South Africa’s thirst for excellent craft gin is growing, and with it, the doors to an array of awesome bars dedicated to this triple-distilled white spirit are opening.
We want to celebrate the men and women behind the bar who create excellent gin cocktails for us. Cheers to their ingenuity and creativity and a happy World Bartender Day to them all!
From Cape Town to Joburg, to smaller towns like Riebeek Kasteel and George, here are the gin bars we’re in love with right now:
Go along to Weltevreden Street, Gardens to discover this Eat Out Award winning spot, complete with its excellent selection of local craft gins.
Popular Newlands steak joint, Patina, offers a tasteful gin and tonic at its Botany Bar, make sure you stop at the bar for a quick aperitif before being shown to your table, as their gin selection (along with their fine wine selection) is irresistable.
Not only does the Willaston Bar on the 6th floor of the new Silo Hotel boast rather impressive views of Cape Town, it also offers quite a gin selection and the bartenders know how to create a good gin cocktail too.
The Gin Bar
Enter Honest Chocolate on Wale Street, except keep going straight through – past the alluring smells of that chocolate to the little courtyard on the other side. We promise it’s worth it. The tiny bar offers an outstanding selection of local craft gins and the ambience in that secret courtyard is nothing short of wonderful.
Visit the President Hotel in Bantry Bay and ask the way to Botany Cafe. Their gin menu is a true delight, pairing local gins with a variety of interesting garnishes to create unique mixes, along with the tried and beloved regulars.
12 Apostles Hotel
Just past Camps Bay, as the winding coastal road begins, you’ll find the majestic 12 Apostles Hotel perched mountainside, overlooking the endless Atlantic ocean. Visit the Gin Lab for gin-tasting, gin-pairing and gin-making experiences.
The Orphanage Cocktail Emporium
On Bree Street you’ll find people spilling out of the door on any given weekend: all appreciators of a well-made cocktail, no doubt. On a quieter night, enjoy a leisurely gin cocktail made in a quirky manner by the fine people behind the bar.
Peddlars on the Bend
For those living in the south of Cape Town, here’s a spot to quaff that local gin. The bar’s local craft gin selection is great too.
The Botanical Bar
Looking for a dab of passion to go along with your gin cocktail? This is the place that the heart-eyed emoji was made for. Not only does this clever bar create excellent gin cocktails, they’re also always offering house made botanical bitters, simple syrups, and foraged local garnishes.
The Royal Hotel
This lovely boutique hotel boasts one of the best gin collections in South Africa. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the veranda sipping a Bloedlemoen gin and tonic!
Social on Main
Treat yourself to a fine time out at Bryanston joint, with a good range of gins and amazing cocktail choices, you’re in for a treat.
In the north of Joburg this fine establishment has dedicated two pages of its extensive cocktail menu to gin-inspired cocktails. Local craft gin features prominently here, so there’s no need to feel left out, Northerners!
Situated in trendy Linden, Tonic Gin Bar is “the business” according to a TimesLive write up. The bar is dedicated to showcasing gin in all its various and glorious flavour profiles, so set aside a few hours to discover, sip and enjoy.
Secret Gin Bar
Rumour has it that Lupa Osteria in Durban North has opened a secret gin bar. Needless to say we’re booking our ticket to Durban for a quick “business” trip.
101 Meade Street
Ask for a gin and get ready for the delightful gin trolley loaded up with a range of great craft gins, tonics and garnishes that gets wheeled around upon request.
Situated at Asara Hotel and Wine Estate, Sansibar boasts the largest gin collection in South Africa – over 300 important and local craft gins, due in no small part to estate manager Pete Gottgens’ passion for gin. Go along to admire the collection and sample a few too.
If you’ve got a taste for admiring classic cars whilst sipping outstanding gin, then a visit to Classic Cats at Vredenheim Wine Estate is for you. It’s a great day trip and one that will result in a few new-found loves – both for cars and craft gins, we’re sure!