Leap Year Fun: Turn the romance tables on 2020

This year is a leap year and that means we get one more day in the form of 29 February 2020.

While there’s physics behind it (the extra day is added to make sure the seasons remain in sync with the calendar over time), Leap Year Day has come to be associated with romance and risk-taking.

Image by Hi 5 Tandem Paragliding Cape Town

These days, women are free to propose to their partner at any time they choose, but for centuries it was solely the gentleman’s prerogative. According to the old Irish tradition, the Leap Year is the perfect chance for a woman to take matters into her own hands and get down on one knee.

Folklore suggests the tradition began in Ireland in the 5th century, with a deal brokered between St Brigid of Kildare and St Patrick. The trend spread across England when the Leap Year Day had no recognition in English law (the day was ‘leaped over’ and ignored, hence the term ‘Leap Year’). It was decided that a break in tradition on this day was acceptable. In Scotland women intending to propose are advised to wear a red petticoat visible to their love – perhaps to give them fair warning!

Kloof Street House

Weird and wonderful traditions aside, we suggest taking full advantage of the extra time you are gifted with by taking a romantic risk. These romantic restaurants in Cape Town should do just the trick, but if not, explain to your beloved that according to tradition, he or she owes you a silk gown or 12 pairs of gloves should they turn you down.


Cape Town’s Most Romantic Restaurants

Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia

Panoramic views over the Constantia Winelands, super slick contemporary decor, all shared over incredible small plates of explosive flavour that will have you and your partner simultaneously sighing with delight. Glorious wine from the estate. How could they resist? Read our full review here.


Bouchon Bistro

A hidden gem in the heart of the city, Bouchon Bistro feels like a shared secret. The lighting is low, with candles on each table – ideal for a romantic evening for two, or an intimate gathering of friends. Chalkboards display the daily tapas selection and waiters wear aprons, the gin trolley in the corner an alluring accent. Along with the posters displaying wine regions and the story of Dorrance Wines. Read our full review here.


Kloof Street House

Kloof Street House has long been a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike and once across the threshold, you will quickly see why. A lush, fairy-lit garden beckons visitors up the path and beautifully tiled staircase and inside the grand Victorian manor house that whispers with intrigue. Inside, candles, fringed lampshades and velveteen walls ensconce tables accommodate romantic dinner dates just as well as they do large, laughter-filled celebrations. Cocktails, wines and French-influenced food delights await. Read our full review here.


Shortmarket Club

We would be remiss not to include a Luke Dale Roberts wonder. While they are all worth a visit, The Shortmarket Club is perhaps the coziest. Wood and leather are used abundantly throughout the space and together with huge sliding doors that separate the bar from the main dining area, the vibe is sensory and low-key, rather like a speakeasy. Designer framed butterflies cover an entire wall adding a quirky touch to the restaurant, while white-coat clad waiters carry trays of delicious morsels and decadent desserts to be shared over candlelit whispers.

Visit their website for more.


La Mouette

Stepping through the cobbled courtyard, replete with tinkling fountain and fairy lights (perfect for al-fresco style dining on sunnier days), dining at La Mouette – located in a renovated Tudor home – is an experience. The food is French-inspired, complemented by the best South African wines, while the crackling fireplaces, hushed rooms and art-decked walls in jewel tones, might whisk you and your love off into sensory heaven. Read our full review here.


Toasting the occasion at Bascule Bar

Whatever you think of Leap Years, you will have reason to raise a glass. In 1928, Harry Craddock, a bartender who worked at the famous Savoy Hotel in London, invented a cocktail to celebrate the hotel’s Leap Day celebrations. This cocktail consists of gin, Grand Marnier, vermouth and lemon juice. Today, you can enjoy his lip-smacking mix at Bascule Bar amongst other iconic cocktails and whiskeys from around the world. We could not think of a better way to enjoy your extra day.


Blog post by Tarah Darge



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