Every year, Cape Town gives jazz lovers a chance to see top local and international jazz musicians at the foot of Table Mountain. The Cape Town International Jazz festival is the fourth-biggest jazz festival in the world and the largest music event in sub-Saharan Africa, drawing in an excess of 35,000 people every year. The organisers promise an incredible line-up of more than 40 performers and jazz virtuosos who will grace the stages of “Africa’s Grandest Gathering” over the two show days.
It’s THE jazz event of the year and the SOLD OUT signs go up quickly as jazz lovers scramble for tickets. But if you didn’t get a ticket, never fear, because jazz runs deep in the Mother City with some super cool venues to take it all in.
The Crypt Restaurant has to be one of the coolest venues in Cape Town. It’s located beneath St George’s Cathedral, and the underground setting gives it an alluring ambience that’s hard to beat. Tables are set around the stage, which features a century-old white baby grand piano. The menu is as eclectic as the performers—enjoy a cheese platter with some light piano tunes, a burger with some funky Afro-jazz, a steak over some sultry vocal jazz, or just order a bottle of wine and dance the night away to Dixieland swing. There’s something happening here almost every night, so you’re sure to find something that appeals to you.
The Piano Bar
This trendy New York-style revue bar is located in De Waterkant is open till late every night, and guests can sip cocktails while watching the live performances. The Piano Bar has an intimate and moody vibe, but it prides itself on being an inclusive jazz bar. You’ll hear jazz standards, blues, and even some indie folk at this venue. You don’t need to be knowledgeable about the genre to visit—there’s something for everyone and it’s all about having a good time to some sweet tunes. Don’t miss the daily two-for-one tapas special!
Kaleidoscope Café is located in the Kaleidoscope Church in Claremont, and every Friday night the venue hosts live jazz bands. You can enjoy a really affordable meal and a wholesome evening of fun for the whole family. The pastor who runs the Church is also a lover of jazz, and his band is you can catch his band as a supporting act. This is where you’ll find new artists and ensembles, and it’s home to the African Musicians Trust, so you know you’re supporting the local arts scene!
Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions
Harvey’s at Winchester Mansion overlooks the promenade in Sea Point, and they do a jazz brunch every Sunday. Book for the brunch and you’ll arrive to a glass of bubbly, the Sunday paper, a live jazz band, and an amazing brunch spread. There’s everything from baked goods and fried eggs to sushi! Settle in with a drink and enjoy the music in one of the best brunch spots in Cape Town.