Tiger Tiger club in Cape Town

Out on the prowl for Claremont’s hottest commercial club? Look no farther

While many a city centre hipster may have long ago written off the spot as merely a debaucherous playground for snotty southern suburbians, juiced-up jocks and cliquey cheerleader types, Tiger Tiger has, nonetheless, made a home in the hearts – and livers ­– of its faithfuls. Whether it’s due to its reliable offer of reasonably priced drinks, frivolous fun or downright danceable music, the Claremont club’s crowd of regulars swear by it  – “Tiger Tiger’s never let me down” has become something of a mantra.

Regardless of who says what, though, it remains a fact that the party hotspot has managed to dodge the short lifespan curse of most clubs and successfully establish itself as one of SA’s longest standing nightlife institutions, having opened back in April 2006.

 “We have a winning recipe,” explains Charlene Sliedrecht, Tiger’s marketing manager. “Tiger Tiger is upscale but affordable – a safe spot for students and young professionals to come and let their hair down”.  Such a strategy seems to have held strong since the venue’s launch; even several years later the club’s popularity still hasn’t waned – the place is packed with patrons even on a poor night.

And the Friday evening I decide to call in is no different: it’s ladies’ night and the line at the door wraps right around the upper floor of Stadium on Main, the shopping centre that houses the venue.

Wearing full-length leggings and a pair of pumps, I’m obviously underdressed. It may be based in budget-bound studentville, but this hangout is high fashion and stiletto central. “We don’t consider Tiger pretentious, but we do attract well-heeled people,” says General Manager Andrew Mitchell, perhaps missing the pun.

Inside, high standards are more or less maintained. The ambience is cosy but classy, the decor a lavish mix of oriental opulence and modern day Moulin Rouge. Plush crimson carpets and a pervasive red glow complement elaborate embossed wallpaper, ceiling drapes decked with fairy lights and a scattered selection of eight solid timber bars (six in the main inside area, one in the smoking lounge, and one on the enclosed outdoor balcony that overlooks the street below).

We cash in on half-price cocktails and 2-for-1 drink specials, and as Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ pumps through the air  – a nod to Tiger’s commercial music policy – my evening’s entourage starts itching to boogie – this is, after all, an exhibition of sorts and the stage is waiting.

With a sunken circular dance floor placed centrally – a deliberate design tactic employed by owner Guy van der Post – the club’s layout panders perfectly to its customers’ desires to be on display, or observe the show from the sidelines. As ladies undulate suggestively on this checkerboard platform, men (or perhaps more appropriately, boys), like predators eyeing out prey, lean against the edges or sit at strategically placed bar tables and watch, hungry. It may be dressed in a level of feigned diffidence, but there is nothing subtle about this ritual: people are here to hook up.

In addition to endorsing such alcohol-induced cat-and-mouse games, Tiger Tiger holds formal entertainment as key on its agenda. “We like to keep things fresh,” says Charlene, “to keep reinventing ourselves.”

This they do most notably by hosting guest DJs, big local bands and regular themed dress-up events – think UV parties, beach bashes, sailor, slumber and school disco evenings. Tonight it’s all about ‘burlesque’; black leather corsets, bright feather boas and red lace stockings premiere at every turn. Plus, to tease the crowd, minimally-clad professional dancers perform on the club’s small raised stage – usually the reserve of a drunken diva or two.

Another feature that adds to this spirit of fun is a sort of booze-inspired version of roulette at the shooter bar - a game designed for indecisive drinkers.  While resting worn-out feet, we watch as swaying, slurring party-goers down shot after shot of whichever concoction a dancing light happens to have landed on. Pink Panties, Springboks and Lesbian Schoolgirls are all possible options, as is the notorious Tiger shot, a lethal but lekker mix of Potency, apple sourz and vodka.

Finally all entertained out, we decide to make a move at the fairly decent hour of 2am. As we saunter past a still-packed dance floor now pulsating to the sound of punk classics, past couples cuddling on couches, down the escalator and onto a bustling Claremont Main Road, I am compelled to conclude that perhaps the club’s locals are correct: it may pander to pop culture, but Tiger Tiger promises one proper party.  

Opening Hours: Thursday (student night): 8pm – 4am; Friday (ladies’ night) and Saturday: 8:30pm – 4am.

Tip: Be sure to bring your ID – the club’s bouncers won’t let anyone past without a look. Also, don’t miss out on Tiger’s incredible drink deals: R5 for select drinks until 10pm on Thursday, 2-for-1 specials until 10.30pm on Friday, R10 for select drinks until 10pm on Saturday and half-price cocktails all night on Friday and Saturday.

Entrance Fee: Thursday: R40; Friday: free before 10:30pm for ladies and R45 thereafter. R45 all night for men; Saturday: free for everyone before 10pm and R45 thereafter.

103 Main Road | Upper Ground Floor |Stadium on Main | Claremont | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 683 2220

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If you’re on the lookout for a swanky city centre club, read about new hotspot The Reserve; and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on what’s hip and happening in our pretty city. 

 

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