The Stack is part Brasserie, part Members’ Club, part Bar and part enigma. It’s probably not on most Capetonians’ radars as much as it should be – but that’s not a bad thing. Its location in the upper reaches of Gardens, a suburb on the slopes of Table Mountain above the CBD, puts it out of the regular ‘party’ loop – which is exactly why it’s worth a visit.
Set back from the road in lush gardens, in an 1850’s era historic building, The Stack looks a little colonial – but that image is dispelled the second you step in the door. There’s nothing stuffy or staid about the interior, where bold patterns and bright colours somehow coexist in a relatively small space that never feels cramped. To the right is the bar – a beautiful wooden number with tall stools and a few scattered bench tables. To the right, the entrance to the Brasserie, which serves a concise menu of quality bistro classics and ahead, the stairs leading up to the Members’ area, with its own bar. All of these elements are immensely appealing, in their own whimsical way – but we’re here to talk bars, and the public access part of The Stack doesn’t disappoint.
Many people are disappointed when a menu at a bar or restaurant doesn’t run to phone book numbers of pages – but they’re wrong. Lengthy lists allow for too much error and hide too many sub-standard offerings. It’s impossible to be good at everything in an encyclopaedia. The Stack’s cocktail list runs to ten items – and all of them are spectacular in both style and substance.
Watching the team behind the bar mix them up is a lesson in precision and style, with all manner of smokes, glazes and muddles lending unique flavours to incredibly interesting drinks. If you want ‘quick’, crack a beer. If you want ‘amazing’, watch the team at The Stack coax flames from an orange rind or conjure smoke from apple and cinnamon into an upended glass while they prep the components of your Negroni. Not that there’s anything slow to the service – they’re as efficient as you would allow artists to be, without cramping their style. There are plenty of wine and craft beer options on the menu, too – and the suggestion that challenging the bar staff to mix you up something bespoke isn’t entirely out of the question.
The inside seating is cozy, but the terrace also offers great views of the garden that transport you well away from the city which is roiling at the end of the paved drive. It’s a great place to settle in for an afternoon with a group of friends – especially if you’ve booked a spot at the Brasserie for a sumptuous dinner, after.
Grab a drink and ask for a tour of the upstairs Members’ area to see the full extent of the interior design genius at work – and to ponder why you haven’t signed up yet.
7 Weltevreden St, Gardens,
Cape Town, 8001