Aching for some good, old-fashioned rock music? Or is grunge more your thing? Perhaps a little garage topped off with some alternative jams? Needless to say, if your idea of a raucous weekday or weekend night includes serenades by Shirley Manson, then Cape Town’s newest upscale rock edge dive, Aces ‘N’ Spades, is a watering hole worth a visit.
Opened just off Long Street in August 2012 and occupying the Hout Street space once filled by Boo Radley’s, the seedy-chic bar was spawned from the imagination of owner Reg Macdonald, a man who “lives, eats and breathes rock ‘n roll.”
With stained glass skulls, dark wood panelling and a wall of fame featuring some of the greatest rock ‘n roll legends of all time, the place is as perfect for happy hour as it is for live performances; so, don’t be surprised when you find yourself clasping a Maker’s Mark – Reg’s preferred poison – while some of South Africa’s best local talent strums away in front of you.
“I moved back to Cape Town earlier this year, and saw the opportunity to open a bar that I would personally enjoy going to, I love rock and so I opened a rock-inspired bar,” Reg says, his passion for live music obvious.
The intimate Aces ‘N’ Spades promises a regular line-up of Mother City acts, and with row upon row of whiskey, brandy and all the rough stuff you would expect from a ‘good bar, where bad things happen’, rock groupies are in for a treat.
Though, there’s also well-made artisan brew for the less unfiltered. Along with hipster favourites – Aces ‘N’ Spades stocks both Brewers & Union and Darling breweries beer – you’ll find yourself in the company of some new faces: Devil’s Peak and Napier breweries are on tap, making for a choice of around ten different handcrafted beers.
If, however, you find yourself feeling a spell peckish, you’re going to have to give it some time.
“Whereas some watering holes are food oriented with the addition of a bar, Aces ‘N’ Spades is the opposite. This is a bar that offers some food,” Reg explains.
While not fully conceptualised yet, plans for a bar menu that’s locally-sourced, organic and reasonably-priced are in the making. However, Aces is not the place to come and fill up prior to a big night out…it is your big night out.
Similarly, you won’t find any VIP section or preferred entrants here. Just great music, great company and an open door; besides, with Iggy Pop and Bob Dylan as custodians, you know you’re in good hands.
By Gerhard Jacobs