As Cape Town’s CBD slowly reboots itself with a locals-centric approach, a new devilishly handsome little cocktail spot named Below Bree Prohibition Cocktail and Music Bar just opened.
You’ll find the hidden, underground bar on the cool strip of Bree street, nestled between La Parada and Burger & Lobster. But all the buzzy energy of that area instantly disappears for a much more sophisticated, intimate mood the moment you enter the space.
With a mix of plush velvet seating, vintage furnishings and dimmed lighting, this Cape Town speakeasy leans in heavily towards the roaring twenties with Gatsby-era glam. A small stage area serves as an indication of things to come – live performances and experiences are certainly on the radar.
Below Bree is a recipe for success and comes stacked with some big guns. Co-founder Raymond Endean is a heavy-hitter in the local bar scene and widely credited with launching ‘the bar that started cocktail culture in South Africa’. Other achievements include Asoka, as well as keeping the legendary The Orphanage Cocktail Emporium in thrive mode for 5 years. So Endean certainly has an intrinsic understanding of top-notch nightlife experiences that appeals to locals and visitors alike.
The cocktail lineup is short and concise, crafted by award-winning mixologist, Andrew Copsey (ex Ideas Cartel). Copsey serves up some seriously sharp and smooth drinks that are understated yet hit the mark. Most of his mixes are perfectly balanced to make sure flavour profiles flow together and do not wrestle for your attention. It’s somewhat of a shift from the showmanship trend we’ve been seeing in most cocktail bars in Cape Town.
A prime example is ‘The English Garden’, which instantly won us over with its paced blend of botanical aromas served in a minimalist highball, and topped with an elegant white Baby’s Breath flower. Definitely a must-try when you visit.
The price points at this cocktail lounge are competitive, and pretty much on par with most bars in the city. For now, light meals are served via La Parada and their tapas fare actually fits in neatly with the drinks. But the bar will ultimately create their own menu to match the drink offering and vibe of the space.
With a unique approach to cocktails and an atmosphere that feels both exclusive yet accessible, Below Bree Prohibition Cocktail and Music Bar already looks set to become one of the city’s late-night stalwarts.
Where: Bree Street (below La Parada), Cape Town
When: Thurs to Sat, from 6pm till late