From contracted murders to crimes of passion, South Africa has seen many high-profile cases gripping the nation with their trails, judgements and appeals.
While most wrapped up towards the end of last year, many have spilled into 2017 and continue to transfix us through the media. With the current hype surrounding the Van Breda trial, it is evident that local lawyers and attorneys are hard-pressed for some time away from the courtroom. If you’re looking to rub shoulders with some of them, we’ve scoured the Mother City to find just where these legal minds go to ponder their latest developments, or completely escape from the onus of jurisprudence.
CAPE TOWN CLUB
Located next to the High Court, and just a stones throw from the prestigious Huguenot Chambers, Cape Town Club is a gentlemanly burrow with colonial flair. The hard-wood furnishings, leather armchairs and chesterfield couches are reminiscent of the stoic architectural masterpieces by Sir Herbert Baker, who designed the club in 1898. An exclusive members-only bar is where you’ll find an advocate congregation, as they unwind with craft beer and indulgent malts. Its warm and homely atmosphere complements a burning wood fire and old-style library that enshrines an archive of South African history.
TWANKEY BAR AT THE TAJ
Indeed a rare find, this ritzy little gem is shrouded in Cape history and culture on the corner of Wale and Adderley street. Twankey Bar is nurtured in what was once the Temple Chambers – the old BOE building – its title given to it as a tribute to the Barristers of the Supreme Court, who had their offices there. Today, the bar continues to showcase the building’s neo-classical design and exudes the same grand, yet calm, ambience of tradition and wealth. Spectators vested in the ins-and-outs of on-going cases will easily spot droppings of lawyers loosening their ties and turning up their cuffs on a Friday afternoon. Hearty meals and a lavish cocktail menu serve as the custodian for the bar’s trademark high class and quality. Award-winning mixologist, AJ Snetler uses carefully crafted methods to ensure every infusion, syrup and garnish is made from scratch.
HIDDEN GIN BAR
The Hidden Gin Bar is just that – an undercover rendezvous for Cape Town’s inner circle. Perhaps it’s convenient (yet secret) CBD location, or it’s rustic courtyard with high walls that block you out from reality, but this pocket-sized Victorian-style bar is a magnet for judiciary-figures in the Wale street vicinity and surrounds.
95 ON KEEROM
Just off Parliament and the Company Gardens is nestled a casual yet elegant Italian eatery. Circa 1682, this location originally housed the stables and slave quarters of the Dutch East India Company, which lend to the fascinating features of the restaurant’s now eclectic aesthetic. Original elements such as the facade and exposed brick walls have been cultivated to create a modern, open-plan hotspot for the city’s high-flyers. With the Cape Town High Court just up the street, here is where you’re bound to find members of council or run into judges as they step out for a lunch time intermission.
The same head chef of 95 on Keerom, Giorgio Navas, transferred his signature Mediterranean fare to a sleek and stylish steak-house in the heart of CT’s legal district. The restaurant’s industrial vibe is coupled with paired-down dishes that highlight the meaty focal point. Alongside prime beef, lamb and venison, the menu boasts unique options of beef carpaccio, veal sweetbreads or superb raviolli filled with slow-baked shoulder of Karoo lamb. The cosmopolitan crowd features many a hungry legal worker, who frequent here after a hard day’s work leaves them ravenous.
Another firm favourite of members of The Cape Bar, Cafe Frank offers nutritious, fresh, canteen-style dining for lunch on-the-go. A short walk from chambers, health-conscious lawyers and attorneys often make a stop here to replenish with salads, tasty chicken or wholesome snacks. Not the usual hardened man-cave of bars and clubs, this cafe injects a light-hearted approach to the taxing and serious tasks undertaken by some of the country’s most esteemed public servants.
Photography Archives/Courtesy/Cindy Taylor