waterkant)
With sprawling 360-degree sights over the city, this venue is ideal for cocktails with a view. There’s a pool for warmer days, while the glass-encased bar protects guests from cool winds. If you work up a hunger while lounging by the blue water, enjoy some tapas, light meals, and hearty mains to pair with your favourite tipple.
The Waiting Room (City Bowl)
With views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, and the Long Street strip below, it’s no wonder that this rooftop bar is always buzzing. There’s no food on offer here, but Royale Eatery below is ready to fuel up partygoers with its famous burgers. Order local craft beers and spirits from the bar and catch live music most nights of the week. Check out the Facebook page for details of upcoming shows and bands performing.
Yours Truly (Gardens)
Yours Truly’s rooftop section, Up Yours, offers a great social scene where you can quaff your favourite beer and enjoy the beautiful sunsets. The rooftop bar doesn’t take bookings, so get there early to grab your spot for a lingering post-work sundowner or lazy weekend drinks.
Zenith Sky Bar and Pool Deck (Green Point)
Set atop Green Point’s plush Cape Royale Hotel, this exclusive rooftop bar, complete with grass patches and a gleaming pool, offers gorgeous city and sea views. Relax poolside on the deck with some refreshing cocktails and order snacks to keep hunger at bay. The food is Asian inspired, with plenty of sushi options and platters. The cocktail list includes the classics as well as some more exotic options such as the Summer Cup, which is made with ginger liqueur, fresh strawberries, lemons, cranberry juice and lemonade. This place gets pretty busy during the summer months, so be sure to call ahead before heading up to the top.
Have we missed your favourite rooftop spot? Let us know in the comments below.