Have you ever wished you could jump through time? The desire to experience life in a different era, even if we haven’t lived through it before, is known as anemoia, and it’s actually a very common feeling. Maybe it’s the 70s you wish you were around for, or the roaring 20s (par the problematic socio-historic challenges of these times of course).
While we may not have time machines yet (at least, not any we know of) there are a few ways to travel back in time to a different era in Cape Town, and even forward.
Here are 6 bars that will transport you to a different era:
1. Athletic Club & Social
It’s believed that Athletic Club & Social was once owned by a pharmacist and sports fanatic who had a speakeasy in the establishment’s basement. As of such, the bar’s decor has capitalised on exactly that – 1920s vintage aesthetics. Boasting vintage sports specials and other glossy memorabilia from decades gone by (gramophones for one, are residents here) the spot will have you feeling like a Peaky Blinder.
There are three layers of the bar to explore from the balcony to the basement. And, true to Athletic Club’s energy, the drinks menu is in no shortage of old-time favourites.
- Where:35 Buitengracht St, CBD, Cape Town
- Website: The Athletic Club & Social
2. The Art of Duplicity
One of Cape Town’s favourite secrets no longer resides on the down-low. The Art of Duplicity, AKA the bar behind a famous chocolate shop in Cape Town, was named one of the best bars in the world last year, revealing its magic to the world. However, that hasn’t stopped the bar from continuing to operate like a speakeasy within its hidden Victorian warehouse walls.
Serving up jazz, delightful drinks and the allure of mystery as well as many themed events (yes, 1920 dress-ups!) this is one experience history lovers won’t want to skip.
3. The Moveable Feast
The Moveable Feast, a certified favourite for locals in town is one snazzy spot for nostalgic souls. It does after all take its name after a book by 20th-century wordsmith Ernest Hemingway. Are you in a French cafe in historic Paris, or at a disco from the 70s? The Moveable Feast says both.
The decor is reminiscent of the 20th century, maybe earlier, boasting plush red chairs, Persian carpets and a candle-lit atmosphere. However, as the night goes on, you’ll travel in time to an era of neon lights and the glow of the disco ball.
- Where: 13 Kloof Nek Rd, Tamboerskloof
- Website: themoveablefeast.co.za
4. Kloof Street House
Going to Kloof Street House feels like a time warp. Are you in a modern 18th-century mansion’s library? An established Nobelman’s garden? You’d be forgiven for forgetting that you’re actually in Cape Town and not in an episode of Bridgerton. Classy and adorned with bespoke finishings from a different time, the Victorian setting oozes charm. Love a good fireplace? Kloof Street House does too, making this spot a winter favourite. Filled with surprises, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for some like the travelling case bar.
- Where: 30 Kloof St, Gardens
- Website: kloofstreethouse.co.za
Blondie quickly rocketed to one of Kloof Street’s most loved spots after it opened early this year. Although the bar doesn’t say that it’s a portal to the 1970s and 80s, it undeniably feels like it. Attracting some of Cape Town’s hippest and most alternative characters, the Princess Diana-inspired joint has cultivated an energy from thrift and old-school music’s passions and has the nostalgic atmosphere to prove it.
Note: Blondie is closed until 17 July.
- Where: 71 Kloof Street, Gardens
- Website: @blondie_cpt
Back to the future we go. While not necessarily a bar per se(although the drinks are stellar) Hotel Sky’s Infinity Restaurant takes you to the future. The Hotel spoils visitors with robot-encounters rockets, and then a trip to dine amongst the stars. Offering quirky glamour and some of the best views of the City from mountains to oceans, Hotel Sky’ and its Infinity Bar will have you feeling like you pressed fast-forward on the timeline.
- Where: 9 lower along Street
- Bookings: Sky Hotel Bookings
- Reservations for Infinity: [email protected]