On one the busiest roads in Sandton, stoners have a well-kept secret that is slowly spreading through word of mouth – 420 Café.
As a disclaimer, I should mention that I do smoke a fair amount of pot, which is handy because the management and staff are wary of me and my camera upon arrival. This, as you can imagine, is risky business, but their suspicions are put to rest after I place an order for a pizza, a zip of “lemon cheese” and a bong as my implement of elevation.
That’s right, I placed an order at a café for a pizza, the strongest cheese (a strain of weed) I’ve ever blazed and a bong, all while MTV Base played a Kwesta playlist. The rapper never sounded quite as good as he did after I exhaled.
Darrell, the chef at 420, tells me he can cook the fire flower into everything on his menu: muffins, toasted sandwiches and pizzas that you can construct yourself. Everything you might need to smoke is available on a menu too – from dab rigs to moon rocks!
The café is quiet and only a few people are milling about upstairs in a smoking lounge, although you can smoke anywhere in the venue. At a table, I join a gentleman who says he’s on lunch and this is the perfect spot. My mushroom, olive and bacon pizza arrives, and I’m puzzled as my new friend doesn’t order any food. Some very potent smoke for lunch and he was off to the office again.
The owner, “Frank L” remains an enigma; apparently he’s abroad in Amsterdam. Darrell tells me he’s very placid and simply wants the culture of cannabis cafés to grow locally – a safe space for stoners.
There are interesting designs on the tables and a road map painted on the floor has destinations such as the Red Light District in Amsterdam marked out. Lost in the decor and a serene euphoria, I bid the staff farewell. Darrell mentions how he put a little something special in my pizza, which becomes apparent when I step back onto the street.