We leave Cause | Effect and are almost immediately smack dab in the middle of a domestic dispute happening in the road. A guy and girl, possibly intoxicated or high or maybe just bat shit crazy, are screaming at each other. Top of their lungs screaming at each other. He’s grabbing her jacket. She’s falling and yelling. Oh shit! Now she’s running down the road into oncoming traffic. Cars are honking and swerving around her. What a fucking mess this is. She dodges to the sidewalk and bolts down some stairs to the lower road. The guy takes chase and their screaming voices fade as they round a building out of sight.
“Well that was fun”, “Not a bad dispute, medium soap opera-ish”, “I’m gonna give that dispute a ‘Days of Our Lives Season 3, Episode 4’ rating”, “Hmm yes. Pungent dispute.” Just starting the cocktail crawl and this is how silly we are already.
Hidden Whiskey Bar
Well it’s Thursday and we said we’d be back here. Through the Honest Chocolate Cafe into the alley behind it again. Give Priscilla a quick glance at the Hidden Gin Bar. “What?! This is so cool!” May have to hit that too, but for now let’s see if the hidden whiskey bar can compare.
From the alley we round a wall and there’s a stone staircase leading to the second floor. Totally missed this on Tuesday. It opens into a large, well-lit room with wooden tables and chandeliers. Way different vibe than that tiny hole in the alley gin bar downstairs.
Straight to the bar to peruse the selection. It’s not nearly as impressive as the high-end variety of gins downstairs. Standard stock really, that’s kind of disappointing after our gintastic evening two nights ago. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, “Bartender…”
The drink menu is standard fare as well. wth? manhattans, whiskey sour, boulevardier, sazerac… I mean, they’re all good cocktails, but can’t the inspired originality steam-rise from downstairs and liven this shit up a bit. I was hoping for some really unique palate pleasers. Maybe this place is newer and just finding it’s feet with some classic, old fashioned cocktails (pardon the pun).
All that being said, the bartender does take care with the drinks at hand and they are expertly crafted and delicious.
Same sweet apron that Sabello was wearing. Do I need a sweet apron? Where can I get one?
He tells us this area used to be a mortuary. The gin room was the embalming room. Creepy
We crush a couple cocktails, get a pic, but I mean really.. downstairs is where the magic happens
Hidden Gin Bar (Redux)
Back downstairs and I’m hoping for a high five from Sabello. Bummer, he’s not working tonight. Kinda busy here actually. I try out the Intimacy this time. Bulldog, passion fruit, cucumber, mint, Fitch and Leeds tonic. Ahhh that’s better. We take a seat in the alley. There are a lot of people kicking it here this time round. Thursday crowd vs Tuesday I suppose.
I watch Priscilla flip her phone upside down, put the camera against the table and tilt her phone at an angle to take a pic of her drink. Never seen that before. She shows me the result. Damn, that’s dope. Let me try that
Priscilla’s photo technique. The new standard.
We chill for a bit by the bricks with our perfectly balanced drinks. But we’ve been here done that. Time to move on.
On the way to the next joint we pass a perfect pairing
We mosey further downtownish to a place that looks super rad..
House of Machines
An all wood interior, low lighting with crossbeams and exposed brick. Cool pics and artwork, kind of a rock n roll vibe. Barrel aged cocktails at the ready? Oh yeah, this looks like an Adventure Detective cream dream.
Gotta love a menu w spunk
Looks like it’s my round. I poll the crawlers: 2 dark and stormy, 2 smoked negroni, and a Lynchburg lemonade for the lady.
Huge bartender w a chipped front tooth and lots of character comes over to serve me. He starts telling us about the gin process they have while he’s making the drinks. They have several batches of pre-made cocktails like gin based old fashioned or negroni that they let sit for four months. The ingredients mingle, age, combine and separate into more complex characters. (He pulls out a smoke board for the negroni glasses.) They also have several oak barrels that they age other whiskey drinks in, like the manhattan, to infuse classics with other flavors. There is nothing at House of Machines that I don’t like thus far.
Batch o ginny
The bartender is hilarious and his infectious laugh and chipped smile is killer character combo. He says we just missed some live music here tonight. An indie band just got packed up before we came in. There’s another South African band coming in tomorrow (I miss the name) that is getting popular and was just touring in America. I like this place. This would totally be my jam if I lived here.
We take our next round outside to the front stoop. There’s a mix of revelers and lots of police presence on the street. For absolutely no reason I start doing the Beyonce, Single Ladies dance, “Oh oh oh, oh oh uh-oh”, working the legs and arms in jerky movements. “Haha, that was pretty good!” Priscilla joins in and we get some strangers laughing at us. Haha why? Why is it happening?
House of Machines is a knock out, thanks Cape Town. We Beyonce on down to Long Street and shit instantly gets weird..