Why do we live in Cape Town? Is it the crystal ocean lapping at the sand, and then in the blink of an eye, heaving its dark, vigorous weight at the shore, flexing and puffing just to make sure we know who’s boss. Is it the majestic Table at which we all sit below, draping its ghostly white cloth that rises and falls and disappears all together? Maybe it’s the eclectic mix of people and culture that seems to defy convention and stereotype. The answer is all of the above. But of course, we cannot forget what really gets us excited. The bars.
We are very lucky to live in a town with such a diverse nightlife. With the risk of sounding clichéd, there is something for everyone. The key is finding the perfect bar for you. This is no easy task, as even with the plethora of styles, ‘vibes’, drinks, prices and music, we feel the connection between a bar and customer is quite intimate. It’s a multi-faceted relationship with four pillars of product, position, price and people. Then you throw in a slightly less tangible question: Is it passion or pretence? Let’s run down a few.
Caprice: The popular Camps Bay haunt (especially Sunday) that for us is less passion and more pretence. Yes, it’s a great position and if you like to see and be seen, it’s perfect. However, being packed in like sardines and having to shout ‘bomb’ just to get close to the bar doesn’t quite float our boat.
Yours Truly: Positioned quaintly in a leafy courtyard on Kloof Street, it has all the aspects of a great bar. Yet there is something missing, something not quite right. One feels slightly hollow and synthetic, no matter how much beer is consumed. It might have something to do with the hostel on the same premises that is governed mostly my models. So again, we lean towards pretence.
&Union: Now we do love this place, with its signature brand beer, great sausages and live music. So it certainly can’t be pretence? Yes and no. There is an undeniable passion that carries through and it’s a great spot to socialise, yet there is something vapid about the atmosphere. Alright, we’re being knit-picky, but these things are important to us.
Power & the Glory: One of the favourites. We frequent this bar – sometimes too much – because of the outrageously good hotdogs (order the classic), the large selection of craft beers and an eclectic playlist that can’t seem to falter. Ever. The smoking area is in the bar itself: Bonus 10 points. However, it can get very crowded in the small space, so sharing benches and tables with strangers becomes necessary. Sociable and outward going types will enjoy this, the more introverted and agoraphobic will not; although, they probably wouldn’t have made it out the front gate. Verdict? Passion 70 and pretence 30: some of the clientele are a bit furrowed in the brow.
House of Machines: This bar is relatively new, and even newer to us. A single visit to be perfectly accurate; which is all it took to fall in love. They have an immense pride and passion for their food, aesthetics and most of all their cocktails. The barman will only serve beer or wine unless the specific ice is in stock (don’t worry, it very rarely happens). The live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays is fantastic and the staff is talented and gregarious. They do what they do because they love it and because they are good at it. This is why we fall deftly and comfortably on the passion side of the fence.
*Note that we have had great evenings at all of the above, and encourage you to visit every one of them!