After-work drinks are sorted at Joburg's Publik wine bar

Cape Town’s coolest small-batch wine bar has opened a branch up north. We asked owner David Cope what to snack on while you drink

21 February 2019 - 10:43
Publik wine bar: Asterix and Obelix would approve of these boars hanging from the rafters
Publik wine bar: Asterix and Obelix would approve of these boars hanging from the rafters
Image: Supplied

It’s hard not to spot the hams hanging from the ceiling as you walk into the corridor-like new Publik wine bar on Bolton Road in Rosebank, Joburg.

Nestled between beloved pizza joint Coalition and Bar Ber Black Sheep, the small space that has never quite found it’s niche is now a welcoming outlet for small-batch, lesser-known wines.

Publik has made a name for itself in Cape Town as a space that celebrates independent winemakers, working in unusual varieties and methods, such as trendy organic, biodynamic and minimal-intervention.

Take your pick or Jaco's: when presented with so many unfamiliar wines best you ask Publik barman Jaco Smit for some pointers.
Take your pick or Jaco's: when presented with so many unfamiliar wines best you ask Publik barman Jaco Smit for some pointers.
Image: Supplied

“We're in a great place right now with South African wine as the market is embracing the independent 'artisan' winemakers releasing limited amounts of high-quality wines made in more honest, natural methods,” says Publik's owner David Cope.

Now, Joburgers can get in on the hype and ham and enjoy wines - and other beverages - they have never heard of, while snacking on small, plated treats, such as local cheeses.

We ask Cope what beverages and snacks he would pair for after-work drinks:

Saltare Brut Nature NV with giant Sevillano olives

"I'd suggest a glass of this fresh, zero-dosage bubbly, made by winemaker Carla Pauw in Stellenbosch, to start. She focuses on MCC wines and you can tell when you take your first sip. Fruity, yet dry and with serious freshness."

Silwervis Smiley White NV and white anchovies in olive oil

"Unusual to have a non-vintage white but this multi-vintage chenin blanc is as interesting as it gets. Made from components aged sherry-style, blended with fresh fermented wine, it brings to mind the best of the wines from the Jura in France."

Raised By Wolves Rooi Groen Druif 2017 and prosciutto by Richard Bosman

"Made from an old vineyard of semillon gris in Franschhoek, these are semillon grapes with pigmentation, making a complex pink wine that comes from an officially white grape varietal. Confusing, yes, but undeniably very delicious."

You may not know these names now but get ready to become well acquainted.
You may not know these names now but get ready to become well acquainted.
Image: Supplied

Donkiesbaai Rooiwijn 2017 and a cheeseboard of sheep, goat and cow’s milk cheeses

"You might be familiar with Donkiesbaai for their superb chenin blanc but this new grenache, cinsault and syrah blend from vineyards in the Piekenierskloof is worth trying. It's light and fresh, with soft tannins adding a crunchy texture, making it a great red wine for warm summer evenings."

Joseph Barry 10 Year Potstill Brandy

Finish off your evening with a shot of this impressive local brandy made along Route 62 - good enough to rival any XO Cognac. Served neat in a tumbler, it'll help with the digestion of all those snacks and make your Uber ride home that more relaxed.


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