Orphanage Cocktail Bar

Orphanage Cocktail Emporium on Bree

The speakeasy-style home of experimental elixirs
Tuesday – Saturday: 5pm – 2am
(4pm – 2am in summer)
 
+27 (0)21 424 2004
227 Bree Street | Cape Town
www.theorphanage.co.za
pleasesir@theorphanage.co.za
@OrphanageClub
Orphanage Cocktail Emporium

Orphanage Cocktail Emporium on Bree

The speakeasy-style home of experimental elixirs and rhythmic melodies

Bree Street evolved into the beating artery of cool that it is today, there was the Orphanage Cocktail Emporium. Inspired by the clandestine appeal of speakeasies from the Prohibition era, the concept bar discreetly unlocked its doors in March 2012, bringing a slice of whimsy and intrigue to a part of Cape Town that was then still rather sleepy. Though a little cheeky and irreverent (the bold name pays homage to an orphanage that opened across the road in 1919), the venue had enough swank and class to quickly set itself apart from the debauchery of the nearby Long Street staples and enough personality to yield a commanding presence.

Handsome styling and an air of low-key sophistication quickly made regulars of well-dressed professionals and the young, hip crowd. A beautiful, dark wood bar, dimmed lighting, exposed brick and banquette seating give the space a moody allure, and a spy hole on the front door (a nod to the hush-hush speakeasy theme) and skeleton key lighting installation dangling from the low ceiling bring the quirk.

On opening, the bar and music joint also brought with it a new appreciation for the cocktail. Orphanage was one of the first haunts in the city to highlight the artistry of mixology, and it played an integral role in getting bartenders recognised as artisans. Similarly, the bar was one of the original ‘alchemists’, concocting its own homemade infusions, foams, elixirs and potions.

But as things go, the flux of time took its toll on the place. It changed ownership, years passed, and some of the heart and soul that made Orphanage what it is was lost.

With the return of original owner Ray Endean in late 2016, though, the tides have turned again for the stylish speakeasy. ‘We’re putting love back into the venue, while diversifying and changing a few things,’ he explains. The evolution involves fresh faces, a few tweaks to the furnishings (the addition of bar counters and balustrades to the street-side terrace, for example), a shake-up to the music line-up and a menu metamorphosis.

Mixology has always been a love of Ray’s – the freedom to experiment in this field was one of his motivations to open Orphanage in the first place – so the stage will still be reserved for cocktails, masterfully prepared and presented.

“Much of the pleasure around cocktail drinking is visual”, explains Ray; he would know: he’s trained bartenders across Africa and judged prestigious mixology competitions. “So the drinks need to pop in colour and flavour. Guests should be asking, ‘what’s that?’ as they go past.”

The current inclusions certainly have head-turning power: the ‘More Tea Vicar?’, a mix of vanilla-infused vodka, rooibos syrup, cranberry juice and lemon, delights by being served in a vintage tea cup; the ‘Swim & Tonic’ medley of chamomile-and-grapefruit-infused gin, tonic and cucumber comes in a Ziploc bag with two straws; and the tequila-based ‘Crematorium’ requires barmen to pass a flaming concoction between two milk jugs while on fire.

But Ray plans to take the menu up another rank with a tight new assortment of intoxications set to be launched in early December 2016. The 10 bespoke creations are still being developed, but word is we can expect edible flowers, essences, milk bottles, toasted poppy seeds (a playful reference to opium and heroin) and even Africa’s first porthole infuser.

The offering is meant to be inventive, but not intimidating. So you might come across odd eccentricities at Orphanage, but it’s still the sort of joint where you can sit back with a simple wine or beer if you prefer, while you watch after-work drinks roll into a (late) nightcap.

Of course, if you’re planning to stay for hours, a few nibbles are imperative. ‘Social eating is something we’re really trying to encourage,’ says Ray, and in line with this, the team has peppered the menu with finger foods like chicken tacos, sticky barbeque ribs, fillet slices with truffle oil and pecorino, and, in the near future, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, samoosas and sliders.

A little sustenance will ready you for Orphanage’s other strong suit: great music. The venue is back to catering to those with an ear for the melodious by regularly hosting eminent DJs, live acts and instrumentalists. The theme is anything from deep house to disco, with something off-the-wall thrown in from time to time, and the evenings often evolve into a proper party, turning the bar into a resounding pulse on the CBD’s radar.

Truth is, Orphanage may have been one of Bree Street’s first babies, but now that it’s matured into adulthood, the speakeasy is still doing its location on Cape Town’s slickest stretch justice.

Tip: Orphanage is a great spot for birthday parties and other functions. Platters and bottle service are available, and the bar can create a special cocktail just for you.

The Bill: Cocktails currently sit between R60 and R85, and tapas range from R45 to R75.

Opening Hours: TuesdaySaturday: 5pm – 2am (and 4pm – 2am in summer)

227 Bree Street | Corner of Bree and Orphan Street | Cape Town |+27 (0) 21 424 2004

---

Gin is one of the best ingredients to put in cocktails, and we've developed a guide to the best locally made gins in and around Cape Town!

Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City. 

 

Cape Town Events Calendar
September 2017
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

saflag1Things to Do this Heritage Day in Cape Town

Celebrate South African culture and history and make the most out of this annual holiday

Swordfern Exterior by NightSwordfern Hair Emporium’s Bring A Bro Hair Special

Bring your bro and get a haircut on the house from Swordfern

Cape Town Fringe - 2017 - 1Cape Town Fringe Festival

Find out why Cape Town is SA’s capital of creativity at this popular arts fandango

Cafe ExtrablattSunday Brunch at Café Extrablatt

Home to one of Cape Town’s most affordable all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets

Kelly John Gough solo exhibition at ODA GalleryAGAINST THE GRAIN: An Exhibition by Kelly John Gough

Oil meets wood at this unique fine artist’s showcase in a hip gallery

Ukhamba beerworxBeerworx Heritage Day Extravaganza

To beer, or not to beer?

Official Second Hand MarketSecond Hand Clothing Market in Cape Town

Market mad? A treasure trove of vintage goodies await at this retro affair

La Motte ConcertsClassical Concerts at La Motte Wine Estate

La Motte's culture of excellence reaches far beyond wine-making, by embracing the wonder of classical music

La MotteHistoric Walk at La Motte in Franschhoek

Discover interesting history and heritage of the Franschhoek area on the La Motte estate in the Cape Winelands

La MotteSip and Swirl the Nectar of Yesteryear at La Motte

You had me at Merlot

SwordfernSwordfern Hair Emporium’s Gender-Neutral Cuts

Cutting costs, and saving water, with gender-neutral haircuts at Swordfern

Bruce Little Gallery opening- Touch Africa exhibition 1Launch of Bruce Little Gallery in Stellenbosch

The artist’s gallery will be opening at its new location in Stellenbosch

decodanceWild West Presented by Decodance Night Club

Dress to impress for the Wild West

cape town comedy club logoHalf-Price Sundays at Cape Town Comedy Club

Laugh 50% off top-notch entertainment every last day of the week at this one-stop-funny-shop

EclecticaEclectica Design and Art Presents ‘Dream Rift’

Brush away all the facts, and journey to a world connected by dreams and realities

Painterly Group Exhibition‘Painterly’ Group Exhibition at the Grande Provence Gallery

The beauty of oil paint steals the show at this art showcase

Markets3Sunday markets in and around Cape Town

Take it easy this Sunday at one of these great Sunday markets to take a stroll through

Earthdance 2017 - 1Earthdance Cape Town

This epic global get-down kick-starts the Mother City’s outdoor party season with a bang at the much-loved Nekkies Resort!

We Cannot Be Silent Exhibition launch 2017Exhibition: We Cannot Be Silent at the Castle of Good Hope

A dynamic multimedia exhibition seeks to challenge ideas around gender violence in Cape Town. We Cannot Be Silent – it’s time to take action.

MAReSOLMAReSOL’s Mouth-Watering Winter Menu

This authentically Portuguese restaurant brings the heat this winter

sea kayaking 12 apostlesSea Kayaking Weekend Family Special

Buy one adult kayaking ticket and get a kids ticket FREE with Kaskazi

ScootoursJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every Sunday with Scootours®

This exciting off-road adventure provides fun for the whole family

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Children's Events Cape TownKids’ Party Special with Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag

Treat your little one to the ultimate military-style birthday bash and save R500

GONOW LogoGet a discount on Sunday Sunsets with GONOW Electric Bicycles!

Watch the sun set over the Sea Point Promenade from an electric two-wheeler at half the price!

grand-africa-cafe-and-beach-image-4Jazz Sundays at Grand Africa Café & Beach

See out the weekend with a cozy session at this iconic seaside destination in Cape Town

Food at Thali Thali Game Lodge and Reserve Sunday Lunch Buffet at Thali Thali Game Lodge

Cap off the weekend with a hearty, affordable spread at this family-friendly West Coast reserve

The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill Lounge

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R150 per kilogram on Wed, Sat and Sun

Dizzys Camps BayDizzys Beer Pong and DJ Sundays Competition

Are you Cape Town’s next beer pong champ?

Bugz Playpark in Cape TownSunday Funday at Bugz Playpark

Every Sunday, CapeTownMagazine.com readers can enjoy a day of fun and learning with their children.

Kloof Street HouseSunday Lunch & Free Live Jazz at Kloof Street House in Cape Town

While away the last few hours of the weekend with some smooth tunes and good grub at this hidden gem

Camissa Tour 5 2015Sunday Gospel Experience with Camissa

Embark on a spiritual Sunday journey through one of the Mother City’s most soulful settlements

Piano Bar 2016 food and cocktails 5Bubbly Special at The Piano Bar

Make this charming musical revue haunt home on Sunday afternoons for half price glasses of MCC

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.