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Ever-changing Blank Bar makes Jozi jol scene less boring

Every month or so a different themed pop up takes over this cool Parkhurst bar so there's always interesting new cocktails to try

26 July 2018 - 00:00 By Catherine Black
The owners of the Blank Bar came up with the concept for it at 2am after realising that they went to the same places and did the same things.
The owners of the Blank Bar came up with the concept for it at 2am after realising that they went to the same places and did the same things.
Image: Supplied

There’s a new kid on the block in Parkhurst’s 4th Avenue – though it’s hard to pin down what they actually are.

If that doesn’t make sense, that’s because Blank Bar is literally a bar that’s a blank canvas – every month or so, they work with different brands to reinvent their space in terms of cocktails, food, theme and decor.

Co-owner Taryn Laing tells us more.

How was Blank Bar born?

The four of us – myself, my husband Rob and our partners Andrew and Vicky Harris – own Milk Bar, Nice and The Botanist through our holding company Enjoyment, which is all about finding things that make us happy.

The Blank Bar concept was thought up at 2am: we were bored of going to the same places and doing the same things. We thought we’d try something new and see what we could do with it.

How does the concept work?

We work with brands – mostly alcohol but it can be others – who take on our space and make it their own, creating their full brand identity through the look and feel and the drinks we serve. For example, a vodka brand might work with us to come up with the aesthetics and creative of the space, and we’ll then activate the bar and make it a fun experience centring on vodka cocktails. Typically, we work with four to five brands at a time. Then, every 25 days, we change things up and start something completely new!

What pop ups have you had so far?

We started with a prosecco bar in February before our gin garden, where we involved three Jozi gin brands to create some amazing cocktails. Then we also had an Eastern whiskeys pop up, featuring our twist on Japanese, Taiwanese and Indian whiskeys. 

The Blank Bar recently had an Eastern whiskeys pop up featuring cocktails made from Japanese, Taiwanese and Indian whiskeys.
The Blank Bar recently had an Eastern whiskeys pop up featuring cocktails made from Japanese, Taiwanese and Indian whiskeys.
Image: Supplied

It’s also all about the experience – so we recreated the very ritualistic way the Japanese serve their high-end whiskeys. We currently have a Russian vodka bar on for the soccer World Cup.

How has Jozi taken to the bar?

As Joburgers ourselves, we know that the pace here is quick and fast, and people get bored easily. That’s why we make our pop ups short in duration, so you only have 25 days to see it.

Essentially, we’re offering a new experience every month in the same location: so someone living in the area can come in once a month and they’ll be in a different bar each time.

What about food?

It depends on what we’re featuring, so it was pizzas for the gin garden and salmon, tofu and prawn dons for the Eastern whiskeys, and beef stroganoff and pierogi for our Russian vodka bar. We keep our food simple because it’s the added bonus – not the focus. So it’s great for a snack and a drink before you go out for a meal elsewhere on the strip.


This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za


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