Mercury Live & Lounge
If you prefer quality live music to the noisy and flashy Cape Town clubs, head down to Mercury. Some would call it a dive (like so many great rock venues), but this slightly frayed-around-the-edges venue is still considered one of the serious performance spaces for live acts in South Africa, and extremely popular, especially if you’re into rock, a genre that has shown a surprising growth in popularity in recent years. Students flood in here for the drinks specials (especially on the provocatively titled Manic Mondays) but the crowd varies depending on who’s playing, or what the buzz on the ground has been. During the week, the smaller downstairs venue may host outfits still getting their first taste of the limelight. At weekends, you’re likely to find more established local names bringing down the house, and there’s a very serious drum ‘n’ bass night on the first Saturday of the month – it’s called Homegrown and is the country’s most successful event of its kind. Thrown into the mix during the week are cool cat DJs who prefer Old School and retro vinyl tracks to the electronic stuff that’s the mainstay of most of the city’s clubs today.