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05/08/14 The Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, South Africa

The Orphanage is less that corner bar on the street and more a domicile for substantial tipple. At the intersection of Bree and Orphan streets in South Africa’s city center, those in search of quality cocktails can find them in a speakeasy where coarse brick intermingles with a mahogany bar and candles held by ornate wall fixtures cast their warm glow. While hints of Gatsby-like splendor can be found in banquettes with undulating backrests and a chandelier strewn with old-world keys, the bartenders tend to look forward when it comes to their concoctions.


“It’s all about pushing the boundaries of the cocktail craft, so our barkeeps are always experimenting with new ingredients and trends, finding new flavors that work together and sometimes ones that don’t—although with our talented bunch, this is a rarity,” says cheeky barkeep Brent Perremore, who suggests The Crematorium, a new addition to the menu. For those “in for something a little more daring,” a blend of tequila, smoky, mescal, ginger, orange spice syrup, and fire, served in a glass bottle and wrapped in a brown paper bag. Fresh produce also ups the spiritedness of drinks, especially when infused with mint, celery, basil, chili, and passion fruit picked daily from The Orphanage’s garden.

Tea Vicar

There’s more heart in the mix, as well. Named after the street where orphan children used to gather in the early 1900s, the establishment’s signature cocktail, the More Tea Vicar?, is a tribute to the nearby Children’s Home. For each Vicar sold, a percentage goes to the actual orphanage, “proving you can party with a conscience,” says Perremore.

At least for patrons, refuge can be found in a cozy space with a few more surprises: a secret upstairs room where DJs take up residence and a dining room where tapas such as lamb buns and patatas bravas are served by girls in waistcoats. Enough to make any nocturnally weary soul feel at home.

Neighborhood Recommendation: “We simply love our neighbors. On the left, we have the fabulous MissiBaba & Kirsten Goss for gorgeous swag to covet, the yum-yum delicious Sababa for the best lunch in town, and the stylish John Jacob, which offers interiors to die for. On the right, we all get our bits trimmed at Mop Hair. Down the road, there’s interiors store Pezula—we suggest you get anything and everything Madwa, from bags and baskets to palm stools and raw silk textiles.”



DJ Booth with bottle draws


Dirty Mary