So as we all know, the majority of Cape Town has disappeared to Europe, despite Brexit, ISIS, passport control, exchange rates and the economic crisis, I guess Capetonians really do not have a care in the world. However, some of them got their dates wrong, hence why I am sitting at Alexander Bar with Carly, who has just got back from a 3 week trip around Europe – just as everyone else is leaving.
It is a stormy Monday night in Cape Town, we made plans last week, but at 18:00 I was in my pjs watching TV, wrapped in a fleece blanket and not planning on moving and then got a WhatsApp from Carly saying, “Looking forward to tonight, can you fetch me at 7?” …f***. Slightly upset but more excited.
Originally we had planned to go to Mulberry and Prince, but they were closed, which seems to be norm lately – wish they would update their website and actually tell the population when they are actually opening. So we went to the next best option, Alexander Bar, Café and Theater. Which turned out to be rather fantastic.
We walked inside and it was a quiet, homey atmosphere and the smell of home cooked meals – enchanting on a night like this. It’s got leather couches, vintage décor and old portraits and paintings on the walls. Every table has a dial telephone, this is used to call the bar and order drinks or to call the waiter to order food – dial 9 for the bar, most important. You can also call other tables, enticing people to converse with others all over the bar. The people who come on a Monday are generally going to watch one of the 30 – 40 minute plays they have on a daily basis, so at 20:00 everyone went upstairs and it was just the two of us.
The menu came and we both got overwhelmed by the alcohol to food ratio – the food has half a page and the other 8 pages of the menu is cocktails, beers, whiskey and then lots and lots of wine, with the last page being the theater schedule. With the food ranging from R35 to R120, it is very affordable for students or those wanting to splash a little.
Carly ordered the English Julep – Inverroche gin, mint, lime juice and earl grey tea, and I got a single Glen Grant. After a while of European storytelling, we decided to get some food. Carly ordered the chicken burger and I ordered the beef lasagna. The chicken burger was huge, not very photogenic, but huge. The buns were emptied – so no dough – and some fillings were put inside, the chicken breast was almost bigger than the plate and there was melted cheese everywhere! The beef lasagna was really good as well, homemade and delicious, did not last long. It was very fitting for the Monday night rainy weather, a satisfying meal. After main course and some drinks we contemplated getting pudding, when the waiter came we decided to get the menu and see what they had. Both agreeing we would only have pudding if they have malva pudding on the menu. We got the menu, they had cupcakes, ice- cream and, surprise surprise, malva bladdy pudding. Luckily, for my waistline and sugar levels, they only had one left so we decided to share it – half the calories, half the exercise needed, win – win.
After we had eaten, we went home full and happy.
Just a bit of extra reading…
The bar is rightly named after Alexander Graham Bell, hence why they have all the telephones and the vintage atmosphere. The owners also share the middle name, Alexander, so it is all very fitting. As quoted in the menu, “They created the bar in a fit of rage because all the other bars had TV screens playing sport on them. Awful.”
There was an empty space upstairs which they created into a theater, after failed attempts of making it into office space for people to rent, and it has become a very successful part of their business. Operating six times a week, with different shows and an exciting mixture of local and international talent on their stage.
Loyalty program and Florins:
As described on their website:
You’ll receive a ƒ100 voucher for every R1000 you spend. Vouchers are awarded on Mondays. ƒ1 = R1 and you can use your Florins for anything at Alexander. Where’s the catch? Not really any catch, except that the Florins do eventually expire after a couple months. You don’t need to carry around any special card. Just that 5-digit number which you can keep in your head. If you forget it we can easily look it up for you. Once you have Florins due they are automatically deducted from your next purchase.
PS: They also accept BitCoin at the bar, for those who have the digital currency.
Go have a look at Alexander any day of the week, or on the busy First Thursdays, and you won’t be disappointed.