Review: 2 new gin bars in Cape Town

Posted on 28 September 2015

Gin seems to be the spirit of the month. In the October 2015 issue, we found some delicious gins that you should be trying out – but if you’re not in the business of buying fancy liquor without tasting it first, we also reviewed two new gin bars in Cape Town. You know. For journalism.


Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.


1. The Gin Bar

Step through the chocolate shop, past the gatekeeper and young folk in urban hats in a facebrick courtyard, smell the old pine and candle wax and ask the apothecary for a remedy to soothe your soul… or ease your heart, clear your head or stoke your ambition. This is The Gin Bar – a small spot behind Honest Chocolate on Wale Street that makes faux-remedy cocktails for life’s ailments with the white spirit that’s on everyone’s lips – gin.

The menu looks like it’s been thunk up by soothsayers and cocktails include cardamom, juniper berries, star anis, rosemary, mint, passion fruit, cinnamon and basil. At first, unlikely combinations but it’s all about the mixing, and of course the gin. Forget Tanqueray and Beefeater – here we drink Hendricks and Hayman’s and locally produced Inverroche and Jorgensen’s. There’s a limited menu and each cocktail is mixed with care, and a little flair. You’ll stay for more than one.

Where: 64A Wale St, Cape Town (behind Honest Chocolate).
When: Open Wednesday to Sunday, 18:00 ’til late.
Contact: 0767658306


2. Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar

Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar is not the sort of place in which you’d get motherless. First, the drinks are so delectable – like icy biomes blooming with cucumber, grapefruit and strawberries – that chucking them back would seem downright disrespectful. Second, the tranquil surrounds – screeded floors, blue-grey walls, clean wooden tables and those bally-hangy plant things that seem to be the decor du jour – are more suited to quiet tete-a-tetes than boozy belligerence.

The bar stocks an eye-boggling selection of gin from all over the world. We tried a straight-up G&T, made with Farmer’s organic gin (from the US), and became all swoony over its subtle coriander flavours. The Klein Slaaitjie cocktail – gin, elderflower cordial, tonic, fresh mint and cucumber – was a fresh, summery winner. After a few more tipples, we had to tear ourselves away lest we started the slide into ruination, stole cheese off other people’s platters and lowered the elegant tone.

Where: 219 Bree Street, Cape Town.
When: Tuesday to Saturday, 16:00 to midnight (winter) and Monday to Saturday, 16:00 to 01:00 (summer).
Contact: Tel 082 681 6601
We’ll be keeping our eyes and ears peeled for new gin bars across the country: let us know if you find one!

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