Talking to Strangers
If you’re into killer tasting cocktails executed with care, but still want to have fun, this is a bar to get excited about. While an intimate environment, with comfy couches at one side and taller, more social tables at the other, this is set to be a high-volume venue with upbeat energy, with live DJs every week.
Both drinks and food will be conceptualised around the seasons, with fresh produce, the former taking their lead from the classics and the latter in the form of elevated street food.
The brainchild of Durbanite Nicholas Crouse – who believes that bars are important social institutions that facilitate human connection – Strangers (as it will undoubtedly become dubbed) is set to open its doors mid-January.
What makes it special: attention to detail, seasonal fare, late-night food, human connection
Address: 61 Loop Street, Cape Town
With a name like Vermouth, you can only expect good drinks at this understated hole in the wall on Strand, next door to the old Alexander Bar (which itself is soon to be reinvented – watch this space).
The bar itself seats four or five, allowing guests plenty of face time with the bartender, shooting the breeze about their shared love for all things aperitif. On the floor are several tables with seating, for those who want more space to tuck into the incredible authentic Spanish-style tapas being constructed on site. Naturally, wine too, is the order of the day here, to wash them down.
Vermouth is owned by Johnny Papadakis, long-time club entrepreneur who is slowing things down with this lovely spot.
What makes it special: aperitifs, tapas, relaxed vibe
Address: 78 Strand Street, Cape Town
Playing on the word ‘artesian’, this is a curated gallery-cum-bar space that features ever changing, specialised weekly events. It’s situated on a particularly sophisticated block of Bree Street, in the old Bacon on Bree duplex (which was next door to the gone-but-not forgotten Mother’s Ruin gin bar.)
Upstairs, you’ll find a breezy “light room” – great for snacks and easy drinks – while downstairs is the “dark room”, which is all about the VIP experience, focusing on bottle service and cigars. Overall, it offers an upmarket speakeasy atmosphere where you can move around according to your mood.
The cocktail programme was put together by Roxanne Read, which speaks volumes for its credibility.
What makes it special: dual experience, bottle service, cigars, gallery, curated events
Address: 217 Bree Street, Cape Town
Ariel Modern Italian
Once a pop-up concept inside neighbouring Jarryds in Sea Point, Ariel is now a full-blown resto-bar featuring Italian-inspired cuisine. With European-style street dining, it’s the kind of place you’ll want to linger for hours … having a bite here and there while you sip on whatever you fancy and watch the world go by.
While the finest imported ingredients make the Neapolitan pizzas and pastas hard to resist, there’s also a dedicated wine bar for patrons who are more interested in imbibing. Here, you’ll find both locally and internationally sourced wines, as well as classic and signature cocktails.
The drinks programme was conceived by Vlad Klaic, who’s also responsible for Nightcap (for those in the know), while the overall venue is part of the No Name Hospitality Group, run by brothers Jarryd and Ariel Segal.
What makes it special: wine bar, street dining, togetherness
Address: 90 Regent Rd, Sea Point