Two new bars and the promise of a revitalised gay nightlife in Cape Town are the unexpected positives of the demolition of the Somerset Road site to house the new Cape Quarter extension in Green Point. Work has already begun on the R268-million project.

The Bronx, Cape Town’s most popular gay bar, moves across Somerset Road from its old location into the remodelled premises of the old 55 club. It will open on June 15. Many of the fixtures and fittings will move with it, but, says owner Bruno Bronn, much is new.

The renovated space will feature three levels, a bigger dance floor and an extensive roof terrace. Access has been improved and sound specialists brought in help keep noise levels within acceptable limits.

Rainbow Trade, the gay-themed novelty and retail shop, will move in with Bronx, with frontage onto Napier Street.

Three shops down from Bronx’s new spot will be the Beaulah Bar, taking over the corner premises previously occupied by décor shop, Plush. Smaller than Bronx, it will have two bars and a dance floor. It also opens on June 15.

The two new spots will compliment an already established assortment of gay venues on the city block squared by Napier, Somerset, Cobern and Prestwich streets. The Loft Lounge, above Anatoli’s restaurant at 24 Napier Street, has established itself as the upmarket pre-club venue of choice since its opening last month.

Bar Code, the perennial leather bar at 18 Cobern Street, remains a favourite. Also catering to a gay clientele is the pool bar, Oh Yes!, alongside Bar Code on Cobern Street. It opens Friday and Saturday nights.

The new ‘pink block’ signals a welcome expansion of the gay village, traditionally situated above Somerset Road in de Waterkant and centred round Manhattans on Waterkant Street. Russell Shapiro’s popular eatery-cum-bar recently opened a new satellite in Sea Point at 247 Main Road. He also runs the dinner theatre venue On Broadway, at 88 Shortmarket Street in the city centre.


  • Bronx – 083 444-5368
  • Beaulah Bar – 082-565-6174
  • Loft Lounge – 021- 425-2647
  • Bar Code – 021-421-5305
  • Oh Yes! Pool Bar – 083-597-0868
  • Rainbow Trade – 083-597-0868

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