Cape Town and the Western Cape may be famous for its winelands, but there are also a burgeoning whisky scene in the Cape, with some wonderful venues to enjoy it.
As you descend the steps down into Bascule Bar, you just know you are in for something special, the wood and face-brick combine to create an almost speak-easy atmosphere, while the bottles that line the walls re-assure you that there is no prohibition at play here. With more than 500 whiskies to choose from, you could get lost down there for a fair period of time and likely come out with a much emptier wallet. The Glenfiddich 50-year-old goes at R18 000 a tot… unsurprisingly they haven’t gone through many bottles. A whisky tasting at Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace Hotel is a must for connoisseurs with a variety of options on hand to test your palate.
Located on the ever-vibey Bree Street in the city centre, Hanks is a favourite for locals. Whiskey lovers connect at this inviting hole-in-the-wall spot, which will enlighten your taste buds with their array of unusual Scotch, Irish and even Japanese whiskeys on offer behind the bar. Apparently whiskey-based cocktails are also emerging for the not-so-hard-core fans – plus they offer wine, beers on tap and more. The menu is more geared towards snacks, so if you need to fill your belly, pop into any number of the restaurants based on this popular strip.
Kloof Street House
Bree Street may hold the title of hippest stretch in Cape Town, but Kloof Street is still a bustling hive of activity, with great restaurants and cool bars the order of the day. Kloof Street House, the epitome of old-school charm is an institution and well-worth a visit. A restaurant first, with a wonderful menu, with a wide-range of cocktails to choose from, Kloof Street House is also well-known for its whisky menu and offers the perfect setting to enjoy a snort or two of the finer stuff.
For those with discerning taste and an eye for sophisticated luxury, Raleigh’s Cigar Bar is a must, for the traveller and local alike. This premium bar has a selection of classic cognacs, vintage whiskies and fine cigars. Guests can also enjoy snacks from the Louis B Lounge and Restaurant. So sink into a leather wine-back chair with whisky in hand and take in the hub of the Mother City below - the perfect spot to wind down after a meeting, or to enjoy pre/post-dinner drinks.
The Union Bar, Table Bay Hotel
The Union Bar is based on the ground floor of the timeless establishment that is the Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront. With its wood paneled walls, nautical maps, and copper finishes, this is the perfect setting to enjoy a whiskey and cigar, and thankfully with a wonderful selection of single-malt whiskeys on hand, you can do exactly that.
Baghdad Café and Whisky Bar
A laidback bar/restaurant located on the iconic – and still bustling – Long Street in the city centre, the Baghdad Café and Whisky Bar is a real gem of a spot, particularly for whisky lovers. Popular with local crowd, the bar has a fantastic selection of whiskies – from bourbons to single malts – and is also a popular hookah venue.
The Whisky Bar at Umi
Part of the Kove Collection’s stellar line-up of restaurants and bars, which includes Paranga, Pepénero, The Rose Bar, La Belle Bistro & Bakery, Zenzero, The Bungalow, Umi and 5 Rooms, The Whisky Bar at Umi restaurant is a favourite venue on the Camps Bay strip. Offering more than 100 premium-brand whiskies, each item on the menu details the whisky’s region of origin, flavour nuances and Jim Murray rating. Murray, of course, is the author of the annual Whisky Bible, so his word it quite literally gospel here…
The Whiskey Room at Shimmy
The Whisky Room at the popular Shimmy Beach Club, just off the marina at the V&A Waterfront in a chic, stylish venue perefect for smaller groups. While not quite a dedicated whisky bar, it is an intimate venue that is ideal for private whisky tastings and other special events. Seating 20 people at the most, the room has a private bar, with views of the ocean, beach and stage.