Cabrito Bar in Cape Town

The amigos behind El Burro bring their brand of watering hole to Green Point 

More tequila. That’s primarily what you need to know about Cabrito, the hip new Atlantic Seaboard haunt that’s destined to make regulars out of a fair chunk of the stylish lot that live in and around the area.

Opened in August 2013 by the four friends behind trendy Mexican restaurant El Burro, the intimate bar is the handsome, less ostentatious ground-floor cousin of its vibrant upstairs relative. Or to put it another way: if eating at El Burro is like tucking into authentic Mexican cuisine in Frida Kahlo’s whimsical lounge, then boozing just below at Cabrito is like sharing drinks with Diego Rivera in more rational quarters.

“In a nutshell, downstairs is a cool little spot to hang out,” sums up co-owner Nic Haarhoff. “Really, there was nothing in this style this side of Bree Street, and we wanted to expand our business, but not in a way that would mess with El Burro.”

More aptly, the chilled-out watering hole is to Green Point what The Power and the Glory is to Tamboerskloof. There’s no DJ, no live music, no quiz nights and no ambience-annihilating televisions. Cabrito, which means goat kid in Spanish, is quite simply a beautiful space where people can come to down a pint of craft beer, sip on a margarita and have a fat chat without the bother of gaudy distraction. 

“There’s no longevity in that kind of entertainment,” Nic explains. “And besides, we primarily build places where we [the owners] would like to go.”

The philosophy, at first glance, seems rather bold. But Nic, Rene Jellis and brothers Hugo and Sascha Berolsky aren’t just amateurs with a dream. They all had a hand in establishing Royale Eatery as a legendary burger joint, Neighbourhood as an iconic drinks spot and The Assembly as a live music mecca, and their more recent baby, El Burro (it turns three in October 2013), is well on its way to becoming another Mother City institution.

The Mexican restaurant has carved out a niche for itself thanks to its funky but homely design, delicious fare and a commitment to nurturing relationships with locals, and now Cabrito looks to follow in its footsteps.

While the new hangout may be without quirky Day of the Dead artefacts and playful Mexican paraphernalia, it holds onto the ‘South of the Border’ theme by treating bar flies to a large selection of tequila and mezcal. The vast and varied offering includes both South African favourites and agave imports that hail from across the Atlantic. Plus, a few familiar cocktails, like El Burro’s well-loved House Margarita and the Paloma (a heady mix of tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, agave syrup and soda) are also on hand, along with a small, snacky menu that boasts two of the second-level eatery’s mainstays: Chilli Rellenos (smoked jalapeños stuffed with cheese) and Nachos with Homemade Salsa.

Otherwise though, visitors can look forward to the usual craft beer suspects (both draught and bottled brews) as well as some distinctly South African bites, like biltong and droëwors.

So, pop in for a drink prior to heading upstairs for the famous fish tacos, saunter down for a dop after stuffing yourself with authentic enchiladas or simply park at one of the beautiful wooden bronze-inlaid tables. Just remember to be careful. As the old Mexican proverb goes: one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

*Photos compliments of Murray Mitchell of The Muzz

Tip: Keep an eye on the El Burro Facebook page for information about tequila tastings and tutorials at Cabrito. Nic plans to organise a few agave-centred educational events in the near future.

The Bill: As perfect for those on a budget as it is for those looking to splurge. A shot of tequila goes for between R20 and R150, craft beers range from R30 to R40, cocktails ring in at roughly R40 and non-craft brews cost R17.   

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 3pm –late

Ground Floor | Exhibition Building | 81 Main Road | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 433 2364

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