Banging techno beats and a naughty theme come together for a jol that promises ...
The Reserve club in Cape Town
--- The Reserve club in Cape Town closed at the beginning of 2013. To find another chic drinks and dancing hotspot in Cape Town, consult our nightlife section. ---
The Reserve club in Cape Town closed at the beginning of 2013. To find another chic drinks and dancing hotspot in Cape Town, consult our nightlife section.
Money talks at the The Reserve, the Cape Town city centre club that’s provided the affluent with an acceptable playground for the first time since Rhodes House closed its doors in 2008.
Or more specifically (and for the homebodies and late-adapting hanger-on-ers), if nightlife venues are merely dressed-up predatory landscapes, consider this a little piece of jungle where the rich and famous hunt the beautiful and luxurious.
The venue’s name is as much a nod to the money-mongering architecture of the past (it’s the old Standard Bank building straddled by Adderley Street and St Georges Mall) as it is to the current entrance policy and the wealthy atmosphere within.
Or, as host-extraordinaire Justin Paul explains in reference to the exclusive admission concept (the venue initially started out with a guest list-only ultimatum and still throws invite-only parties), “With a nightclub, you have to protect your territory; you have a certain cache of person that you want in your venue.”
In short, surfers stay out. Unless you leave your board at home and exchange your Billabong for Armani, The Reserve’s doorwoman (that’s right, it’s a lady’s discriminating eye that says yay or nay) is likely to turn you away faster than you can say, “chip roll” or “nooit bru”.
The dress code is smart casual, and looking the part very much plays into the elements of voyeurism and showmanship that premiere, quite fittingly, in a place that beckons socialites and where power lies in the spend.
“The way the club’s positioned, everyone’s looking at everyone. Not to mention, one of our greatest features is the raised flooring that lines the couches. Whether you’re a bit of an exhibitionist, or whether you just like to show off your wares - like your newly enhanced cleavage, your Manolo Blahniks and your new Gucci dress, - you can do it here,” demonstrates Justin with a shimmy.
And, with a small dance floor and a see-and-be-seen vibe, it’s not only these pseudo performance platforms that turn into spaces to shake it. The aisles, plush purple couches and even the tabletops are all fair game at The Reserve.
“We have our ground rules – like you have to be over 25 to enter – but once you’re in, there’s very little we’ll say no to.”
A point perhaps best illustrated by Justin’s story of a corset-clad woman wearing a Darth Vader helmet filled with firecrackers presenting a purchaser with a R30,000 bottle of champagne.
Needless to say, they like to get creative at The Reserve. Aside from décor that could best be described as Frida Kahlo kitsch meets opulent old-world Europe – think grandiose chandeliers with strobe lights, vaulted 12-metre-high ceilings lined with smoke machines and lasers, a giant bird cage-cum-DJ booth, coloured velvet couches and massive Amazonian murals – the venue regularly plays host to themed parties: MoFunk, Yes We Cannes and Thriller concepts, to name a few.
“We try to create an element of fun, and we think we’ve got a recipe that works,” Justin asserts.
It goes without saying that The Reserve team’s entertainment efforts are helped along by a clientele that takes inebriation seriously.
Like a club in the chic Meatpacking District of New York City or on the stylish streets of London’s SoHo, the venue is all about the bottle service. Party-goers are encouraged to reserve a table for the evening by buying a bottle of champagne or top-shelf liquor (Belvedere vodka, Johnny Walker Black whiskey, etc.). The tables are set up with ice buckets, mixers and glasses, and those who can afford the steep cost of renting one of these club cockpits can party like kings or queens for the evening.
Of course, sharing is caring, and the more you have to give, the more attractive you become to those around you. Thus, the rich get richer and the poor get drunker, a phenomenon most appropriately attributed to the fact that the party animals at The Reserve are of a distinctly different breed to what you’d normally find at most city centre clubs.
After all, it’s not the newly graduated that have wallets to unstuff at a place like The Reserve. It’s the suave and slightly older that have the expendable income to flirt with bottles of Dom, not quarts of Black Label.
Thus, those pining for a night out among Cape Town’s elite need look no further. Simply put on your best cooler-than-thou attitude, your swankiest outfit and mince or swagger your way down to Cape Town’s most famous pedestrian mall for a night of frivolity and fun at The Reserve.
Opening Hours: Friday and Saturday only, 10:30pm – 2am
Tip: Entrance is free before 11pm; thereafter it’s R100. Additionally, from time to time, ladies are entitled to free cosmopolitan cocktails before 11:30pm, so go early.
111 St Georges Mall | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 76 154 0758