Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities – and there are few places better suited to drinking in her full splendor than The Willaston Bar. Set on the 6th floor of the imposing Silo Hotel in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront, the striking 5.5m tall windows show off views of the harbour, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head which few can match.
The hotel may look a little intimidating from the outside – it sits adjacent to the high-concept Zeitz-MOCAA Gallery and shares reconfigured grain silo architecture from which it draws its name – but the interior is welcoming and warm and the staff are incredibly friendly.
The lift ride from the ground level is a little cramped and dark, which only serves to amplify the experience of stepping out of it and turning left towards The Willaston and being smacked between the eyes by that view of the city.
The spectacular bar itself offers a glimpse into the menu offering – every conceivable spirit, mixer and tool is on display, making for quite a promising sight for anyone with more than a passing interest in what it is they drink to enjoy themselves.
The menu runs to 19 pages – and I know we’ve said before that long menus are problematic, but this one avoids falling into the ‘lots of options, most done badly’ trap by limiting their cocktail selection to just 11, with a focus on local twists to established classics.
The Rose Ginvino is the bar’s signature drink, mixing pink gin, chenin blanc, lime, grapefruit, rose syrup and egg white into a dream confection, while the Old Fashioned gets the fynbos honey treatment and the Mouille Point Mule (named for a seaboard suburb nobody is entirely sure how to pronounce) benefits from the addition of Rooibos spirit aperitif. Presentation is clean and pure, giving the drinks themselves the chance to shine.
The rest of the menu is taken up by a hefty selection of local and international wines and bubblies, some decent craft & commercial brews and a comprehensive listing of every spirit on the stacked bar, if cocktails aren’t your bag.
Bar snacks, small plates, salads, sandwiches and sweets are also on offer – a great mix for a sundowner session. It’s a bit crass to mention, but also worthy of a note – despite the hotel’s clear design appeal and lofty room pricing, the drinks are well-priced, considering the quality of ingredients – thankfully not suffering the ill effects of the ‘view tax’ that so many elite properties add.
The Willaston is a reservation-free zone, so arrive early to claim a spot at the window – or on the mezzanine level above the bar – to make the most of the sunset with a great drink in handm and great company nearby.
The Silo Hotel