Where to drink one of the world’s oldest cocktails + a recipe
Bar Keeper, your bottle store sommelier
Seamless in design and service, in store + online, you’ll find the normal range + rarer finds
Bottle stores don’t have to be dingy. Bar Keeper, with its flung-open vintage wooden doors, is airy and welcoming. “I just wanted to have a place where you actually want to come in, especially as a woman, instead of sending your boyfriend or partner,” says founder Carla Fernandes. This is not your ordinary bottle store, for sure: A cross between a Yuppiechef store and Banks, you'll find both variety and specialty products inside the stylish gray heritage building.
Bar Keeper was established in 2016. Image: Bar Keeper
EXPERIENCE AN ELEGANTLY DESIGNED SPACE
Seamless in design and service, including when ordering online, you can shop anything from one quality bottle of wine to 20 cases of booze for, say, your teens 21st, because Bar Keeper has a van, too, not just a scooter, for deliveries.
Local orders are dropped off the same day (within a 6km radius) and ice cold, when given notice (there is a note section for you to add any special requests when ordering online). Plus Bar Keeper is open every single day, except Christmas Day.
Celebrate any occasion with a bottle of bubbly, Veuve Champagne is a hot seller. Image: Bar Keeper
YOU WILL LOVE THE ELEGANT SPACE
“Happiness is around the corner,” are the first words you read, on the light screed floors as you enter the large, wooden doors of Bar Keeper.
Look up and you’ll see the expansive liquor offerings, which include everything from local alcohol, to rarer and bespoke items like Kikusakari Daiginjo, a Japanese sake, or the expansive range of tequilas like Don Julio 1942, Don Julio Reposado, Clase Azul Reposado, Codigo.
There’s an array of whiskies from the rest of the world, including single malt, blended, bourbon, Irish whiskey.
BROWSE BAR KEEPER'S CURATED COLLECTIONS
This array of options on known and rare products is what Carla was aiming for when she decided to start her own business: “An intuitive and welcoming browsing experience while offering customers a wide range of drinks, including international and local brands,” says Carla when talking about her initial vision for Bar Keeper.
Carla’s career in the industry began at her parent’s liquor distribution company, which they sold to the corporate that she later went on to work for, so she brings both experience and an innovative mind to this largely male-dominated industry.
Carla started her career in the liquor industry as a holiday job. Image: Bar Keeper
WANDER THROUGH THE SPACIOUS AISLES FOR GEMS
You’ll see her vision in the aisles, where each display is impeccably organised by themes and categorised with metallic gold signage above each shelf. This is so you can meander through the spacey aisles, which flow seamlessly from entry to exit, without getting in anyone's way.
Along the far sides are walk-in fridges, one stocked from floor-to-ceiling with craft beers such as CBC, Devils Peak, Darling Brew, Duvel.
Take your time browsing through the spacious isles, you’ll discover some gems. Image: Bar Keeper
BROWSE FOR CRAFTS, WINE AND CHAMPAGNE
Tucked in the back, is a cozy room, decorated with hanging copper lights, a long dark, wooden table with a bouquet of flowers in the centre, showcasing wines, bubbly and champagne from our Cape Winelands and abroad.
Alongside the well-curated offerings, Bar Keeper also stocks a selection of gifts. For the gin lover’s there’s Bloedlemoen gin gift packs, Secco spiced pomegranate and a Ginologist Snow Globe Gin (to name a few), as well as barware and specialty products like whisky stones and cocktail shakers.
Bar Keeper offers an array of fun kits to make cocktails, like dried fruits and spices to add to gin- also a great gift idea. Image: Bar Keeper
TRY THE NIFTY GIFTING SERVICE
There are a few geeky surprises at Bar Keeper. Like that when you gift something you’ve bought online or in store, it goes with a hand-written note and is delivered in gold, silver or dark grey wrapping paper with a bow and a sparkler on arrival. All you have to do is tick the gift box on checkout and add your personalized message for your any occasion gift.
“We love that whether you live around the corner or anywhere around the world, you can still surprise anyone with Cape Town’s Bar Keeper,” says Carla.
Your gifts will be wrapped at the till, ready to be given to someone special. Image: Bar Keeper
ORDER ONLINE AND GET IT IN AN HOUR (COLD)
You’ll find so much joy ordering online, too. A year after Bar Keeper started, they joined UberEats, and Carla noticed how people wanted the convenience, and were willing to pay for it.
She also thought: “This is mad to pay so much more. It makes no sense… the massive amount they charge the end client, us and then these poor Uber drivers.”
So Bar Keeper started its own e-commerce website and when Covid hit, two years later, they were ready, with a user-friendly and cheaper-than-UberEats experience (R40 delivery fee for customers in CBD and surrounds).
Orders are delivered via van (look out for the personalised logo on the van) or on scootours to zip around town efficiently. Image: Bar Keeper
GET YOUR BOOZE ORDER WITHIN AN HOUR
Once your order is ready for delivery, you're contacted via SMS. You can track the driver, who delivers in the branded Bar Keeper van. You should receive your order within an hour, if you are within a 6km radius.
Bar Keeper, the bottle store, is perched on the corner of Strand, but they deliver throughout South Africa, so you can enjoy the Bar Keeper experience wherever you are in the country. Deliveries to the northern and southern suburbs of Cape Town arrive between 1 to 2 working days and cost R70, while national deliveries take up to 5 working days at R130 delivery fee.
All orders are securely packed in custom boxes, ensuring your goods arrive undamaged (and cold). Image: Bar Keeper
For your convenience, when shopping in store, there’s a large, secure, parking bay (which is free for the first 15 minutes) directly opposite the entrance.
Note: No alcohol sold under 18 years, but everyone is welcome inside.
Bar Keeper is located next door to popular Marco’s African Place. Image: Bar Keeper
WHEN + WHERE TO GO
Bar Keeper is open daily (except Christmas)
Monday to Saturdays, 9am – 7pm
Sundays, 11am – 6pm
Public Holidays, 10am – 6pm
Find Bar Keeper bottle store: 103 Strand Street | Cape Town City Centre
Or order online: barkeeper.co.za
Contact them on: +27 21 422 1024, +27 82 339 1079, email@example.com, https://barkeeper.co.za/shop/
By Sarah Jarvis
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