Cool Spaces: La Boqueria

WORDS Biddi Rorke IMAGES Marijke Williams

This restaurant and bar space in Johannesburg caught our eye. Take a look at La Boqueria’s Bar in Parktown North.

The Hispanic street market-style dishes at this Parktown North restaurant are reason enough to visit, but before you start eating, have a seat at the bar and take in the eclectic decor in front of you. Apart from the wonderfully warm lighting (this place really is a masterclass on how to light a restaurant), you’re looking at a bar made of repurposed Post Office box doors topped with a huge slab of white marble.

Behind that is a double-volume wall adorned with refurbished mid-century display cabinets. Former owners Ryan Stroebel and Gary Hollywood did the decor and the pair scoured everywhere from salvage yards to furniture boutiques for materials to create this unique display-slash-storage solution for the bar’s liquor bottles. “It was all about thinking locally – and laterally,” says Ryan.

“Gary and I trawled places like Re-Trend and Modernist for these one-of-a-kind units. We then chopped off the legs, arranged them on the back wall, backlit them for extra impact and stocked them with liquor, greenery and artefacts.”

Plastic sports stadium seats, reframed with slick steel and upholstered in oxblood leather, flank this generous space. And the lateral thinking doesn’t stop there. Lights on the bar counter resemble the headlights of Royal Enfield motorcycles, while the overhead lights are repurposed from truck radiator air filters.

The result is an area that succeeds in making a large space both quirky and warmly inviting.

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