SA's Cocktail Bar of the Year has been revealed — but its location remains a secret

The Art of Duplicity took top honours at the 2020 Bartending Accolades and Recognition Awards

24 September 2020 - 00:00 By Sanet Oberholzer
Only those in the know know where to find Cape Town's award-winning bar, The Art of Duplicity.
Only those in the know know where to find Cape Town's award-winning bar, The Art of Duplicity.
Image: Supplied/@benjamin.reisner

When The Art of Duplicity opened its doors in 2018 as an ode to 1920s prohibition culture, complete with live jazz, password-protected doors, and a clandestine location known only by a select few, few would have guessed it would be named Cocktail Bar of the Year in the year that speakeasies once again became a thing.

The Cape Town establishment received the accolade during the virtual South African Bartending Accolades and Recognition (B.A.R.) Awards on Monday.

To put the cherry on top of the artisanal cocktail, head bartender Brent Perremore, affectionately known as “The Rabbit”, also received the Trailblazer of the Year Award.

An array of meticulously crafted cocktails are on the menu at The Art of Duplicity.
An array of meticulously crafted cocktails are on the menu at The Art of Duplicity.
Image: Supplied/@benjamin.reisner

Despite never having made its address public, The Art of Duplicity has made a name for itself, and not just here — The Spirits Business, a British magazine, named it the Overall Bar to Watch in 2020.

If you strike it lucky and discover the bar’s location through word of mouth, make a point of trying Perremore’s “Niwatori Tea”. The Cocktail Pilgrim, a respected member of many cocktail awards judging panels, described it as the best cocktail he’s ever had.

“Getting to share this craft with patrons is a privilege,” said Perremore. “Even more so when they’ve tasted some of the best cocktails the world has to offer. To know that all the effort is appreciated means a lot, and of course we’re excited to keep elevating our creativity.” 

The other finalists for the 2020 Cocktail Bar of the Year Award included Sin + Tax in Johannesburg, Cause | Effect in Cape Town and the Lucky Shaker in Durban.

George Hunter from Saint and Marble restaurants, Evert De Jong from Molecular Bars, and Julian Short from Sin + Tax, joined Perremore as the finalists for the Trailblazer of the Year Award.

The Art of Duplicity is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 6pm until late. Tables are reserved in three-hour time slots (standing room is available should guests wish to stay longer post-Covid) and group seating is limited to 10 guests per party. For reservations, visit: 170120.co.za.

The team at Mesh Club have opened an alcohol-free bar on Rosebank’s trendiest strip, the Keyes Art Mile. The new space is cleverly named Niks Bar, which is a play on the popular members’ club’s in-house Mix Bar, as well as a nod to the fact that no booze will be served — niks is Afrikaans for “nothing”.


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