12 Beach bars, sundowner spots and local dives to unwind at on the Garden Route

2016-11-19 18:30 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - The Garden Route is one of the most popular summer destination. And this year, no doubt, the hotspots will be packed to the brim with locals and visitors whiling away in the South African sun. 

If you'd like to get away from the crowds on the beaches a bit, then check out these suggestions.

Although navigating the crowds can be an easy, even fun, task if you know where to go. If you're after the best beach bars, sundowner spots and local joints to down a few cold ones this summer season, we've got the insider guide to the Garden Route right here. 

These are some of our favourite spots to unwind at, appreciate the breathtaking view from and mingle with the locals: 

PiliPili Beach Bar, Sedgefield 

This joint is situated on Myoli beach, one of the top wave-riding beaches on the Garden Route coast. 

It boasts stunning sea views and ice cold beers. Aahh. 



De Dekke, Groot Brak

It's situated right next to the N2 close to the fuel station. It doesn't look like much, but this is the Garden Route party hub - the place you need to be seen during December. 

Be warned, however, it's very Afrikaans, and if you can't sokkie it's best you practise a few turns before you go. 

It's a one-stop-shop for massive parties, late-night dancing and a bucket-load of December holiday memories. Give it a try. 



East Head Café, Knysna 

Situated on the rocks of the famous Eastern Head of Knysna, East Head Café has the most spectacular view – looking directly through the Knysna Heads.

Not only do we love their open, friendly vibe, we also like that they support the “Go Local” campaign – a naturally Knysna initiative sustaining local and responsible suppliers.

Afternoon Cocktail with View ?????? #knysna #southafrica #butterfliesinafrica #latergram

A photo posted by BeautyButterflies (@beautybutterflies) on


Moby Dick's, Plettenberg Bay 

Moby's is situated on the popular Central Beach of Plett with magnificent views of the bay, Robberg Peninsula and the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range.

It offers a truly breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean, and some of the best whale and dolphin watching perch in Plettenberg Bay.



The Lookout Deck, Plettenberg Bay

One of the best views on the Garden Route, perhaps even the country. The Lookout Deck sits two stories higher than the open Indian Ocean, directly on the Keurbooms Lagoon and Lookout Beach.

The cocktails are phenomenal but not nearly as colourful as the colour of the sky and ocean as the sun sets... 

A photo posted by Dan Martin (@dmartin1500) on




Ski Boat Club, Plettenberg Bay

Whether you're a member of the Plett Ski Boat Club or not, the place is a hit with locals and visitors (you don't have to belong to the club to join their events or visit the restaurant). 

They host regular events, and also have some funky weekly specials, like their Sunday Braai Special, Fishy Friday and the Wacky Wednesday drinks specials. 




Ristorante Enrico, Keurbooms

'Any closer and you'll be wet,' they warn on the official site. It's the perfect spot to sip sundowners and wind down. 

They also offer fishing charters, if you prefer to get your own catch-of-the-day rather than the fresh one on the menu... 



Locals Pub & Diner, Wilderness

There's a reason it's called the 'local's pub'. And as we know, the locals know best. 

This is a great spot for some spirited rugby-watching, or just to grab a cold one after a day at the beach. 

If you're after something fatty and delicious to wash down with your beer, go for the ribs - amazing. 

A video posted by Marni Acker (@marniacker) on



Pirates Tower Cocktail Bar, Mossel Bay 

Situated right on one of the most popular beaches in Mossel Bay, Diaz beach, this place is abuzz during the festive season. 

The only thing more colourful than the cocktails are the people who frequent Pirates - and we love the vibe! 



De Vette Mossel, Groot Brak

This is an establishment, and so much more than a mere beach bar. It serves a seafood buffet, where hungry beach-lovers can eat as much as they like. 

The vibe is really lovely, and you can sit with your sand in the feet by the bonfire drinking wine from a tin cup, blissful. 

SEE: 5 extraordinary Garden Route foodie spots


McNasty's, Glentana 

This is an old-school bar if there ever was one. A couple of bikes frequent the parking area in front of it, and beers are served fast and cold, just the way we like it. 

The pizza is delicious, especially shared with your mates towards the end of a long night of partying. 

McNasty's is great for enjoying the local vibe, right next to the Groot Brak river in Glentana. 

A photo posted by Nick Kuyper (@mossel_712) on




Kingfisher, Mossel Bay 

This is an establishment in Mossel Bay, and you'll be lucky to find a table if you haven't book in advance. 

If you can, sit outside on the top deck porch overlooking the play area and crashing waves on the beach. The cocktails are delicious, and they offer a selection of good wines too. 

If you get peckish, order some sushi and a creme brulee for dessert. 



Pelican's Harbour Cafe Restaurant, Struisbaai 

A laid back beach bar with a perfect view of the habrour. Pelican's in a walks-ins only bar and restaurant serving easy picking food for hungry beachgoers. The seafood is delicious and fresh, from the well-priced mussel pot to the good old-fashioned fish and chips.

A must in Struisbaai.  



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