Clubs in Cape Town

Published: 20th March 2011
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From wine and food snobbery to pill popping dance floor stomping Cape Town’s night life has it in spades, you can party with the artistic set from Michaelis art school every Friday afternoon then walk down the road to party with the trendy modellingcrowd. Alternatively you can party on the Atlantic seaboard side with the rich and gay. Cape Town’s night clubs are an ever evolving beast, that never stays static for long and it is almost impossible to know where the next trendy party will be. Clubs are constantly closing down and reopening in new venues, or just changing names, often for less than scrupulous reasons.

The Cape Town night club is scene is so fickle in fact that while I was doing research for this article I was coming across web links to night clubs that closed down while I was still clubbing, which was a fair while ago. The most easily updated source of information, the World Wide Web, can’t even keep up with Cape Town’s nightclub scene. People in charge of these "informative" websites are only too aware that the information will change again before they have logged off.

The Cape Town night life scene can be divided into three main categories which fit, coincidentally, into three geographical locations,each with its own dress code, slang and perception of what counts as financially stable. We’ll start at the bottom of this social ladder and work our way up. The bottom rung incidentally lies in the Southern suburbs on the main road, a convenient catchment area for the University of Cape Town which sits perched on the slopes of Devils Peak looking out on the sprawling suburbs. Here on Claremont Main Rd you’ll find the student bars that have been doing a steady business since the 80’s. The likes of Tin Roof, which used to be called Green Man which used to be located around the corner in Cavendish street, often has a queue of drunk jocks standing three abreast stretching for several meters away from the front door. If you don’t know where it is the best thing you can do is drive away from town down the main road until you nearly run over a sixteen year old and his girlfriend having a fight in the middle of the road. The entrance should be on your left and there is parking behind the building. Not far on is the slightly more "sophisticated" venue of Tiger Tiger quite how this place got its name is beyond me and most people I seem to ask. I am guessing it has something to do with the clientele being so dense they have to repeat the name.

Moving away from the Southern Suburbs and into the city bowl, a hop, skip and a jump in terms of car travel but light years removed from the drunken orgy of Claremont main road. The first stop would have to be Long Street, famous in its own right as the clubbing capital of Cape Town it is where you will find the trendy yet not so sophisticated artists of Cape Town. Unless they’re actually talented in which case you won’t find them at all because they don’t mix with mere mortals. Long Street doesn’t actually have that many proper night clubs at least not the kind you’ll find in London. It has bars that play loud music and stay open till the sun comes up. Due to the historic nature of the area the venues are small, which makes it difficult to house the massive multi dance floor venues that you will find at other clubbing capitals around the world. The vibe on Long Street though is second to none, during the 2010 world cup the drone of the vuvuzela bounced off the walls of the surrounding buildings throughout the night, as tourists walked up and down celebrating the fact that they had come home.

Further outside of Cape Town, as the fan walks, you’ll find Green Point, as Long street becomes overcrowded Somerset road is fast becoming the darling of the trendy set. It has long time been a hangout for the gay community, which is what made it so trendy in the first place.

On the other side of the mountain is the world famous suburb of Camps Bay, the place where models go to live and retired investment bankers go to die. St Yves, Caprice and the Sandbar all provide locations for models to admire each other and talk about how much they miss Sweden. This area too though is not famous for its massive venues and multiple dance floors been trampled by the ecstasy fuelled stomping of hundreds of young idiots.

Cape Town’s night life is as exciting as anywhere else in the world it is not however at all similar to that of London or New York, the vibe is completely different as is the style of partying. Cape Town is famous for its laid back attitude and relaxed atmosphere and this translates into the way that the residents party. Don’t get me wrong locals can party with the best of them, Cape Town is hopping all night long but it won’t be in the London style night clubs.

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