Intimate Live Music Venues in Cape Town

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Our beloved Cape Town has always been a city known for its arts and beauty. With an abundance of artists and performers, music venues and theatres, we look at some prime places to get your aural stimulation in an intimate setting. Whether you’re a lover of the sophisticated saxophone, the haunting lyrics of folk singers, or the distorted drive of rock n roll. Geraint Bojé has an eclectic array of venues for you.

Have we missed any of your favourite spots? Please let us know in the comments below or email editor@whatsonincapetown.com

THE HOUSE OF MACHINES

Created with the intention of being a home for the community, this welcoming venue aims to comrade people from all walks of life.

THOM curates more than your finest local singer-songwriters. It stocks the best of Evil Twin coffee, and a range of cocktails and craft beers that will compel any connoisseur to frequent its premises. It also houses, pardon the pun, its own section of apparel that can be found in stores across Cape Town, and parts of the USA, China, and Japan.

Every Tuesday, you can find yourself entertained by the songwriter’s showcase. Catch all the up-and-coming artists of Cape Town at this open-mic event, to ensure that you grasp a glimpse of the next Bob Dylan. THOM will guarantee that you’re entertained by performing artists or comedians every other day of the week. However, if you prefer to sway to the beats of DJs and Producers, Thursday nights might accommodate you best.

No matter the person, THOM unites people through their love of music, beer, bikes, cocktails, coffee and apparel.

Where: 84 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town City Centre
When: Mon, 7:30am – 11:30pm | Tue – Fri, 7am – 1am | Sat 9am – 1am

Website: thehouseofmachines.com | Email: workshop@thehouseofmachines.com | Tel: 021 422 0946
Facebook: @thehouseofmachines | Instagram: @thehouseofmachines_cpt

CAFÉ ROUX

Established in 2006 as a small family affair, this venue has blossomed into one of Cape Town’s most renowned and beloved venues. A necessary stepping stone in every career of all musicians and performers.

Café Roux provides an unforgettable evening as guests have dinner on show. Set inside a beautiful and cosy atmosphere, the restaurant offers a warm fireplace and comfortable seating in intimate proximity to the stage as artists showcase their music and talents. Because it is situated close to the beach, it is only natural that this is a child- and pet-friendly venue.

In addition to having all the best live performances, Café Roux regularly hosts thought-provoking film evenings or inspirational talks regarding adventure, wellness, and spirituality. Email them for more details.

Where: Chapmans Peak Dr, Noordhoek Farm Village
When: Event date and time varies

Website: caferoux.co.za | Email: info@caferoux.co.za | Tel: 021 789 2538
Facebook: @caferouxCapeTown | Instagram: @caferoux1

THE PIANO BAR

Few venues in Cape Town are as crucial to the jazz music scene as this New-York themed gem, The Piano Bar. From the professionals to the students discovering their sound, this bar is a platform for all lovers of sophisticated jazz.

Locals will readily vouch for The Piano Bar nestled in the heart of Cape Town’s historical De Waterkant, as it prides itself on unearthing some of the talented stars of South Africa.

This cool, dark and intimate atmosphere with a vintage touch lays the ideal setting where music lovers can indulge in unique live performances, a taut wine and cocktail list, and excellent cuisine every night of the week.

The Piano Bar is integrated with The Grey Hotel and Sky Bar, which offer sweeping views over the city. Perfect for first date nights or a bluesy Sunday evening.

Where: 47 Napier St, De Waterkant
When: Tue – Sat, 3pm – 12pm

Website: thepianobar.co.za | Email: bookings@thepianobar.co.za | Tel: 021 007 5212
Facebook: @thepianobarct | Instagram: @thepianobarct

ARMCHAIR

In 1998, The Armchair Theatre opened its bohemian doors to lovers of all genres of music. Situated in the heart of Observatory, it holds a long-standing stage that all musicians respect and love to perform on. This stage is also shared with other live entertainment acts, such as comedians, film festivals, plays and exhibitions.

Every week, The Armchair presents a variety of performers. From beginners wanting an opportunity to play with other musicians during the week, to professional bands gracing the stage on weekends. The Armchair delivers in surplus.

Some of us love music more than others. And, instead of being limited to watching other bands, some might like to partake. For those of you among our readers, we recommend the Jam Nights, which are held every Monday from 8pm, or the Karaoke Nights, on Thursdays, also from 8pm.

Apart from the professional bands you can watch on weekends, you can find yourself proving your wits at the Tuesday quiz nights, or bellowing laughter from your belly at the Wednesday Stand-Up comedy nights.

Where: 135 Lower Main Rd, Observatory
When: Mon – Thu, 11am – 1 am | Fri, 11am – 11:30pm | Sat – Sun, 9am – 11:30pm

Website: ourarmchair.co.za | Email: info@thearmchair.co.za | Tel: 073 902 4976
Facebook: @ourarmchair | Instagram: @ourarmchair

THE BLUE ROOM

You can find yourself seated in one of the three coloured rooms in, The Grub and Vine restaurants. The Green room, The Blue room or a red room known as, Culture Wine Bar. Each one of these rooms caters to a different atmosphere. However, for the intent of our music lovers, we would like to only focus on The Blue Room.

Aptly named, this room is dedicated to housing live music and a cocktail lounge that pays tribute to the profound and soulful tonalities of jazz and blues.

The Blue Room is the collaborative concept devised by chef patron, Matt Manning and well-known jazz artist, Buddy Wells. The lounge also has a state-of-the-art recording studio. If you’re lucky enough, you can spot some musicians recording during the day. However, the lounge is open from Wednesday to Saturday, with artists performing jazz, soul and blues in the evenings for your leisure.

Where: 103 Bree St, Cape Town City Centre
When: Mon – Sat, 4pm – late

Website: grubandvine.co.za | Email: hello@grubandvine.co.za | Tel: 087 153 5244
Instagram: @theblueroomct

STARDUST

Home of the singing waiter, Stardust, dazzles with an abundance of musical talent. This theatre is one of South Africa’s few venues where your experience and entertainment amalgamate in such a way that the entirety of the evening will keep you guessing where to look next.

It is a charming Mediterranean-inspired restaurant situated in Woodstock, where you’ll be serenaded, swooned, and served by the very performers on stage.

Many of the previous waiting staff members have gone on to further their musical careers by performing on Idols and The Voice. Some went as far as acting in local and international shows presented by West End and Broadway.

Guests arrive at 7:30pm and often leave after midnight. With the delicacies and wines Stardust offers, chances are patrons will stay until closing time.

Where: 118 Sir Lowry Rd, Foreshore
When: Thu, 6pm – 11pm | Fri – Sat, 6pm – 12pm | Sun, 12pm – 4pm

Website: stardustcapetown.com | Email: admin@stardustcapetown.com | Tel: 072 414 6522
Facebook: @stardustcapetown | Instagram: @stardustcapetown

MISFITS

Misfits is a kitchen and bar situated in De Waterkant. With open brick facades and wooden panels decorated with beautiful vintage leather furniture, antique artwork and quirky miscellaneous items, it sets the atmosphere for that inner-city experience.

Boasting an extensive collection of gins and cocktails, this venue offers sophistication complemented by soft and delicate voices of singer-songwriters, avant-garde tension and release of jazz cats, and those wailing hound dog blues musicians of note. The live music performances occur during the week, from Thursday to Sunday. Be sure to follow their Instagram page to see who is playing and when.

Speaking of jazz cats and bluesy hound dogs, this venue is also a pet-friendly restaurant. So, you can bring your favourite furry pal along to enjoy the outdoor seating section.

Where: 74 Prestwich St, De Waterkant
When: Sun – Mon, 7:30am – 16:30 | Tue – Sat, 7:30am – 10pm

Website: whyfitin.co.za | Email: misfits@ideascartel.com | Tel: 021 180 3098
Facebook: @misfitct | Instagram: @misfits.ct

FOLK CAFE

It’s not the gentle ocean breeze, not the mountain nor sea views, that attracts this venue’s loyal locals. But instead, the delicate picking of guitar strings that are accompanied by stories of love, joy, melancholy and conquers.

A quirky café that caters ethically sourced food for plant-based and carnivorous patrons alike, Folk Café is a St. James favourite to all the singer-songwriters out there. Offering an array of baked and deli-typed goods, a children’s play area, and a feel-good outdoor ambience, Folk Café has stolen the hearts of many music lovers who came in search of live entertainment.

With homegrown live music being their passion, Folk Café hosts local bands and songwriters every Saturday from 4pm to 6pm.

Where: 54 Main Road, St James
When: Tue – Sat, 8am – 10pm | Sun, 8am – 5pm

Website: folkcafe.co.za | Email: stjames@folkcoffee.co.za | Tel: 021 276 3656
Facebook: @FolkStJames | Instagram: @folk.cafe

GOLD RESTAURANT

A prominent venue of Cape Town’s tourist attractions, GOLD Restaurant has topped the list for a memorable night of traditional African cuisine and music for many years. Lavished with immaculate local artefacts and contemporary artwork, GOLD restaurant patrons can’t relent from the overwhelming excitement of the tastes and sounds of Africa.

Find yourself immersed in an interactive djembe drumming session that takes place every evening from 18:30. As the African drums pulsate throughout the spacious rooms, guests can marvel at the delights of traditional dance, performance art, and singing. A popular highlight of this alluring live entertainment event is the vibrant Malian puppetry – an ancient Bambara tradition that grants a rare and enchanting peek into a country often overlooked.

If the entertainment itself isn’t convincing enough, GOLD Restaurant carefully curates a 14-course set menu to pay tribute to various pan-African countries, making this a definite need-to activity.

Where: 5 Bennett St, Green Point
When: Mon – Sun, 6:30pm – 11pm

Website: goldrestaurant.co.za | Email: info@goldrestaurant.co.za | Tel: 021 421 4653
Facebook: @GOLDRestaurantSA | Instagram: @goldrestaurantcapetown

THE ALMA CAFE

This quaint homely spot is best known as a place where good people congregate in honour of good food and good music.

Over a century old, Alma Café is tucked away on a quiet street in Rosebank, where one gets the impression that you’ve gone back to a simpler time. A time when communities supported small intimate corner cafes and supermarkets were the exception.

The owner and musician, Richard Tait, set up a stage at the side of the café for musicians of all calibres to showcase their love of music and perform their hearts out to genuine supporters and lovers of the arts.

During the day, Alma Café trades goods from Wednesdays to Saturdays, from 9am to 2pm. After trading hours, this venue becomes the beloved music spot on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30pm, and Sundays from 6pm.

Where: 20 Alma Road, Rosebank
When: Fri and Sat, 6:30pm | Sun, 6pm

Website: almacafe.co.za | Email: jono@almacafe.co.za | Tel: 072 530 9651
Facebook: @TheAlmaCafe | Instagram: @the.alma.cafe

KOFFI TERAPI

As the pride and joy of Litha Matthysen, Koffi Terapi was devised to provide an inviting and calming atmosphere to all its patrons. This eatery is a favourite amongst locals of the Northern suburbs, and is situated on the first floor of the Willowbridge Shopping Centre, making it easily accessible to everyone.

In the evenings, Koffi Terapi offers its KT Music Café performances, where local artists are invited to present their music on stage as guests sit back and enjoy the music, drinks and pleasant service.

On the outside of the venue, Koffi Terapi, offers a lovely patio and play area for kids to frolic and enjoy the jungle gym and trampoline. So, at least the parents can enjoy the musical performances without stressing about the troubles the little ones might be up to.

Where: Willowbridge Shopping Mall, Tygervalley, Bellville
When: Mon – Fri, 7am – 5pm | Sat, 8am – 4pm | Sun, 7am – 2pm

Website: koffiterapi.co.za | Email: info@koffiterapi.co.za | Tel: 072 679 1059
Facebook: @koffiterapi | Instagram: @koffi_terapi

FAT HARRY’S

This upmarket gastropub is situated in the heart of student-rich Kenilworth. Because of this, the venue decided to dedicate the stage to the students and lecturers in the area to come flaunt their knowledge of jazz on the ‘Monday Jazz Jam Nights’, hosted by jazz legend, Dan Shout. But do not fret. The jam nights aren’t limited to anyone in particular.
If jazz doesn’t tickle your fancy, Fat Harry’s also provides live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays. Keep an eye on their social media pages to see upcoming events.

With a variety of tapas, seafood, burgers, and craft beers, this venue is perfect for the tweed-wearing pub frequenter that loves beer and music.

Where: 166 2nd Ave, Kenilworth
When: Mon – Tue, 3pm – 11pm | Wed, 12pm – 11pm | Thu – Sat, 12pm – 12am | Sun, 12pm – 8pm

Website: fatharrys.co.za | Email: info@fatharrys.co.za | Tel: 021 879 2351
Facebook: @FatHarryReloaded | Instagram: @fatharrys.reloaded

THE SELECTIVE LIVE

Selective Live is a venue that was created with one simple and clear goal, to entertain via live performances.

Hosting extraordinary local artists and DJs, this venue offers an online platform for genres ranging from Soul, Jazz, Afro, and House.

Come enjoy a performance that will be live-streamed. Sit back, and enjoy the spectacular backdrop view of Cape Town city, and even more so, one of the seven world wonders, Table Mountain.

Where: 189 Buitengracht St, Gardens
When: Mon – Thu, 9am – 4pm | Fri, 9am – 9:30pm | Sat – Sun, 12pm – 9:30pm

Website: selectivehearing.co.za | Email: info@selectivelive.co.za
Facebook: @selectivelive | Instagram: @selective_live

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