Last night The Station on Bree opened on Bree Street, in a heritage (previously notorious) building, which is said to have housed a business of ill-repute called The Nunnery.
I received an invitation for the opening on Friday evening. I found parking nearby in the top section of Bree Street, which clearly is the absolute hit judging by the number of cars and partygoers spilling out onto the pavements of the street. I parked on what was the exit side of the party, cordoned off on both ends, and entered on that side, which the security man did not like at all! From that point onwards I had an absolute ball, being received and looked after with extreme friendliness.
I wanted to take photographs before it got dark, and was told initially that we were not allowed to enter the building before 19h00. When I asked to enter before then, business partner Andrew Boyce came to me, and asked me to enter the building with him, taking me on a personal tour of the two story building, of which I was totally in awe in terms of how the theme of the London Underground was executed in the decor of the building. One enters at the bar side, which was manned by three barmen in conductor uniforms and caps. Where one turns, one sees decor elements related to the theme: train tracks on the ceiling; a big video projection screen, with footage of trains arriving and leaving; directional signage to Bree Street; maps of the Underground with stops named after iconic musicians, e.g. Led Zeppelin; a shelf holding suitcases; straps with handles should one have to stand; fold-down tables; a R100 note painted on the floor which I saw one guest try to pick up; coach seating on the sides of the walls; a wall downstairs with train doors and ‘Mind the Gap’; and a DJ platform with ‘Underground’ branding behind it. Andrew has previously run a mobile bar company. He told me that it took some time to find a theme for the decor, but a brainstorm amongst the owners, and with the help of decorator Mandy Soulsby-Bodart, they came up with the innovative theme. He showed me the downstairs bathrooms too, which feel like train cabins.
Dance floors are on two levels, one of them ‘underground’, and DJ NaughtyNik got the party into full swing, with a mix of hits over the decades. I asked Nik whether he could play Calvin Harris’ latest hit ‘My Way’, and he did. The music was fabulous, and did not lose its energy. He was joined at one stage by Basel Grey, who sang his 5FM chart hit ‘Come back home‘, such a nice young man. He is the nephew of The Station on Bree owner Neil Basel (left).
Neil told me that they will initially only serve coffees and drinks, allowing the new establishment to settle in for a month before offering food, which is planned to be street food such as pita kebabs, bunny chow sliders, and falafels. In the mornings they will offer coffee and artisanal pastries. We were given coupons for drinks and coffee, which were designed to look like Underground tickets. Mischu coffee was available, and I tried their cold NitroBrew, served by two very friendly gentlemen. Cocktails (mainly gin-based) offered include Bakerloo, District, Jubilee, and Victoria, at R60 – R70, with five further cocktails to be added down the line. Colourful mini hamburgers and wraps, as well as fish canapés, were served.
The winelist has been prepared by Jacqueline Lahoud, of Winemag.co.za. Wines are available in the Gold Line (Krone Borealis Vintage Cuvee Brut 2015 at R270; Graham Beck Brut Blanc de Blanc 2011 at R360; Veuve Cliquot at R1500). The White Line offers Vondeling Petit Blanc Chenin Blanc 2015, by the bottle (R95) or by the glass (at R24), as a house wine; as well as Springfield Life from Stone 2014 (R180); Mother Rock Force Majeure Chenin Blanc (R125/R42); Eikendal Chardonnay 2014/2015 (R250/R85); and DeMorgenzon Maestro White (R290). Vondeling also supplies the house red, its Petit Rouge Merlot 2015 offered at R95/R24. Other red wines offered are Springfield Whole Berry Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (R245); Eikendal Charisma 2013 (R225/R75); Joostenberg Bakermat Cabernet Blend 2012 (R210); and Intellego Kedungu 2015 (R180/R60).
One of the happiest persons at the opening must have been Katie Friedman, who with her husband owns the adjoining semi-detached buildings as well as Orphanage in the next block. Katie fought a valiant fight to get The Nunnery to leave the building, via a Facebook and newspaper campaign!
The Station on Bree is in the trendy part of Bree Street, with its semi-detached buildings, housing restaurants and three other bars close by. It is bound to take off, and become hugely popular. I can’t wait to return!
The Station on Bree, 207 Bree Street, Cape Town. Cell 0828535408 www.thestationonbree.co.za Facebook. Twitter: @TheStationCPT Instagram: @thestationonbree
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein