The Most Beloved Dive Bars in Cape Town

There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned dive bar. Sure, it’s seedy, shabby and filled with wobbly undesirables, but they’re also the beating heart of any true Capetonian boozehound. They’ve been there for us through birthdays and breakups. Greeting us with a cold(ish) beer, a stiff shot, and a handful of reliable drinking buddies. At the end of the day, people are all the same. We just wanna go where everybody knows our name.

Consider this a love letter to the east city’s neighboorhood watering holes that touch our souls and tickle our livers. Grungy, grimy and relentlessly endearing, these are Cape Town’s top dive bars.


This neighborhood go-to has been presiding over locals and tourists alike who stumble in for a beer and shot. We love everything about the place, from its outdated bar and classic arcade machines to its ridiculously delicious ribs and signature oyster shots.


Located a stone trow away from Lefty’s, Surfarosa is the latest bar to enter the Cape Town dive scene. The outside facade is a welcome sight among the east city’s generic office buildings. Cosy, dimly lit, and reliably filled with locals, Surfarosa attracts all kinds, like bees to honey booze.

Dust & Dynamite

Dust & Dynamite is one of those places that need a little searching to discover. It’s easy to miss and yet this is part of its charm. Decked with batwing doors, the saloon provides you with a taste of the bygone era of the American wild west, adorned with authentic cowboy hats and knick-knacks. As far as drinks are concerned, don’t go in there expecting a proprietary cocktail menu. Local beer and spirits are the only options and always served by owner Wayne with a friendly smile and pistol on the hip.

Kimberley Hotel

Time spent at the Kimbo starts wild and ends wild, with plenty of surreal action in the middle. The smokey bar is always packed with interesting characters from all walks of life. Mixology be damned; this is the kind of place where you can catch a good beer buzz for cheap while trying to win over the bartender. And if you’re lucky, you might get to hear one of the many stories that live inside the walls.

The Shack

Obviously, the greatest selection of punk rock jams in the city comes with a bit of an anti-establishment attitude. But that’s just part of this place’s identity and charm, which it’s not giving up without a fight. Located on the edge of District Six, The Shack remains a Cape Town classic. Pool tables, cheap beer, and a foosball table attract a young, rowdy bunch that is sure to keep this bar kicking for generations to come.