Activities / Restaurants and Eateries

Oldest Pubs In South Africa

Updated Friday, 26 May 2017

There is no doubt about it – South Africans know how to enjoy a crisp, cold beer or a comforting glass of red, no matter what the occasion. We have a popular pub culture, especially in the smaller towns and cities. Some pubs have a lot of history and heritage, giving them a charm that just cannot be bought.

Here are some of the most endearing and oldest Pubs in South Africa…

The Fireman’s Arms (Cape Town)

Situated on the corner of Buitengracht and Mechau streets, this pub was established in 1864. It is known for its superior meals, light snacks, beers and wines. The original building and its inviting atmosphere remains intact, despite the pub’s having gone through a number of renovations over the years to keep it in peak condition. There are a number of big screen TVs on which sport is shown, and digital sound to match. This makes it an ideal venue for watching major sporting events while the ambience ensures that it retains its integrity.

De Akker (Stellenbosch)

This is the oldest pub in Stellenbosch and one of the oldest in the country. A fire in the early 1800’s caused the building records to be destroyed, so the exact date that it was built remains unknown. However, the first licence is supposed to have been obtained in 1872. This legendary pub is a hotspot amongst locals and students of this university town. Some of the famous wines of the surrounding areas are on the wine list, as well as crisp draughts and other tantalising refreshments.

Star of the West (Kimberley)

With classic wooden swinging doors and a yellowwood bar top, this pub is just oozing with charm and history. It was established in 1870. Many believe that the wooden finishes were salvaged by sailors as their ship sank. They came ashore with this beautiful timber, and eventually used it to construct the Star of the West, where they could enjoy welcome refreshment and time with fellow survivors of the shipwreck. This pub is rich in heritage and provides a fabulous watering hole for locals and visitors alike.

The Historic Pig and Whistle Inn (Bathurst)

Bathurst is a tiny village just outside of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. But just about every visitor or passer-by knows the famous Pig and Whistle. The inn is believed to have been established in 1825. Bathurst was, at that time, a popular stop for wagon travellers, who needed some liquid refreshment, a meal and a bed on their journeys. At this time, it was called The Widow Hartley’s Inn and its name was changed to Pig and Whistle in World War II.

Perseverance Tavern (Cape Town)

Having been established at the beginning of the 19h century, Perseverance Tavern, or Persies, is certainly one of South Africa’s oldest and most historically relevant pubs. It was established when the famous fort was still in use. Today, though, it hosts young, vibrant folk from around the world. Fabulous cuisine does not deviate from traditional “pub fayre”, and the décor has a distinct old-world charm.

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