Clubs, pubs, and taverns galore decorate the streets of South Africa’s most touristy city during its pulsating weekend nightlife – but what’s there to do and see when the weekend is a distant dream and we need a fix for those Monday to Thursday blues? Cape Town is home to a number of cultural activities, and when the daytime fades out and the streetlights come on, they all want to play. But for those not in the local know-how, what can one do during the weekday for a fun time that doesn’t leave you digging deeply through your wallet?
1.) Go to House of The Machine on Tuesdays for Open Mike night
You’ll be forgiven for believing that “open-mike” is synonymous with karaoke-level quality singing, filled with a variety of performers ranging in levels from poor to semi-professional. The House of Machines, based in the heart of central Cape Town, throws all that out the window, showcasing only top shelf talent in their entertainment categories, which can be anyone from singers, exotic instrument players, rappers or slam poetry – and often there’s a dizzying combination of all the above. The MC of the evening, Andy Lund, is no exception to this, juggling between hyping the crowd up between performances and playing a few songs of his own (originals and covers) he has been a main attraction of The House of Machines since its inception. It’s open seating with no bookings, so first come first serve!
Venue: The House of Machines – 84 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.
Day(s) of the week: Tuesday
Times: Registration to perform opens at 8PM, performances begin at 9PM
Cost: No cover charge.
Link to official website: https://thehouseofmachines.com/
2) See a show at Alexander Bar
Alexander Bar is your hidden hole in the wall bar in the center of town, along with being in the center of the heart of every theatre nut in Cape Town. With a diverse crowd of both young and old timers flocking to its doors each night, this is a venue that will require some booking in advance, with their shows typically selling out a week before the opening curtains. The theatre upstairs has hosted within its hallowed halls a hotbed of dramatically charged one-man-performances, comedic stylings of the political scene in South Africa, live music, poetic art readings and jaw-dropping magic shows. It’s the ideal venue to enjoy a sensual glass of wine over discussions with lovers and friends before soaking in the raw talent of the deep waters of Cape Town’s smaller entrainment scene.
Venue: 76 Strand Street, Cape Town.
Day(s) of the week: Monday to Saturday.
Times: 5PM to midnight
Cost: Tickets range from R50 to R220 depending on the show.
Link to official website: https://alexanderbar.co.za
3) Play Bitchy Bingo at Beefcakes
The stakes of a Bingo game have never seemed higher than when a large man in drag is yelling out obscenities between ball numbers. Enjoy a bite to eat with the finest burgers and meat in town, alongside fresh cocktails and fresher-faced waiters. Great prizes to be won and greater laughs to be had every Thursday at Beefcakes in the Greenpoint area of Cape Town.
Beefcakes was inspired by the Heydays of the 50’s and the trend-setting styles of Miami’s South Beach, as shown by its fabulous displays of frolicking flamingos and its buffed up beefy waiters. A family friendly place by day, a decadent stage by night.
You have been warned.
Venue: 36 Somerset Rd, Greenpoint, Cape Town,
Day(s) of the week: Thursday (Regular drag shows on Friday and Saturday)
Times: performance starts at 9PM
Cost: R150 – Includes a Dinner
Link to official website: http://beefcakes.co.za/cape-town/
4) Mojo Market
Feeling like Italian pasta? Mexican style tortillas? Turkish kebab? South African Dessert? American Smash Burger? Pizza?
Ugh, why do we have to choose?
Well now you can get all these and more in one place. Adorned with live music, the latest in modern indoor décor, and a warm and welcoming ambience, Mojo Market is located within the bustling heart of Cape Town’s Seapoint region and is an ongoing hotspot for those craving entertainment and a culinary experience you can write to home about.
Venue: 30 Regent Road, Seapoint, Cape Town
Day(s) of the week: Monday – Sunday
Times: 8AM to 11AM
Cost: No cover charge
Link to official website: https://www.mojomarket.co.za/
5) Labia Theatre movie night
Don’t worry, this isn’t your regular movie theatre, its one of the hottest spots for locals to meet up on a night out.
The Labia Theatre is a renowned Cape Town relic and the oldest independent cinema in South Africa. Originally the Italian Embassy’s Ballroom, it was opened by the royal Princess Labia in the year 1949, before being converted a public cinema by theatre-lover Ludi Kraus in 1989.
It aims to feature mostly screen cult classics and art movies with the occasional box office hit. Many original features remain within the theatre to this day, including the ticket booth, snacks counter and the cinema seats.
Tickets are cheaper here than the other larger company cinemas and they often have drink and dinner specials alongside their ticket sales that promise to deliver a night of adventure and old school classics in one of Cape Town’s most esoteric entertainment venues.
Venue: 68 Orange street, Cape Town.
Day(s) of the week: Mondays to Sundays
Times: They differ depending on the season, but typically from 12:00 to 21:00 they have movies available
Cost: All shows are R50
Link to official website: https://www.thelabia.co.za