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Hard Pressed Café in Cape Town
The new city centre gem that couples coffee and eats with old-school vinyl
Music and coffee...if there are two things that are core to the character of Yaron Wiesenbacher, owner of Bree Street’s new Hard Pressed Café, these are them. The first love stems largely from his long-term role as a DJ in some of Cape Town’s hottest after-dark venues; the second is born from youthful memories of his father’s buzzing Bulawayo-based café.
Not to mention, java is the “legal drug” (in Yaron’s words) that’s helped him survive many a late night and frazzled morning. So, when the time came to make the next move in life, he figured he’d open an old-school corner shop that’s an ode to both this beverage and the world of beats.
Not just any beats though; more specifically, those pressed onto shiny vinyl – a focus that reflects the founder’s recognition that locals are going back to loving the old LP.
“I think the world lost cool for a little while,” explains the Zimbabwean-born entrepreneur. “The fact that we now have access to so much music digitally is great, but people want to start collecting again...they want to be able to sit on the end of their beds and hold the sleeve in their hands while listening”.
Yaron is intent on helping Capetonians to have this pleasure, and so, his charming, beautifully designed outlet doubles as a record store and stocks more than 500 12-inches for sale. Vinyl zealots can count on picking up an assortment of nostalgic classics, including albums by the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Bee Gees, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Cliff Richard, as well as some of the latest work by contemporary artists like Lana Del Rey, Adele and Fall Out Boy. Plus, those who are more keen to simply take in tunes in the midst of the café’s stylish, heavily wooded setting can just lean back and listen to the soul-soothing crackle and hiss of the corner turntable, which spins sounds that are as rich and full as the shop’s unique blend of coffee.
Speaking of which, aside from cappuccinos, Americanos and the likes, Hard Pressed also serves up a few truly revolutionary inventions inspired by notable musicians – there’s the Flea (a triple espresso shot with a red chilli), the Amy (a crazy Winehouse-style blend of espresso, white chocolate chips and peanut butter) and the Wham! (a double shot mixed with coconut, butter and milk that’s sure to ‘wake [you] up before you go-go’).
Similarly, the theme of music is also woven through the venue’s detailed décor. Most notably, the chairs that hug the café’s wooden tables have an album cover printed on the base and distinguishable lyrics printed on the backrest, so visitors can look forward to leaning on famed phrases like “Ground Control to Major Tom, commencing countdown, engines on” and “By now you should’ve somehow realised what you gotta do”.
For those eager to hang out in this eclectic space a little longer than it takes to throw back a latte, there are also a few simple bites available – bagels, salads, sandwiches, gingerbread men, biscuits and brownies so tasty they’re worth breaking diets for. And although these treats aren’t the main focus at the store, Yaron stresses that “the things [he] does serve are the sort of things you’d come back for”.
Not that you need any other excuse to return to this little gem, particularly if either music or coffee is as close to your heart as it is to the founder’s. And if, like Yaron, you happen to be a fan of both, well, you’re likely to be hard-pressed to find a better blend.
Tip: Saturdays are family days at Hard Pressed Café, so bring along the kids and kick back with some great coffee and good tunes – there are enough puzzles, board games and books to keep the whole clan entertained.
The Bill: The shop’s prices are extremely reasonable as Yaron sees no reason to overcharge – when asked why his coffee is so cheap, he simply questions why everyone else’s is so expensive. A single espresso is R10, a cappuccino goes for R12, a latte rings in at R15 and food ranges between R15 and R45. As for the records, they cost from R60 to around R200, depending on quality and popularity, with a few incredibly rare finds going for around R600.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 7am – 5pm; Saturday: 8am – 2pm (once the café secures a liquor licence, it may open later on weekdays for after-work drinks)
Portside Tower | 1 Bree Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)79 066 8888
Interested in learning more about the revival of interest in the old record? Read about Cape Town’s vinyl revolution.
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