First Thursdays Cape Town: A Rookie Guide

Hey friends!

Here we go, another new month in Cape Town, which means another Thursday night of late-night art gallery rounds, free wine and snacks, thrift shopping, musical discovery and owning the streets.

Whether you're going in for another round or it's your first First Thursday, here are a few recommendations from a friend and FT rookie ;)

First things first, recognize that there are over 40 establishments keeping their doors open late, offering discounts and facilitating cool-kid-vibes on this hallowed night, so check the social media pages of your faves and look at the map at (or you can grab one at many of the said establishments on the night).


Start early if you want free stuff

Like many an opening night at art galleries, they offer free wine (and sometimes NikNaks or cheese platters if they're extra fancy) on First Thursday, but only while stocks last, of course. That's why a gallery or two is always my first port of call. Make-up still on fleek/presentable for artsy photos and I get to pre-game for free. YES. I'd say between 6 and 7pm is a safe bet.


Art - look for someone awkward standing near one piece/collection, it could be the artist!

An alternative portrait of artist Dave Lowry taken at the Goldsmith's Gallery

An alternative portrait of artist Dave Lowry taken at the Goldsmith's Gallery

What I've seen:

Goldsmith's on Loop Street. Beautiful sterling silver jewellery, some pretty amazing etching and engraved work (some beautiful customizeable hip flasks for sale too), fantastic industrial-style art and furniture and stacks of photographs. A great people-watching spot too.

The Gin Bar on Wale Street. Everybody's favorite not-so-secret gin bar also showcases some beautiful pieces including some of my favorites of last month (see first GIF)

What I want to see:

Gallery MOMO on Buitengracht Street. I've been to the one in Johannesburg but had no idea this hub of contemporary art had a Bo-Kaap home too!

Friends of Design on Bree Street. They're a digital arts school who are hosting a mandala-night-ting this week. Cash me there.


Shop - wear a warm jumper so you don't impulse-buy a R300 denim jacket

True Grit Vintage Market

True Grit Vintage Market

What I've seen:

So far just the True Grit Vintage Pop-Up Market on Bree (right across from La Parada). I missed  lot of the action as this was our last stop for the night, but I've heard talk of vintage films and free pancakes amidst the pre-loved goodness!

What I want to see:

This week Eve Emporium celebrate their 3rd birthday at their Long St. store, so that'll be a ball! Other favorites I'll be checking in on include The Lot and Mungo & Jemima (Kloof and Long Street respectively).



You can always eat before-hand if shopping and/or drinking are your main agendas for the evening. Otherwise, FT is a good excuse to try out one of the thousand CBD eateries you've been admiring but haven't got around to sitting at. Try and get in before 7pm or call ahead and make a reservation because it's safe to assume everywhere is and will be full. Like, packed.




Where I've drank:

The not-so-secret gin bar serves up some great cocktails in a cosy little labyrinth of cute. Otherwise, see above on starting early ;)

Where I want to drink:

For the most part places I've been before and like but wonder how the vibe is different on First Thursdays. For now I have my eye on The Village Idiot, The Grand Daddy and Beerhouse (I hear the latter two show some art, too!).


So there you go: what's on for First Thursdays Cape Town this month and for the next ones.

I'd say if you're visiting Cape Town and have one shot, check out the map and plan out some sort of route/game plan (I recommend Bo Kaap for some art and then move down for food and drinks or Bree Street for food and the move over to Long and Loop for some noise). If you'll have other chances then it's just as fun to take a group with you and roam until you find something you like ;)

Bookmark, share this post or pin the image below so you can keep checking wagwan when you hit the town. And tweet me @julie_olum what you get up to!

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