Drink Inc has been open since mid-August. It is owned by David Brinkworth who is the former owner of Cherry Jam. He wants to run a good, clean business that protects the safety of students. The bar is divided into sections with the downstairs area being for sports and betting and the upstairs area has a lounge and is suitable for dancing. The interior is rather dark and slightly sparse but were it to host a large crowd, there is little to prevent people from having a good time. Brinkworth says that the bar is still in a transitional period and that there are a few things that need finishing off before it can reach its full potential. Drinks are well priced and a food menu of primarily basket snacks is going to be released in the next week. Pool tables and betting facilities are expected to attract customers and the multiple screens are sure to make sports fans happy. A projected 300-350 people are expected to enjoy this location on a typical Friday night.
Best feature: Upstairs open-air deck with draped fairy lights and promise of interactive braais
Target market: Sports fans and students
Black Label: R12 before 19:00
Right next door is the slightly smaller, but certainly not less exciting Latino’s Bistro. This colourful bar’s extensive menu (with two pages of pizza) reads, “Good dining and having fun” on the cover, which is exactly owner Pascal Kaei’s inspiration for his bar. The building is set up with a long bar back to back with another long table on the lower level and tables and chairs for dining on the upper level. The room is well lit and the bar is well stocked. It is supposed to be a relaxed environment in which people can have a drink, eat some good food and enjoy a unique ambiance. It turns into more of a social setting after 22:00 as the tables and chairs are moved and customers can dance and mix until doors close at 02:00. Kaei emphasises that this is not a place for raucous behaviour and excessive drinking but rather for tasteful socialising. There are hubbly pipes to rent and smoking is permitted indoors. An estimate of 150 people is expected for a usual Friday night.
Best feature: Kitchen stays open until closing time
Target market: More mature crowd
Black Label: R25
UP alumni, Jordan Tyler Cattrick and partners opened Jukes in late August. Cattrick completed his studies in BCom Business Management in 2016 and since then has endeavoured to open his own bar on Lynnwood. The clean, minimalistic look of Jukes is stylish and inviting. The menu is short and simple and very reasonably priced (nothing exceeding R82) offering hand tossed pizza and burgers with good-sized patties and chips on the side. The bar offers craft gins, R&Rs and is bringing out a tequila and cocktail menu. Stressing the importance of a safe and more sophisticated experience, Catterick appeals to a mature crowd. The hope is an inclusive and social environment so people can sit at communal tables and meet new faces, have a drink, eat good food and dance to good music. This warmly lit establishment can be described as a gusto bar, meaning hearty enjoyment in eating, drinking, and in action or speech, one dances with gusto. Part of the appeal is that Jukes is run “by students, for students” as Cattrick says. Between 300 and 500 people are expected to fill the bar (including the courtyard area at the back) on a typical Friday night.
Best feature: Overall experience, considering ambiance, food, drink and service everything was great
Target market: Mature students
Black Label dumpie: R18
What was previously Players, has been open under new ownership since 28 July as Corner Pocket. The name is not the only thing that owners Luzette and Jacques Theron have changed at this bar. They have revamped the bar pulling it out of the dingy state previous ownership left it in, into a clean, well looked after and comfortable set up (the bathrooms are amazing). Corner Pocket sports multiple pool tables, a Chinese pool table and snooker tables. The outside seating area with comfortable patio furniture is appealing especially with a cold drink as the sun goes down. Luzette Theron says it has been a bit of a struggle to get the rebranding right as many people are not aware of the transformation, but on a whole, the desired crowd is being drawn in. The bar accommodates league pool and Theron says they are aiming to set up a student league next year. She mentions that they are the ‘starting point’ of a night out along this strip of night life buzz. Their kitchen should open in the not too distant future offering finger food. Theron’s projection of traffic for a Friday night is 200-300 people.
Best feature: They have pool
Target market: Students and pool payers
Black Label: R21
Photo: Carina Kloppers