They call it the pub-crawl for two reasons. 1. There are pubs. 2. The involvement of such pubs occasionally results in the action of crawling.
This fact leads us to conclude, that it is our own best interest to rouse bedlam in pubs conducive to crawling. What characteristics determine crawl-worthiness?
- CLEANLINESS. To pub-crawl is one thing, but to be in a pub already crawling with bugs and Dickensian dodge-cats is a deal breaker. Moreover, hoping optimistically that visible symptoms of Hepatitis F don’t materialize, as a result of braving bar snacks, can somewhat suck the fun.
- Hence requirement two: GOOD BAR SNACKS. In a less then solid state, culinary surprises (and I’m talking about the Halloween trick rather than treat variety) leave something to be desired – usually the contents of our stomachs… back in our stomachs…
- The final, crucial component of the good pub-crawl – AMBIENCE. Disapproving throat-clearing and look-down-the-nose looks responses to Black Label requests, hardly encourage jollity.
In light of these crucial components, a list of Cape Town’s preferred pubs:
Forrester’s Arms, affectionately referred to as “Forries”. Superb gourmet pizza (try the springbok capraccio pizza), bustling atmosphere, and a houseful of red-faced, referee-resenting beer-boep “ballies” (on match days), is what to expect. With a five star pub menu; a variety of draughts, cocktails and wines; a fireplace for cold days and an outdoor area for warm days, Forries really is a best-of-everything pub.
Try Barrister’s, just around the corner. A little less raucous and a touch more mature, Barrister’s is perfect for what starts off as “a quick drink after work”.
The intimate Elephant and Barrel, Franschhoek, has a selection of the most ludicrous cover singers I have ever heard (and I come from a long line of tone-deaf-denialism). From teenagers to twenty-somethings, to farm-workers and farm-owners, everyone is up and semi-jokingly gyrating by the end of evening – proof of just how hard the Elephant and Barrel throws down. A clean venue, cheery staff, and communal bonding (through ridicule of musical acts) catalyses merriment, and puts this pub up in the five-star range.
The Dubliner is always brimming with people and bursting with song. Curtained poker rooms, overly-enthused cover bands and the spirit of the Irish, keep this pub abuzz. For a slightly quieter, Irish pub vibe, stop by Catu Bar, near Greenmarket Square.
Quay Four, with seating right up to the water’s edge, has a striking view of the harbour. A great selection of draughts, really good ol’ pub food (fish and chips, burgers, and the like) and fresh, ocean air keep it classy.
Also situated at the V&A waterfront is Mitchell’s. Be warned, as the unofficial Chelsea fan-house of Cape Town, Mitchell’s is pretty riotous on match days. A great venue and a must-do for the pub-crawl – nothing but good fun.
For something different, in the way of pubs, stop by Ganesh and Tagore’s in obs. Ganesh keeps the charm of the township tavern kitchen – serving traditional meals and unbelievably cheap quarts. In the meantime, Tagore’s is a hidden away Moroccan-feel bar that attracts the bohemian and the hippean and offers up a frantic line up of live Friday night jazz.