Cool Spaces: Bar Keeper Liquor Store

WORDS Amelia Brown

The newly opened Bar Keeper, located in one of Cape Town CBD’s till recently neglected heritage gems, is like no liquor store you’ve been into before.

Picture industrial concrete floors, sleek metallic surfaces and solid wood; cool, contemporary pendant lighting, understated downlights and spots displaying sparkling bottles; bespoke shelving and glass cabinetry; and a boardroom-esque 14-seater table with leather chairs for chic urban tastings. Not to forget the walk-in wine cellar and two beer cellars showcasing local craft beers and imported ales.

The sought-after address in the CBD has all the right historic credentials. The building was once the head office of the Van Ryn Wine and Spirit Company Limited, the oldest established wholesaler and retailer of wines and brandies in the Cape. Its structure was left untouched and all measures were taken to restore the exterior facade to its former glory.

Hendre Bloem, of Hendre Bloem Design, was responsible for the transformation. The design aims to create a nostalgic feeling, incorporating old with the new. The iconic arched entrance –­ that retains the Van Ryn signage – remains, with solid timber doors, hand-baked bricks and detailing reminiscent of the rich history of the building. Contrasts are at play – the bringing together of the old world and the new, light and dark, natural and manmade, and raw against polished.

The interior is all monochrome moodiness. A series of black laser-cut screens naturally delineate the space, partially concealing and revealing areas and creating artistic patterns of light and shadow. Solid woods in various finishes bring to mind textures found in distilleries. Shiny metallics and leather further break the monochrome of the utilitarian black metalwork, used in elements throughout, including the slatted facade at one of the entrances, further adding to the industrial atmosphere.

Visit Bar Keeper Liquor Store at 103 Strand Street, Cape Town or check it out on Facebook.