Bohemian haven

2011-03-04 08:37

This thriving suburb close to the University of Cape Town is a melting pot of bars, live music and trendy restaurants.

The legacy of Observatory’s “grey area” status under apartheid – people of all races lived together here – still lives on in its laid-back, hippy student vibe.

» Liesel Trautman Ceramics
114 Lower Main Road
073 275 9494

For Liesel Trautman, the philosophy behind her beautiful range of ceramics is simple: “To create beautiful, functional pieces.” Her shop has, in the five years since opening its doors, proven to be a firm favourite with those looking for unique pieces with which to decorate their homes.

This popularity looks set to increase after her presence at this year’s (February 25-27) Design Indaba Expo (at the Cape Town International Convention Centre), where she again showcased her trademark intricately detailed pieces.

» Obz Books
76 Lower Main Road
021 801 0228

Not only has this bookstore survived the ever-growing monopolisation of the industry, but it has, in the 12 years it has been around, become known as the place to visit for bibliophiles looking for more hard-to-come-by literary treasures – especially in classical literature, Afrikana, art and philosophy.

» Tagore’s
42 Trill Road

If you find yourself yearning for the romance of smoky jazz bars, look no further than this gem on the live music scene. With its bohemian air, decor which pays homage to the jazz greats of yesteryear and live performances by acclaimed jazz musicians such as the Kyle Shepherd-Mark Fransman Duo, Tagore’s has undoubtedly earned its reputation as one of the coolest jazz bars Cape Town has to offer.

It is, however, the highly popular Thursday night cool-fests that are a must-attend with DJ Ntone spinning the fiercest, most seductive Afro-jazz-funk beats.

» Magnet Theatre
Corner Lower Main and St Michaels roads
021 448 3436

Officially launched in January by the award-winning Magnet Theatre Company, this new-kid-on-the-block looks set to be
a serious – and much-needed – player in Cape Town’s theatre scene.

Though, according to company director Margie Pankhurst, the schedule for now is “pretty flexible”, the company, which has produced groundbreaking and acclaimed productions such as Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking and Inxeba Lomphilisi (The Wound of a Healer), looks set to continue pushing the theatrical envelope with its Mark Fleischmann-directed Now Project which will debut later in the year.

» Mango Ginger
Corner Lower Main and Trill roads
021 448 2500

“Honest, healthy, fresh food” is how Fiona Sleigh sums up the ethos behind her exquisite little eatery. Serving up the most delicious food on the strip is underscored by the fact that she and her trusty team “only use top ingredients such as organic flour, free-range eggs and meats as well as wheat- and gluten-free products”. If all of this sounds a bit too healthy for you, don’t be fooled – the baked goods are probably of the best you’ll ever have the pleasure of sampling.

» Young Guns Tattoos
Corner Lower Main and Station roads
071 775 7507

If you’re thinking of having it done at this chic little tattoo parlour, you might need to steel yourself for an added challenge to that resolve: having it done in full view of the passing public. As daunting as this prospect may seem, it’s clearly part of the allure for the throngs who choose tattooist Mark Stapelberg’s ample tattooing skills to beautify their bodies.

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