Part underground watering hole, part theatrical entertainment hotspot, Knock Knock Bar, De Waterkant’s latest nightlife addition, is proof that Cape Town can, in fact, get even quirkier.
Opened at the height of the summer party season in December 2012, the off-the-wall over-21 club – it’s housed in Lord Somerset’s original horse stables – was conceptualised by the 3 Blind Mice, a three-man concepts agency that specialises in pop-up events. With a background in crafting temporary offbeat affairs, the trio have used their expertise to create a more permanent (albeit no less unusual) evening venue that, from the moment of arrival to the time of departure, sends visitors on a whimsical experiential journey.
“We wanted to create something that didn’t already exist in Cape Town,” explains one of the three mice; all the founders prefer to remain anonymous, a fact that only adds to the mystical allure of the haunt. “And we wanted to take everything that does exist and turn it on its head.”
So named because visitors are required to knock twice on the front door before being invited in (the first part of the full experience), Knock Knock Bar, which feels like something out of the Prohibition period, comprises three very distinct spaces. The first, the entrance area, is adorned like a doctor’s waiting room-cum-old-school gentlemen’s club, complete with vintage leather wing-back chairs, Persian rugs, a heavy reception desk (manned by host Madame Knock Knock) and a crackling, crooning 1890s record player. The second, which guests must traverse to reach the final room, is a small, ever-evolving themed theatre space that sees performers act out different narratives in and around passing patrons, and the third is the main bar, decorated like a traditional speakeasy.
It is in this key area, a stripped-back venue that boasts bare brick walls, exposed beams and wine barrels and wooden crates in its corners, where the drinking and dancing takes place. In an effort to keep things simple, the bar serves a small but diverse assortment of personally conceptualised cocktails, signature shooters (one of which is served in a teacup), Jack Black and &Union craft beer, champagnes and one standard and one premium version of everything else (wine, gin, vodka and the like). A few unfussy food dishes are also in the pipeline (rumour has it they’ll be making cheese platters; they are mice after all).
Because themed nights are a focus, the club also offers a different music experience each evening it’s open. Wednesday nights are dedicated to electro swing, Thursdays to hip hop and Fridays to old-school funk, and the decks are spun by a mix of guest artists and resident DJs, including the popular Honey B.
Despite having certain consistencies though, the pub’s emphasis is always on the unpredictable.
“This isn’t the kind of place you’ll come once and then know what to expect the next time,” says one of the co-founders, a young entrepreneur who’s as quirky as the venue.
So, unlike so many other nightlife spots in the Mother City, it would seem that Green Point’s new Knock Knock Bar is set to be always surprising, always evolving and always promising an entrancing experience.
Tip: Knock Knock Bar has a no effort, no entry policy, and the door person may turn away patrons that haven’t put thought into their outfit. As the feel is gentlemen’s club-cum-Prohibition speakeasy, come dressed in 1920s attire (though, anything a little off-the-wall will do).
The Bill: Drink prices are fairly standard. Craft beers go for between R20 and R40, cocktails are priced at between R40 and R45, a double shot and mix also costs from R40 to R45 and a bottle of champagne will set you back anything from R170 to R900.
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Thursday: 9pm – 2am; Friday: 6pm – 2am (subject to change)
The closure may not be particularly positive or happy
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