I was approached by a grassroots advertising/activations agency in Cape Town to become part of the content curation team for one of the country's leading fashion labels, Mr Price. The brand wanted original and authentic content from respected and influential members of their target audience.
CLIENT: MR. PRICE
CONTENT: INFLUENCER BLOGS
AGENCY: HAVE YOU HEARD
ROLES: BLOGGER, CONTENT CURATOR AND STYLIST
Initially, I wrote blog articles about the city's hidden gems. I needed to seamlessly incorporate Mr Price's clothing into the articles without making it seem like an obvious advertisement.
Once submitted, the agency asked me to come on board again, this time as an editor/content curator of the articles written by other influencers. They stated that they liked my writing so much that they wanted me to give the other articles the same flair.
BLOG ARTICLES I WROTE
CLICK TO READ FULL PIECE
2015 BUCKET LIST: CAPE TOWN'S MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE COFFEE SHOPS
HARRINGTON STREET:THE SECRET LIFE OF CAPE TOWN'S MOST ALTERNATIVE CROWD
2015 Bucket List: Cape Town's Most Instagrammable Coffee Shops
If there’s one thing that Cape Town does really well, it’s coffee (and wine, and views, and mountain hikes, and craft beer, and markets, and beaches – ok, it's got a lot going for it, but let’s talk about all that another day!) The highlight of the city's coffee culture is the individuality of the coffee house itself. Each place has a personality that speaks to the people who enjoy a hot cup of Joe there. Some are quirky, some arty, some hipster and all are totally Cape Town. No matter which group you fall under, you need to check out Cape Town’s best coffee shops – and get a cool photo or two. If you didn’t Instagram it you weren’t there, right? So, here are my top four picks of the you-just-have-to-go-there coffee shops in town.
Let's start with a shot of Truth. Their tables and chairs sprawl onto Buitenkant’s busy pavement in the CBD. Regardless of the time of day, this place is abuzz with people. As you walk into Truth you feel as though you’ve walked into an Instagram filter. The place is dimly lit with a mess of flickering exposed bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Its decoration is Steampunk – the waiting staff are adorned with a variety of different chains and brooches from their waistcoats and top-hats. Colossus, the vintage Probat coffee roaster, sits in the middle of the building taking pride of place. This huge piece of machinery is something to behold, and certainly something to snap a quick photo of.
Once you’ve had a cup of coffee here you’ll realise why it is considered ‘the best coffee shop in the world’. They regard their roasting skills so highly that they even have ‘no sugar required’ printed on their sugar sachets! While you are enjoying your hot cuppa, take a moment to look around and people watch. During the day the place will be awash with mac computers and people who must be some form of freelance
designers/photographers/artists/models etc. This place is Cape Town’s unofficial hipster hub. If you want to showcase your newest beanie or denim gilet, whip out that phone #NoFilterRequired.
Situated at 36 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. The waiter in his Steampunk outfit hands us a cup of ‘the best coffee in the world’. Whether you choose to sit in or get a coffee to go, you feel Truth's atmosphere with every sip. This place could rival any spot in New York or London as the hipster hub of the world.
–Image by Emma Braham
HAAS Coffee Collective
Further down Buitenkant Street is Haas – The Coffee Collective. Haas has a selection of different roasts, each equally delicious and marvellously named. You may find yourself sipping on some 'Thursday Lift Club' or even the rambunctious 'Boxing Ring.' Along the counter you can feast your eyes on their irresistible selection of baked goods underneath huge bell jars. Every available surface in Haas is covered with an assortment of art. I call it art, for lack of a better term. There are trinkets, ornaments, wall hangings and sculptures – some of which you feel like you need an art degree to truly ‘get’. You’ll notice the rabbit is a recurring motif, from the stuffed hare that greets you on the counter as you walk in, to the china ornaments that sit on the giant printer’s tray behind the counter. Wherever you choose to sit in this coffee shop you will find a feast for your eyes, and your phone’s camera. The hardest decision you'll make is choosing whether to start by taking a photo of the coffee shop in its entirety or focusing particularly on some cool plant that is growing out of a plastic dinosaur. And of course, you can’t leave without a selfie or two. Haas is the perfect venue to show off your new crop top with high-waisted trousers or a skirt. And it’s the kind of place where hats are most certainly welcome inside. A tour of Cape Town’s coolest coffee shops would be incomplete without a leisurely stop in at Haas.
Situated at 19 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. Me taking a photo of the weird and wonderful trinkets (notice the two mermen ornaments next to me) in Haas as I wait for my coffee at the counter. I’m wearing a cropped printed top from Mr. Price and high waisted trousers.
–Image by Emma Braham
DELUXE at the Yard
I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ – no, not the phrase, the place where that British guy makes those massive burgers and sells them from his garage. It’s on a little side street just off Buitenkant Street (notice a theme here?). It’s one of those places that you have to know is there to actually be able to find, a hidden gem if you will. Once you walk up the street though, you can’t miss it. There is a huge red heart painted above the garage and various different graffiti murals - shall we call it a diamond in the rough, rather?
This garage is called The Yard, and it’s surprisingly multifaceted. It’s ‘The Bitch’s Tits’ by day selling a limited range of delicious lunch options and ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ by night specialising in burgers that are bigger than your face. There’s also a coffee shop around the back called Deluxe. Here you’ll find the barrister’s bicycles mounted on the wall and a wall hanging that looks surprisingly like a deconstructed motorbike. Upon closer inspection you realise that it is in fact a deconstructed motorbike, obviously. Deluxe brews a mean cup of coffee that will certainly kick start your
day. The fact that this coffee shop is situated inside a massive garage makes it grungy by nature. You’ll find all sorts of tattooed and bearded types in here. If you wanted to show off that new ear cuff that you just bought and those calf gladiator sandals this would be the place to do it - the Willow filter is a must.
Situated at 6 Roodehek Street, Cape Town. Holding a cup of delicious Deluxe coffee at The Yard. The décor and atmosphere here is grungy understated but effortlessly cool. The same can be said for the waiters aand locals at this little coffee spot.
–Image by Emma Braham
Tribe is like an oasis of happy in the middle of Woodstock (yes, we have indeed moved further afield from Buitenkant Street). From its outdoor courtyard you'll hear the tranquil sound of running water and you'll manage to be
permanently sun-soaked. The water runs down a brick wall that looks like it has swallowed every item you’ve ever misplaced. There’s a series of plastic toys, an ornate jug and typewriter sticking out, there's even a single flip-flop peering from between the mismatched bricks. The opposite wall is a wonderful montage of colourful graffiti. There’s even a vintage camera with a face and a speech bubble saying “Oh bean!” Once again, the photo opportunities are plentiful.
Tribe's coffee goes by the same name and is roasted in house. It's become so popular that many local advertising agencies use its blend in their own on-site coffee shops. Though I feel that the best way to enjoy delicious coffee is piping hot and with just a dash of foamed milk (known on the menu as a Cortado), I challenge anyone to find a better iced coffee than Tribe's secret recipe. Naturally, they serve it from a mason jar so it is 100% picture perfect from the get go.
Tribe is the ideal place to show off those new hipster sunnies or that pineapple necklace that you found at Mr. Price. You’ll brush shoulders with Woodstock’s advertising crowd as they enjoy a coffee and a raw date ball on their lunch-
break. Listen closely as you might be privy to a brainstorm that will one day define the pinnacle of South African marketing.
Situated at The Foundry, 160 Albert Road, Woodstock,Cape Town. My friend Lucy wears a pineapple necklace, pineapple denim top and maxi dress all from Mr. Price. She is standing in front of the brick wall made from bits and pieces. She is enjoying one of Tribe’s famous iced coffees that includes a secret recipe of coffee, honey and chocolate.
–Image by Emma Braham.
So there we have it: Cape Town’s most Instagrammable coffee shops. If you haven’t made a bucket list for 2015, make one – and include these spots on it. They all serve their own blends that could rival any cup of coffee in Europe. Take a leisurely lunch and get to know some of Cape Town’s wonderfully individual little spots.
THE SECRET LIFE OF CAPE TOWN'S MOST ALTERNATIVE CROWD
Cape Town’s best kept secret is attracting a cult-like following. Dingy street by day and just as dingy at night, Harrington Street comes alive with Cape Town’s 90s revival. Don’t, however, think of the bright, garish 90s prints from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, this is a darker, edgier take on the 90s. If the 90s had a hot, older sister who wore dark purple lipstick – she would hang out in one of Harrington Street’s best kept secrets.
If you haven’t visited one of Harrington’s dives, you really ought to. There’s the infamous nightclub ‘The Assembly’ where some of Cape Town’s best bands come to play and party. As you walk in you feel a little like Heath Ledger in ’10 Things I Hate About You’ as he chases Julia Stiles’ character into the club where her favourite band is playing – it’s dark, smoky, the décor is incredibly low key, the place is packed, and there are a whole lot of people with top knots (and that’s just the guys). There are girls wearing slider shoes with white nail-polished toes and spice girls crop tops. You feel like you’ve walked into a movie set in 1995 – except everyone is edgier. It’s an awesome vibe and the music is always conducive to a good time.
Pictured to the right: The Assembly, 61 Harrington Street, Cape Town - Harrington Street’s most famous occupant. Ask any Capetonian if they know it, chances are the they do. Ask them if they’ve been there, chances are they have. Ask them if it’s their local, if it is, chances are they’re at least a little edgy.
- Image by Emma Braham
If you’re less in the mood for dancing and more in the mood for food and drinks with your mates, walk a couple of meters up the road into Lefty’s dive bar. As you walk in you feel like you’ve entered a new city, one that only has a population of hipsters. Except, when you look a little closer, you realise that hipster is too mainstream a term for this crowd. They are more alternative than hipsters, more specific, more thought out, darker. The place is dark, with décor that is gritty and fairly eclectic – most of it feels like you may have seen it at your grandparents once, a little while ago. There’s no clear way to tell the waiting staff from the patrons as everyone seems to be wearing at least one item of black and arty tattoos come as standard. Once you become acclimatised to the loud music and almost-self-service feel of the place, its charm sets in. It’s much bigger than it seems with a bar area, two inside levels and an outside area with benches and tables. The food is incredibly reasonable and utterly delicious. And best of all, you feel like you’ve been let in on one of Cape Town’s little secrets.
Lefty’s Dive Bar, 105 Harrington Street, Cape Town. As you walk in to Lefty’s
you are greeted by this vintage piano bar. You don’t know whether to turn left or right. If you’re lucky there someone will introduce themselves as a member of the waiting staff and guide you to a table.
- Image by Emma Braham
Fried chicken and bacon waffle covered in maple syrup not your thing? Head upstairs to Downtown Ramen, Lefty’s Asian cousin. You’ll find the same calibre of people; the music might have even gone up in volume as well. Here there are long benches that you’ll have to share with the group of people who walked up just before you – all decked in plastic chokers, with a touch of tartan somewhere in their outfits. The boys are all bearded. Every third person, at least, will be wearing a beanie. Once again, the food is unreal. You have two options: a bowl of ramen or a bowl of ramen. The first option contains pork belly and the second is vegetarian. If you’re feeling adventurous you can add a boiled egg and some chilli – I recommend you do.
Looking up Harrington Street as the street vendors wheel their pack-up-and-go shops away. That’s me in the middle wearing a mid-length skirt and heels from Mr. Price. My friend’s mid-length skirt is also from Mr. Price. Black is back and crop tops are clearly on trend at the moment as well.
- Image by Emma Braham.
Why not head slightly further up the road. Blink and you’ll miss it. It’s The Dragon Room. The entrance is inconspicuous; as you enter you feel like you’re walking through the closet into Narnia. The club is like a labyrinth; there is a new room everywhere you turn. As you walk down the stairs onto the main dance floor and look up at the huge disco ball in the shape of a skull, you realise – tonight is going to be a great night. There are mid-length skirts and crop tops everywhere you turn. No matter how hot the club gets there will also be guys and girls wearing beanies (how do they do it?) and those circle glasses that maybe should have stayed in the 90s. Walk onto the indoor balcony and look down onto the dance-floor. As you watch the party unfold you’ll feel like you were in one of those raves you used to hear about when you were younger. The evening is filled with deep house and bright lights. You feel like you’re in an underground club in London or New York – a million miles from the centre of Cape Town.
A pop of colour stands out among Harrington’s grey-almost-decrepit scenery. When you go to Harrington Street, look a little closer, there are lots of hidden secrets. What better way to illustrate Harrington’s edgy vibe than by sitting on bins in heels and long socks?
- Image by Emma Braham
The 90s are back with a vengeance baby, except this time it’s darker. The fashion is slightly more self-aware, as retro fashions always are. Forget those high-waisted Levi’s jeans that your mom used to wear. This 90s revival is sexy, it’s edgy and it’s confident. Want to see what I mean? Head down to Harrington Street and discover the secret life of Cape Town’s most alternative crowd.
Meet thursday, the new friday
It's been a week. Your Monday was manic, on Tuesday you were slammed, had to work late and order takeaway, then Wednesday rolled around and you were the furthest you'd been from the weekend since last Wednesday. Well, you know what? It’s time to say "hello!" to Thursday, Friday’s sassy younger sibling. While Friday was out drinking cheap beer and dancing to the latest chart-toppers, Thursday sipped on craft beer, browsed gallery exhibits and socialised like a pro. No, the weekend isn't here yet. However, that exciting vibrant weekend feeling has landed. It's the first Thursday of the month - you've just been paid, time to hit up Cape Town's favourite monthly street party: First Thursdays.
Pictured to the right: The boys watch the girls while the girls watch the boys who watch the girls go by. Thursday is the evening to people watch and to be people watched on Cape Town’s Bree Street. Model wears oversized red shirt and black vest to illustrate the hipster feel of Bree Street on a Thursday.
- Image by Emma Braham
The first time I went to a First Thursday it was by pure chance. I hadn’t been living in the City very long and I went out to meet a friend for a drink on Bree Street. As I struggled to find parking I wondered why the world and his hipster granny were all congregating around Clarke’s. I had also never been to Clarke’s before so I assumed that I had just stumbled upon one of Cape Town’s trendiest bars, that must have just opened, tonight, and the Queen was doing the ribbon cutting ceremony. I was right about the former but not the latter. As it turns out, it’s not just Clarke’s, the entire of Bree Street pumps with a mess of people every First Thursday.
Hanging out on Bree just before dark. The style is casual yet self aware – reflective sunnies are a must. I’m underneath the ‘Bree st’ sign wearing a red crop top from Mr. Price, my sister is next to me underneath the ‘do not enter’ sign wearing a denim jacket from a thrift shop and a boy’s over-sized t-shirt.
- Image by Emma Braham
I highly recommend checking one out. I mean, who works on a Friday in Cape Town, right? Well, I do, but your night needn’t be a heavy one. Though the craft beer and wine does flow exceptionally freely, First Thursdays is all about Cape Town’s culture. From the gallery exhibits to the performances, you can’t help walking away from Bree Street and the surrounding areas feeling inspired. The atmosphere felt during these events makes Cape Town feel like the world-class city that it is. With people spilling out onto the pavement from every bar and restaurant you feel like you walked straight into a Parisian high street. La Parada even has big leather couches sitting outside their restaurant. In fact, La Parada re-enforces the European feel of First Thursdays exceptionally well. It is always buzzing with trendy people sipping on craft beer or cocktails and enjoying some tapas. Inside the restaurant you’ll find a few different groups of people will all be sitting around one long bench, a couple engrossed in each other’s conversation and one or two people who are there to people watch and for people to watch them.
A classic scene at La Parada – 107 Bree Street. The sound of chatter fills the air as people enjoy the tapas and draught craft beer. Subtle details make you feel like you’ve been transported to an undisclosed European destination. The colourful walls feel like Paris, or is it Milan? The wrought iron decal seems like Italy, or is it Spain? And the hanging exposed lamps feel almost Turkish, or is it Greek?
- Image by Emma Braham
As you finish your dinner/drinks/conversation and move into one of the galleries you are transported from a Capetonian Paris into a Capetonian New York. You’ll see art that could rival any piece found in the Big Apple – and the people are as slick and stylish too (although, lets not forget, this is still Cape Town and everything moves at a very Capetonian pace - here we don’t have time for a New York minute). You’ll amble from gallery to gallery, glass of vino in hand enjoying the company and soaking in the culture. As you rub shoulders with some of the city’s trendiest folk you realise that, although Cape Town is renowned for its laid back attitude, the fashion here is taken quite seriously. Once again you feel like Brooklyn’s most hipster residents jumped on a plane and landed in the Mother City. Black seems to be the uniform with a pop of colour every now and again. Statement jewellery is an essential. If you want to go to a First Thursday, you had better make sure you look the part as well.
It’s time to give Thursday the chance it well and truly deserves. Forget about the cheap beer and chart tunes that Friday has on offer. Craft beer and culture will trump that every time. To find out more about Cape Town’s First Thursdays check out the website: http://bit.ly/ItViGc Once you’ve been to one you’ll want to go to them all.
The crew assembles next to one of Bree Street’s art galleries in order to take a quick selfie. Clio (second from the left) wears a paint-splattered dress from Mr. Price. Whether it’s with a statement pattern or with statement accessories: it’s always critical to make a statement.
- Image by Emma Braham