Just as fashion and decor have their trends, so too do beverages and the niche places that cater to them. First vodka, then tequila, and now the apparent new fab fad is gin. When I heard a new gin bar had opened up on Bree Street, I was immediately excited and went to check it out. But, as much as I love the concept, I left feeling disappointed.
It was a Friday after work and Mother’s Ruin was packed. It’s small with only a few wooden bar tables upstairs and a small courtyard downstairs. The decor is simple, somewhat bare with harsh overhead lighting that, if adjusted, could create a more ambient mood. The menu opens on to a list of cocktails, which, although they sound delightful, are a tad overpriced. I opted for the Soixante Quinze (gin perfume, MCC and lime) which went for R58. Unfortunately, the bubbly was flat and unbubbly, my second warning sign.
You can also choose from the olden day classics, like a Dirty or Twisted Martini, Casino Royale and Gimlet. The Gin Re-invented menu includes the Marmalade Tea, (gin, Sencha tea, marmalade, bitters) and Laurence of Arabia (gin, dates, honey, tonic), among others. Creative, I’ll give them that. We headed to the bar for our second round but after waiting 20 minutes for barmen who perhaps talked more than they served, left.
I thought it may have been a bad night – Friday in Bree Street is always pumping, so perhaps they were taking strain (which is no excuse really, considering every other place on the strip seems to cope despite being packed with patrons). I returned on a weeknight to give it a second chance. Ditching the cocktails, we opted for an age-old G&T in the lounge downstairs. You can choose your gin from an impressive list of 72 local and international gins, choose your tonic water and garnish and voilà! After a first round of Inverroche, and a second of a Madagascan gin with a slice of mango (who knew they made gin in Madagascar? That’s pretty cool, I’ll admit), we moved upstairs.
The bartenders are friendly, but the service is slow as a result. With a growing crowd, drinks need to be made more quickly, so management might want to tighten up. Little things perturbed me (like Inverroche being spelt wrong on the menu, a bit disconcerting in a gin bar) but there were larger issues to be addressed such as the limited seating and expensive menu – this is not the start of a cheap night out, and they shouldn’t price themselves out of a competitive Cape Town market.
But they’re new, and maybe still getting up on their feet, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. As I said, gin’s trending. Perhaps Mother’s Ruin just needs a bit more time to reach its potential and trend too.
Where 219 Bree Street, CBD
Trading hours 4 pm – 1 am daily TBC!
Contact +27 82 455 2223, www.facebook.com/mothersruincpt