I know it’s Monday and most of us are off to work today so talking about going for a drink might seem preemptive, however, it’s December! And summer! And we need to start dreaming of the good stuff to get us through these last few weeks until the holiday season.
So to help you get into the festive spirit, no pun intended, this is my new favourite bar in Cape Town: Incognito Bar. Formally known as the Rose Bar at the Alphen Hotel, Incognito is the newly renovated and style overhauled bar in the leafy suburb of Constantia. Wood, green, glass and metal, I’m sold.
Mr John and I popped by 2 weekends ago and I was immediately in heaven. I just love the warm tones, the beautiful lush green trees outside the window and the modern lounge style. Here are 5 more reasons why I love Incognito:
1. Close to Home
As much as I love the city bowl and will always love exploring what it has to offer, it’s GREAT to have a green, leafy venue that’s closer to home. After years of driving out the Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, it’s great to know there’s a bar away from home just over the hill for those of us who live in the burbs.
2. It’s a Bar, Not a Restaurant
While Incognito does serve snacks, the focus is the bar. This is not a restaurant and can’t be booked out for dinners, lunches, etc. (the hotel has 2 other restaurants on site so there’s no shortage of food should you wish to eat something).
Having said that, Incognito serves absolutely delicious tapas that make the perfect accompaniment to a lovely toot. We tried the deep fried olives with garlic and parmesan (R50) which we delicious and something new to me.
The Arancini were fine, but a little under seasoned (R70), the Bresaola made from rocket, parmesan, lemon and olive oil are good for those avoiding carbs (R75), the grilled sirloin with walnut salsa verde was absolutely delicious (R95) as were the mini pizzas. We had the “Panchetta” made with mozzarella, feta and avocado for R75. They were super filling so you’d be more than satisfied if you were after a snack.
3. Great Non-Alcoholic Options
The “problem” with bars is that it can leave those who don’t consume alcohol feeling a little left out. Incognito bar has kept this in mind and has a number of TRULY delicious, non-alcoholic options.
Some people are old/don’t like alcohol/are pregnant/on diet/are religious or just out of rehab, which often leaves them with boring drinks, not at Incognito. We LOVED this Elderflower Forest Press (R50) made from elderflower cordial, blueberries, raspberries, passion fruit nectar and soda. It looks chunky but the bits were soft and easy to “eat”.
Next on my list is the Pineapple Crush (R50) made with fresh pineapple juice, blended passionfruit puree and honey. Yum!
4. Animals In the Garden
Maybe this isn’t something most people are interested in, but I LOVE the garden at the Alphen and all the woodland creatures that come with it. You really feel out of town and it’s super relaxing – particularly on a Friday, after a hectic week. A toot and a stroll can do wonders for the stress level. And when we were last there, we saw a GIANT owl eating a mouse! I died! It was amazing!
5. Great Service
We really did have great service from both the management who welcomed us upon arrival as well as the servers. I also appreciated that the servers worked as a team so even though we had one main waitress, the runner continuously came by to remove plates and glasses and other servers would also check if we needed anything. It wasn’t too much but it can be a total pain waiting on one server sometimes, particularly if they get caught up. The service was efficient but not rushed, 10/10.
6. Fun Drinks
Incognito has a number of fun drinks for the festive season. I started with the Rose Peach Sangria (R140 for 500ml, R280 for 1 litre), which is good value since most of the wine has a 200% – 300% markup. Made from fresh strawberries, peaches, peach liqueur, peach juice and rose wine, this will be a treat on a hot summer’s day!
I was also spoilt with a pina colada flavoured shot which was super tasty as well as a burnt orange, tequila and who knows what shot. Fun (if you’re not driving, which I wasn’t!).
While the petrol price may have dropped for season, we all know it’s going up again next year. Staying a little closer to home is becoming more of a reality for those who want to drink (and not drive), parents of young kids of just people who work. It’s great to have Incognito as a top option close to home.
Cheers! Here’s to summer and celebrating even if you’re working through season like I am. xo